A summer of learning and research

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All around Central Florida, students are returning to school for the fall semester. At Sanford-Burnham in Lake Nona, we take a closer look at some of the lab experiences of our high-school interns who have spent part of their summer in our labs getting a taste for what it's like to work in basic-science research.

Bailey Hamner, a junior at Trinity Preparatory School, applied for a summer internship at Sanford-Burnham to get exposure to research methods. "Labs were always my favorite part of science class," she explained, "and I always looked forward to hands-on work." Bailey certainly didn't find a shortage of hands-on experience in Dr. Daniel Kelly's lab, working with mentor Caron Stonebrook, a Sanford-Burnham research associate. Bailey worked on a variety of lab tests and techniques such as the western assay and running a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). "Being able to see firsthand what goes into the research aspect of the medical field has given me a better understanding of the profession."

[caption id="attachment_19225" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Peter Hosbein receives instruction from Darrin Kuystermans, Ph.D. Peter Hosbein receives instructions from Darrin Kuystermans, Ph.D.[/caption]

Trinity Prep junior Peter Hosbein had a solid idea of what his future academic path was going to look like. "My plan was to become a Mechanical Engineer, although my focus has shifted after taking Honors Anatomy." Now, Peter feels his experiences can be combined into a meaningful career path in chemical engineering. "With job opportunities in medicine, and the problem-solving aspect of engineering, it was a perfect fit for my interests." In the Protein Production Core, facility manager Dr. Darrin Kuystermans showed Peter typical lab equipment, processes, and techniques typically used in the analysis of mammalian, microbial, and insect-based systems.

[caption id="attachment_19216" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Interns Bryan Peacker and Alexandra Livingston pose in the Cardiometabolic Phenotyping Core Interns Bryan Peacker and Alexandra Livingston pose in the Cardiometabolic Phenotyping Core[/caption]

A documentary on regenerative medicine encouraged Christina Santana to learn more about science research as a career. Christina is a busy student. She's a junior at Harmony High School and finds time to be an active member of the robotics club, French club, and tutors chemistry every week. Christina was placed in the Cellular Imaging lab under the supervision of research specialist Humberto Avila. The lab supports research programs by providing digital imaging, training, and guidance on sophisticated biological microscopes.

[caption id="attachment_19229" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Mirreny Arney compiles lab data in the Cardiovascular Pathobiology lab Mirreny Arney compiles lab data in the Cardiovascular Pathobiology lab[/caption]

Sanford-Burnham internships give bright students an intimate look at the steps involved in using and understanding basic-science research to tackle real-world problems affecting communities today. Students can use these internship experiences to springboard into their educational aspirations and beyond.