The fifth floor of the TGen building buzzed with life one afternoon last month as 60 summer interns presented their research at TGen’s first annual student symposium.
The symposium was the culmination of a long summer of intensive research for the students who participated in TGen’s 2005 summer internship program. Participants included 17 high school students, 37 undergraduate students from universities and community colleges, and six graduate or medical students.
“The main mission [of the symposium] is to provide the students an opportunity or a forum in which to present the work that they’ve done over the summer,” said Candice Nulsen, TGen scientific liaison. “But it’s also to give them the experience of a real scientific symposium. A really important component of becoming a scientist is learning how to present your work to other people.”
The symposium began with oral presentations in the morning and culminated in individual poster presentations in the afternoon.
Josh Niska, a senior at Gilbert High School, has spent this past summer researching the migration of tumor cells in people afflicted by gliomas, one of the most invasive forms of malignant brain tumors.
Niska followed his brother, Jared, a former TGen intern and current Harvard medical student, into the neurogenomics TGen lab and is now working under the same mentor his brother worked for.
“I think it’s fascinating how they can stop the migration,” he said. “It’s fascinating how genes can interact with each other.”
Niska plans to continue working at TGen this year.
Three Flinn Scholars also participated in the symposium. Howard Chu (’04) who worked in the translational drug research lab this summer presented his work on pancreatic cancer. Amy Alabaster (’05), who has been with TGen since November, spoke about her research on Alzheimer’s disease.
Ty Rosensteel, (’05) a four-year veteran at TGen, exhibited his project on neuroblastoma titled, “Identification of Promoter Elements Required for Transcriptional Induction of Motility Related Genes,” at the symposium.
Earlier this year, Rosensteel’s project, which researches the possibility of stopping neuroblastoma cancer cells from spreading into normal parts of the brain, won fourth place in the biochemistry division of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.