Top high school students to perform scientific research at UA

June 1, 2009

By hammersmith

Top high school students to perform scientific research at UA

Thanks to generous statewide support, 22 exceptional southern Arizona high school students will have the chance to gain hands-on experience with the biosciences and environmental health science this summer during the annual KEYS (Keep Engaging Youth in Science) Internship Program.  The University of Arizona’s BIO5 Institute and the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center (SWEHSC) at the UA College of Pharmacy direct the program.

Because KEYS suffered internal budget cuts, $18,000 in outside funding was secured from a variety of sources to keep this important program alive. Contributors included the Arizona Department of Education, Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals, the iPlant Collaborative, The Harpel Company and a number of private donors.

This year’s students are from Tucson-area high schools, including Pueblo, Catalina, University, Sunnyside, Salpointe, Empire, St. Gregory’s, Basis, Catalina Foothills and Marana.

The students were chosen competitively from 58 applicants. Students’ internship experiences will include a weeklong training institute and then research under the mentorship of UA investigators and graduate students, which will culminate in presentations to their peers and the public in a poster session. They also will attend weekly seminars to discuss their experiences and practice science communication skills. The students have selected research focus areas from genetics/molecular biology, pharmacology/toxicology and computational biology/bioinformatics.

More than 20 UA researchers, including Arizona Genomics Institute director Rod Wing and SWEHC director Serrine S. Lau, will host the students in their laboratories.

WHEN: The program will run from June 8 to July 16 in various labs at the BIO5 Institute and the College of Pharmacy. The interns will present their findings at a poster session July 17 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Room 103 of the BIO5 Institute.

WHERE: The University of Arizona BIO5 Institute Thomas W. Keating Bioresearch Building 1657 E. Helen St. Tucson, AZ 85722 – and – The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy 1295 N. Martin Ave. Tucson, AZ 85721

WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT KEYS: “I love this program. I loved everything about it. You learn things in school by looking at a book, then you get to come here and really learn everything about it.” –April Pickens, Palo Verde High School graduate 2008

“I never knew about the research aspect to [pharmacy], but now that I’ve done this I know it’s really cool.” –Deanna Molina, Salpointe Catholic High School graduate 2008