Funding to Seed Training of the Next Generation of Scientists

Phoenix, AZ, February 12, 2007-The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) today announced the award of a $380,000 grant from the Helios Education Foundation to create the Helios Scholars Program at TGen. The program provides stipend funding for 50 qualified high school, undergraduate and graduate students who compete for the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience as summer interns under the guidance of a TGen mentor. The eight-week program supports students from all backgrounds in their efforts to develop foundational skills as they pursue careers in science or medical-related fields.

The Helios Education Foundation, considered the largest education foundation in Arizona, has donated more than $10 million to Arizona's educational programs since its establishment in 2004.

"TGen's summer program allows students from all backgrounds the opportunity to experience and apply the speed and caliber of cutting-edge research as they continue their educational experience. The only prerequisite is a love of science and learning."
- Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President

"After meeting with researchers at TGen and learning about TGen's summer internship program, I believe this is an opportunity for Helios to support science education and advance educational opportunities in Arizona," said Vince Roig, Chairman and CEO of the Helios Education Foundation. "We are extremely excited to partner with TGen in its endeavor to train the next generation of genomic scientists."

In addition to the stipends, Helios and TGen recognize each student as a Helios Scholar. The grant also funds an end-of-the-summer symposium where students present their work to their peers, TGen staff, family and guests. Additionally the grant provides six merit-based scholarships totaling $5,200 and supports several extra curricular activities to encourage student interaction and learning.

"We are proud to join with the Helios Education Foundation to create a rich and rewarding educational partnership," said TGen president, Dr. Jeffrey Trent. "TGen's summer program allows students from all backgrounds the opportunity to experience and apply the speed and caliber of cutting-edge research as they continue their educational experience. The only prerequisite is a love of science and learning."

Helios Scholars have the opportunity to work under the mentorship of an experienced investigator, while working side-by-side with TGen researchers and their scientific teams to learn all aspects associated with scientific inquiry. Depending on education level, student stipends range from $3,200 to $4,800.

Last summer, TGen hosted 55 interns with diverse educational backgrounds including bioengineering, biology, business, biochemistry, nursing, speech and hearing science, international studies, business, humanities, family studies, and human development.

Now in its fifth year, the program seeks to broaden its recruitment by focusing on one of the Helios Education Foundation's objectives in this endeavor: identifying and attracting qualified minority and economically disadvantaged students to the study of science.

TGen's past summer interns boast an array of impressive accomplishments, including publishing scientific abstracts and peer-reviewed articles, gaining acceptance into medical and graduate school and winning scholarships and prizes. In 2005, TGen interns Albert Shieh and Anne Lee took first place in the team category at the 2005-2006 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology. The interns split a $100,000 scholarship.

"By investing in the education of students who have a strong interest in science, we are investing in Arizona's future," said Helios President Paul Luna. "Our collaboration with TGen is an example of how we can enrich the learning experiences of students who are interested in science."

Applications for the summer program are accepted on-line through the TGen website. For more information about the Helios Scholars Program at TGen or to fill out an on-line application, students should visit or The application process closes March 23, 2007.

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About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, with a focus on developing earlier diagnostics and smarter treatments. Translational genomics research is a relatively new field employing innovative advances arising from the Human Genome Project and applying them to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases. TGen bases its research on personalized medicine and the institute plans to accomplish its goals through robust and disease-focused research.

About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation (Helios) is an education foundation headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, serving the citizens of Arizona and Florida with an endowment in excess of $600 million. Helios is dedicated to supporting initiatives that encourage participation, increase access, and enrich the learning experience leading to the successful completion of post-secondary education for Arizona and Florida residents. Helios is an outgrowth of the February 2004 conversion and reorganization of Southwest Student Services Corporation (Southwest), an Arizona not-for-profit corporation, and its not-for-profit affiliates, Arizona Educational Loan Marketing Corporation (AELMAC) and Florida Educational Loan Marketing Corporation (FELMAC). Southwest was a full service provider of student loan products and services to students, families and schools in Arizona, Florida and nationally. For more information about Helios, visit

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