Sunday, December 28, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

High school students shine in UC Davis stem cell labs

By
August 10, 2011 |

SACRAMENTO — Summer vacation for high school students doesn’t typically consist of working inside the world’s most advanced scientific laboratories. But for a group of talented California teens, including Kalani Ratnasiri and Thomas Gepts from Davis High School, that’s exactly what this summer entailed.

An innovative program sponsored by the state’s stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, encouraged several dozen high school students from around the state to work with stem cell scientists at major universities, including UC Davis.

On Wednesday afternoon, in Sacramento, four high school students who interned in UCD’s stem cell labs as part of the CIRM Creativity Awards program received completion certificates for participating in the intensive summer program.

The students worked closely with scientists over the summer and were invited to share the results of their research during a presentations-and-poster session hosted by CIRM in Oakland last week.

Jaskaran Dhillon, a soon-to-be senior from Elk Grove, gave a presentation about mesenchymal stem cells and their capacity to produce bone to heal fractures and osteoporosis. He was recognized as the best student overall among the group, which included young students from labs at Stanford, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Barbara.

“These students truly exceeded our expectations,” said Jan Nolta, director of the UCD Institute for Regenerative Cures and a mentor for several of the students. “One of our other interns was so determined to learn about stem cell science that he traveled two hours from Vallejo and back each day to work in our Sacramento lab.

“All of these young people performed fabulously, and they represent a very bright future for science, particularly, I hope, in stem cell research.”

The teen program is part of the CIRM’s effort to strengthen the pipeline of stem cell expertise in California by funding young faculty, graduate students, and masters and undergraduate students, ensuring that California has the scientific talent to fill biotech jobs and create the next generation of stem cell therapies.

This year’s high school program was a pilot project that reached even further down the pipeline to enable promising high school students to gain college-level experiences and inspire them to pursue science degrees and careers.

“One of the most valuable parts of my experience at the Institute for Regenerative Cures was the fact that I was able to translate theoretical work and my passion for medical research into lab experiments that provided concrete results,” said Dhillon, a Sheldon High School student. As a junior, he created a website dedicated to information about genetics and gene therapy.

“I’ve realized that regenerative medicine is part of a new revolution in health care,” Dhillon added. “Although I knew beforehand that I wanted to become a physician-scientist, working at the Nolta lab has steered my research interest toward discovering cures using innovative stem cell and gene therapies.”

Dhillon and the other students also participated in this year’s Teen Biotech Challenge at UCD, which is sponsored by the UCD Biotechnology Program and led by Judith A. Kjelstrom and Denneal Jamison-McClung. That experience enabled the budding scientists to confidently put their newly developed biotech skills and interests to use in the university’s regenerative medicine laboratories.

“I experienced many wonderful things at UC Davis’ stem cell lab at in Sacramento,” said Rex Reyes, a soon-to-be senior at Vallejo High School who traveled by train, bus and on foot to the institute’s labs each day.

“While the highlight was working in the lab’s unique Good Manufacturing Practice facility, I was amazed to be able to learn about use of lentiviral vectors in gene therapy as well as induced pluripotent stem cells, which are stem cells derived from adult cells.”

The intern program is the state stem cell agency’s second to reach high school students. Last year, it created a high school curriculum that teachers could download and use to teach students about stem cell research.

Calling innovation and creativity the keys to developing breakthrough discoveries in science, the agency has been supportive of programs that encourage the work and interests of young scientists as well as college and high school students who may want to pursue medical or research careers.

UCD Health System scientists who mentored the summer students and encouraged creative thinking, in addition to Nolta, included Gerhard Bauer, Fernando Fierro, Stefanos Kalomoiris, Karen Pepper, Jing Liu, Min Zhao and Whitney Cary.

— UC Davis Health System News Service

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Yolo makes hydrogen connection

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    AirAsia plane with 162 aboard missing in Indonesia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Sacramento man convicted for 2011 bar shooting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Drugs, stolen car lead to women’s arrests

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Holiday hours continue at The Enterprise

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Reserve tickets soon for Chamber’s Installation Gala

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UC Davis debate team wins national championship

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Covell Gardens hosts New Year’s Eve dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Portuguese breakfast set for Jan. 25

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    USA Weekend calls it quits

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sweet success: Cancer Center helps young patient celebrate end of treatment

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    At the Pond: It all started with kayaking on Putah Creek

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Find the first cabbage white butterfly, and win a pitcher

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Does pre-eclampsia raise autism risk?

    By Phyllis Brown | From Page: A6

     
    Long will talk about value of hedgerows for adjacent farms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    It’s a wonderful life — and a wonderful state

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    College sees benefits in loan guarantees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Tickets for New Year’s Eve party going fast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    It was a busy, black-eye year for disease control

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
     
    Say thanks to the caregivers

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Bombing is not the answer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Just Us in Davis: Despair and hope for the new year

    By Jonathan London | From Page: A10

    Commission’s list needs vetting

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rifkin’s statement is offensive

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Cuba policy changes highlight a momentous opportunity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Writer’s arguments fall flat

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Sacramento survives Knicks in OT

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Kings cruise past Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Lady Blue Devils top Tigers to reach Ram Jam title game

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS boys get good film in tournament loss

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Sports briefs: Republic FC to host camp series

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    College bowl roundup: Sun Bowl goes to the Sun Devils

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Rob White: Davis tech community is growing

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

     
    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

    First Northern adds Peyret to agribusiness loan team

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Kaiser’s trauma center in Vacaville earns verification

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Obituaries

    Ruth Allen Barr

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Charles ‘Bud’ Meyer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 28, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8