Leading Scientists Share Insights With More Than 100 Science Students From 25 Countries
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 5 September 2016 /3BL Media/ - Top scientific minds from across Europe will descend on the University of Cambridge September 5-6, as the Amgen Scholars Europe Symposium brings together leading scientists and 101 star pupils from 59 colleges and universities across 25 countries to exchange ideas and experiences gleaned from a unique summer research placement initiative.
Guest post written by UCLA Amgen Scholar Rachel Sabol
As a self-proclaimed realist, I doubted that I would ever experience the fabled “love at first sight.” This changed the moment that I saw the crowd of UC Berkeley Amgen scholars lined up to register for the symposium, proudly sporting the trendiest summer internship shirts imaginable. In a creative expression of their institution, they were blazoned with the periodic table entry, Berkelium. I must say, there is something quite profound about a group of people that can make radioactive chemical elements fashionable.
Any Amgen Scholar would be fortunate to land in David Mooney’s cell and tissue engineering lab at Harvard University. In the past year alone, his team of 40 scientists -- 10 of them undergraduates -- has packaged cancer vaccines into new scaffold-like materials. They’ve made elastic gels on which bone stem cells stand a better chance of survival. And they have developed strands of nanomaterials that can deliver drug “refills” to existing drug-eluting implants.
Amgen Scholars hailing from programs across the globe gathered in New York this month for an alumni reunion at Columbia University. There, they got a chance to connect with one another as well as with a few incoming 2016 Amgen Scholars, program leaders and faculty mentors.
In addition, Amgen’s Executive Director of Research Margaret Chu-Moyer spoke about her personal journey and the professional path she took to her current position, telling attendees, "Follow the science; find your passion; fulfill a life of purpose."
When you think of epidemiology, you may picture a team of health professionals working to track an outbreak of infection. But an entirely different kind of scientific sleuthing is done within pharma and biotech companies.
In 2009, as a sophomore at Arizona State University in Tempe, Vanessa Gray started what would become a fruitful beginning as a scientist. She began conducting research with Sudhir Kumar, whose group uses genomics data from species ranging from primates to fish to make inferences about human disease.
Although she was new to the lab setting, Gray quickly learned how to make use of computational tools that analyze genomic data with help from Kumar.
In 2009, Bartosz Helfer was well into earning his bachelor’s degree in cognitive sciences at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, one of the biggest universities in one of the largest cities in Poland.
But even so, Helfer didn’t have much of an opportunity to try hands-on research. The university’s cognitive sciences program was new—his student cohort was among the first—and it emphasized theoretical rather than applied research.
Carolyn Valdez was nervous, but ready. She was about to get up in front of 70 conference attendees, including prominent scientists in the field of proton-coupled electron transfer, and explain her research as a graduate student in chemistry. She came prepared, having rehearsed her 30-minute presentation many times before. Still, this felt like a big deal — and it was.
If you asked me ten years ago whether I would be studying the sugary fuzz that covers the outside of cells, I would have laughed. I was interested in psychiatric diseases and the brain. But when I saw a picture of this fuzz — what we call the glycocalyx — during my first year of medical school as an MD/PhD student, I realized that these sugars connect cells with their environment and could be the key to understanding disease.