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Outstanding Biological Sciences Students Selected for Internships & Symposium

Tiffany Lee

Junior, Tiffany Lee, Studies Rare Pediatric Cancer in Research Internship

Tiffany Lee, a junior, pre-medical student, in the department of Biological Sciences, participated in the Summer Medical and Research Training Program (SMART) at Baylor College of Medicine which provides valuable, educational summer research projects for undergraduate students. The paid nine weeks of biomedical-related research provided a research experience in the Texas Children’s Cancer Genomics Lab where she worked with an extremely rare, pediatric renal malignancy (congenital mesoblastic nephroma). In addition to her project, Tiffany observed the discovery and analysis of other lab projects, attended inspiring professional development lectures from top research scientists, and shadowed in the reproductive clinic. Aside from the educational experience, Tiffany also volunteered in the neonatal intensive care unit’s siblings’ playroom at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.

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"Being a SMART Intern was an amazing experience, and it really opened my eyes to just how much of a team effort medicine really is. It definitely ignited a fire within me! I got so excited every time I saw a medical student or doctor. I can’t wait until I get to have the same experience as those medical students!" - Tiffany Lee

Matt Bristerpostma

Glaucoma Undergraduate Research Internship Reinforces Desire for Ph.D

Matt Bristerpostma, a sophomore, biology student, participated in The Summer Multicultural Advanced Research Training (SMART) at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center. Over a ten-week period, Matt, who was mentored by Dr. Shaoqing He, studied the general pathology of glaucoma including the role of endothelins (related neural support cells), related optic nerve and tissue damage, and medical conditions that increase risk factors of developing glaucoma. At the conclusion of the program, Matt was required to publish the results and present a poster. Matt said, “The whole experience was profound. Apart from the pay, which was very nice, the chance to work shoulder to shoulder with a mentor like Dr. He, and then be trusted to work largely independently was nothing short of amazing. I learned new techniques, new information, and really got to push myself as a scientist.” 

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“This internship made me a better scientist, and it reinforced my desire to pursue a Ph.D. into an ironclad drive. The whole environment was fantastic, and I felt like I didn't want the internship it to end.” - Matt Bristerpostma

Matt Bristerpostma

Faith Cox, Selected by Peers to Present at Biomedical SEA-Phage Symposium

Faith Cox, a sophomore biology student, was selected by her peers to present their findings at the 2019 SEA (Science Education Alliance) Symposium at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia. Along with 15 other Biological Sciences students, Faith participates in Dr. Dustin Edwards’ Phage Discovery Program studying bacteriophages, viruses that are able to infect bacteria. Bacteriophages have the potential to unlock the next generation of treatment for antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, such as MRSA. In this research-based course, students isolate, name, sequence, and characterize viruses, and submit them to a national library of phages. Faith presented a poster on Microbacterium phage Finny, one of the ten bacteriophages discovered by the 2018-2019 class. In addition, she discussed the program’s science outreach at local rural high schools and newly started search for phage-encoded CRISPR and anti-CRISPR genes, which have the potential to be used in gene editing technology.

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“By attending the SEA Symposium, I was able to meet scientists and other SEA-PHAGE students from around the country who are on the forefront of phage therapies which will effectively be life-saving for many terminally-ill patients. It was an absolutely amazing opportunity!” - Faith Cox