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Molecular Medicine Program Offers Hands-On Research for High School Students


Published:

February 12, 2010

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Fifty of Indiana’s top high school students will gain special insights into the worlds of science, medicine and genetics during the Molecular Medicine In Action (MMIA) program at the Indiana University School of Medicine March 7 and 8, 2010.

The two-day successful program, now in its eleventh year, grants these select students the opportunity to work alongside some of the nation’s top researchers in the labs of the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, located on the IUPUI campus.

“This conference introduces the students to incredible new knowledge that is rapidly becoming accessible from the recent advances in biomedicine and the quickening pace of scientific discovery,” said MMIA program director Karen Pollok, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and director of the In Vivo Therapeutics Core for the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center.

“More than 500 Indiana high school students now have shared the excitement of what genetic science promises---both for understanding and developing treatments as well as cures of complex diseases. We also continue to update our research modules to include emerging new technologies.”

IU scientists will guide students through laboratories and workstations where they will learn how gene mutations are identified, how DNA is isolated, how to use the latest microscopic imaging techniques and other fundamentals of modern biomedical research. Also, Eric M. Meslin, Ph.D., director of the IU Center for Bioethics, will explain to students the role of ethics in biomedical research. Dr. Meslin incorporates a computer-based interactive component to his lecture.

“We are excited about integrating this novel technology into our lectures and research modules,” Pollok said.

The Molecular Medicine In Action program seeks to get students intrigued about science and inspire them to pursue careers in science. Also, MMIA organizers hope to raise awareness of areas of excellence at Riley Hospital for Children and the IU School of Medicine, and increase interaction between the medical school and Indiana’s secondary schools and teachers.

Support for this year's program includes funding in part from the Riley Children’s Foundation, Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, and IU School of Medicine.