For high-school senior Christina Bui, summer is more than a welcome reprieve - it's time to pursue her passion for science. Bui, a student Piedmont Hills High School in San Jose, explained that her high-school science courses sparked her interest in the field of biological sciences.
She applied to the Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) because she wanted to learn more about a specific area of science in more detail. SIMR is an eight-week summer program that helps high-schoolers get an early start in university-caliber research by pairing them with mentors in Stanford’s School of Medicine.
When I asked Bui which area of science interested her most, she laughed. “All of the topics were interesting; I couldn’t choose between them,” she said. But she admits that stem cell research was her first choice. So, the SIMR program placed Bui in the stem cell institute with Stanford mentor Nathan DeCarolis, PhD, a postdoctoral student in the lab of Theo Palmer, PhD. She is working under the SIMR program, with an additional grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), an organization that provides grants for stem cell research.
Bui is studying neural stem cell behavior. "There's something special about the environment of the stem cell," said Bui. The surroundings of stem cells influence what the stem cells develop into, she explained.
The image shown here is a photo of the first gel electrophoresis test – a process that uses an electric current to sort fragments of negatively-charged DNA based on their size.
Bui will present the findings of her summer SIMR project at a poster presentation at Stanford on August 8, and as a part of the CIRM grant, she will present at the University of California, San Francisco on August 12.
Holly MacCormick is a writing intern in the medical school’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs. She is a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology at University of California-Santa Cruz.
Previously: A look at one high-school student’s summer internship experience at Stanford, Vitamins may help stem cells in the brain survive inflammatory damage and Iron-supplement-slurping stem cells can be transplanted, then tracked to make sure they’re making new knees.
Photo from Christina Bui