by Tiffany Pouldar
This past summer, Keck School of Medicine introduced a new undergraduate program for minority students called Bench to Bedside Summer Research Program.
As the name suggests, this program aims to educate undergraduates in both bench work and physician bedside manner. For two months during the summer, students shadow doctors and conduct research in a Keck biology lab under the supervision of a Keck laboratory principal investigator.
“What I liked most about the program was the amount of exposure to different types of research and medical positions,” said Yale University junior Sunny Jones. “Meeting and working with so many professionals from the various parts of the biological spectrum was amazing.
The different research labs students can volunteer in include Metabolic Diseases (Diabetes and Obesity), Oncology, Cardiovascular, Neuroscience, Immunology, Virology (AIDS), Hematology and Stem Cell Research. By the end of the session, participants present their research findings.
Students also have the opportunity to shadow doctors at the USC University Hospital.
“I got to watch a masectomy! I also had the opportunity to meet the majority of the Keck School of Medicine faculty which was fantastic,” Jones said.
To apply for the program, a student needs to be an underrepresented minority who has completed two years of undergraduate education at a four-year university. Additionally, all candidates turn in an application, resume, essay, and letter of recommendation.
This past summer, 12 students were selected for the program. Selected students receive a stipend, round trip flight, and university housing.
“I learned a lot about myself and what I want most out of my future career in biology,” Jones said. “Prior to coming to this program, I had been fairly decided on pursuing only a Ph.D.
“But after meeting and working with various professionals and graduate students I’ve shifted my focus to the MD/PhD route […] to integrate a rigorous medical knowledge into my research in the future.”
Minority undergraduates with a desire to pursue medical or graduate studies in the biological sciences are encouraged to apply for the program. For more information, please visit http://keck.usc.edu/summerresearchprogram.