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Biomedical research opportunities

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Delaware INBRE accepting Summer Scholars program applications

Delaware INBRE is accepting applications for its 2017 Summer Scholars program, which provides undergraduate biomedical research opportunities across the state.

The 11-week program offers rising sophomore, juniors and seniors the chance to do mentored research at one of the six Delaware INBRE partner institutions: the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Wesley College, Delaware Technical Community College, Christiana Care Health System and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. Students are paid for their participation in the program.

Applications are available here. They are due March 1, and students will be notified by April 5 if they are selected.

INBRE stands for the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. It is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. One of the goals of Delaware INBRE is to build research capacity in the state, in part by increasing the number of biomedical researchers.

INBRE Summer Scholar Michael Hoffman spent last summer working with one of the newest pieces of equipment found on campus. He and fellow undergrad Susanna Trost used the functional near-infrared spectroscopy brain imaging equipment – fNIRS for short – for a project with mentor, Anjana Bhat, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and part of the Move to Learn Innovation Lab in the STAR Health Sciences Complex.

For his summer project, Hoffman placed probes on participants’ heads and measured the change in oxy-hemoglobin concentration in typically functioning adults and children. He continued working in the lab and is now working on getting the same information from individuals with autism with the goal of determining what areas of their mirror neuron system aren’t functioning properly.

“It was a great experience to start a project and think outside of the box to help contribute to creating the procedures,” said Hoffman, a senior who has been working in Bhat’s lab since his sophomore year. “I also really enjoyed working as a team, as we all learned from one another and relied on each other.”

More than 500 Delaware students have participated in the Summer Scholar program since its inception. Dawn Montgomery, assistant director of Delaware INBRE, said the program gives students a well-rounded introduction to research, from being in a lab to working as part of a team and understanding the reason for the work they’re doing.

In addition to the chance to do mentored research, students also are exposed to other parts of research life, including how to create and develop a scientific poster, how to talk about the work they’ve done and ethical considerations in science and medicine.

“The Summer Scholars program can really set the tone for their future research experiences,” Montgomery said. “Delaware INBRE’s goal is to build the research pipeline in Delaware, and this program really helps us build on the state’s strong research reputation.” 

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