The City of Hope welcomed our second year of CIRM Creativity Students to our annual summer student academy. Eight students were chosen from the 474 high school applicants and placed into the various labs working with stem cells. Students were able to choose from twelve basic science and clinical departments, including: Biology, Molecular Biology, Neurosciences, Immunology, Hematology/HCT, Virology and Diabetes/Endocrinology.
The CIRM Creativity program at City of Hope is designed to promote scientific research and the student’s inner creativity. Over a ten week period, the students work in laboratories while interacting and learning from their PIs, mentors, and various staff. Through this process, they are given the hands on training in a laboratory and are able to learn the importance of discipline and collaboration in the field of research. Each student is urged to work with their mentors to create their own research project and must present their results by the end of the ten week period.
Alongside their research, the students attend various programs. Students attend a weekly student seminar series where students volunteer and present their research and answer questions from their peers and mentors. All students must design and present at the annual Summer Academy poster session where distinguished guests, family, and lab members discuss their research. This year, local media attended and articles were published in newspapers and online media.
Students also attend weekly seminars known as the Distinguished Seminar Series. Researchers and medical doctors are invited from throughout the country to speak about their field of science. Each student can choose to have lunch with one speaker and ask questions about their field or career path. This year 12 speakers presented, 5 of whom work on Stem Cells:
Gregory Cherryholmes, a graduate student of the Irell and Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences and CIRM Scholar, presented his research on “Targeting Brain Cancer Stem Cells using CpG-siSTAT3”.
Dr. Robin Jeannet, a previous CIRM scholar, Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research, City of Hope, presented “Alcam Regulates Long-Term Hematopoietic Stem Cell Engraftment”.
Dr. Christine Brown, Associate Research Professor at City of Hope, presented a seminar titled “Adoptive Transfer of Chimeric Antigen Receptor Re-directed T cells for the Treatment of Cancer”.
Dr. Rahul Jandial, Assistant Professor, Division of Neurosurgery at City of Hope, presented his seminar “Surgery, Science & Service: In hopes for a legacy”.
Dr. Brian Cummings, Associate Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation from University of California: Irvine, presented “Human Neural Stem Cells in Neurotrauma – The Long and Winding Road from Preclinical Research to Clinical Trials”
The creative component of the CIRM Creativity program includes a series of workshops that promote different forms of creativity as well as scientific field trips in Los Angeles. The students attended three separate workshops. The first was a marketing workshop that explained the importance of creating and maintaining a brand image when targeting consumers. This was then applied to the pharmaceutical industry where students created their own brand name and packaging for a breast cancer drug. The second was inspired by the Institute For Figuring’s Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. Students learned the skill of crochet and focused on different stitching to create different hyperbolic designs for their very own coral reef. The final workshop focused on public speaking and the importance of body language. Students were asked science related questions under pressure using new techniques to gain confidence.
Our final project included a music video parody to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”. With the revised title “Party in the Laboratory”, students sang about their enjoyable time learning about stem cell research. The lyrics, choreography, and video were created by academy students with the guidance of our teaching assistant, Stephanie Patterson. The video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwN72BJdbyw .
Students attended three exhibits in the Downtown Los Angeles Area. They were the following:
The Getty Conservation Institute and Museum with a private tour through the conservation facilities that restore all the murals and exhibit pieces throughout the world.
The Los Angeles Natural History Museum with a guided tour through the butterfly pavilion and dinosaur hall.
The Institute For Figuring with a tour from Distinguished Speaker and Founder Margaret Wertheim. The students also were taught by their instructors how to make various geometric structures.
With the proven success of our academy, we hope to continue providing students the opportunity to have hands on research in their high school and college career. Our CIRM Creativity program is making a positive impact on our students.