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Scripps Research Institute High School Program Receives CIRM Grant

The funding provides $206,250 for enriching summer internship program

LA JOLLA, CA – March 22, 2012 – The Scripps Research Institute is one of the institutions that will receive funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM)—the state stem cell agency created by proposition 71—to foster creativity and scientific innovation in high school students and fund basic stem cell discoveries, CIRM has announced.

The $206,250 grant will enable Scripps Research to expand its high school summer internship program on the La Jolla, California campus to include 10 participants with a specific interest in stem cell research.

“We are delighted that CIRM has chosen to fund our program,” said James R. Williamson, dean of graduate and postgraduate studies. “We hope the summer internships will inspire some talented students from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in stem cell research and others to participate in our community with the benefit of first-hand experience with science.”

The funding to Scripps Research and eight other institutions extends last year’s CIRM Creativity Awards pilot program, aimed at encouraging California’s young people to pursue careers developing the next generation of stem cell therapies. Other institutions to receive funding in this round include: the City of Hope, the University of Southern California, Stanford University, Children’s Hospital & Research Center (Oakland), The J. David Gladstone Institutes, University of California (UC) Santa Barbara, UC San Francisco, and UC Davis.

A Three-Part Program

Overseen by Director of Education Dawn Eastmond, PhD, and Outreach Coordinator Marisela Chevez, the Scripps Research program rolls out in three phases.

First, the high school students attend a series of enrichment tutorials in the spring. Organized by Scripps Research Kellogg School of Science and Technology doctoral students, the tutorials cover various aspects of modern molecular biology and chemistry—from chemistry to cell biology.

Next, the interns participate in a one-week training session at the Southern California Biotechnology Center at Miramar College, made possible by a partnership with the Life Science Summer Institute and sponsored by the San Diego Workforce Partnership and BIOCOM. In the course, which can count as two college credits, students learn basic lab procedures and various soft skills, including documentation, notebook entry, and lab safety.

Once in the lab, each student assists in some way in a specific research project under the supervision of a mentor. The interns are included as much as possible in productive lab activities and the normal life of the lab, with all its joys and frustrations. In addition to time spent at the laboratory bench, the interns participate in weekly get-togethers featuring lunch and lectures from Scripps Research faculty and scientific staff, as well as field trips to local biotech companies and other points of interest.

At the final meeting in August, students each step up to the podium to present their research to peers, mentors, parents, and supporters.

For more information about Scripps Research’s Academic Preparation and Educational Outreach Programs see http://www.scripps.edu/california/education/k12/k12programs.html

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.

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