The 10th class of Helios Scholars at TGen wraps up
next Friday, July 29, with our annual Intern Symposium. Since June,
our 44 students have been hard at work in the labs and at their
computers, delving into projects ranging from virtual reality to
patient education to small-cell lung cancer.
"The main thing that has inspired me here is the
near-and-present application of the research," explained Brandon
Dorr, an Arizona State University junior, who is researching
treatment options for small-cell lung cancer under mentor, Dr.
Small-cell lung cancer typically has a 5-year survival rate
between 5 and 10 percent, so the standard of care is not effective.
Brandon's work has focused new potential therapeutic avenues for
"Oftentimes in other labs where I've worked, the research
application is down the road and conceptual," said Brandon,
pictured above with research associate Vashti Carson. "At TGen, the
bench-to-bedside approach is really crucial."
At TGen's Center for Rare Childhood Disorders, Payton Cadien, a
junior at Creighton University, and Carmel McCullough, a sophomore
at University of Southern California, have produced a series of
videos to help patients and families understand how genetic
disorders are inherited and how TGen uses genomic sequencing
technology to find a diagnosis and identify possible treatments for
"As someone who has a sibling with a genetic disorder, I feel
that I am particularly lucky to have been given the opportunity to
help families that are going through the same situation as my
family," Payton said. "I know how hard it is to be given
information that makes no sense and I want these videos to be a
tool that can make it just a bit less intimidating."
You can watch the Modes of Inheritance videos and Whole-Exome Sequencing video, and take a short
survey to measure the effectiveness of each.
In Dr. Jonathan Keats' Lab, Jose Plascencia and Sam Rawal are
writing software for the Oculus Rift Virtual-Reality Headset to
explore genomic data, allowing researchers a 3-D view of the
traditional two-dimensional circos plot. Watch a video
The eight-week, full-time Helios Scholars internship is TGen's
flagship educational program, offering students hands-on learning
under the mentorship of TGen faculty and staff. The students will
present their work though posters and oral presentations at the