Eight weeks of summer instruction readies students for scientific careers

PHOENIX, Ariz. - July 30, 2010 - Tomorrow's leaders in science and medicine graduated today from one of the nation's most advanced summer internship programs at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

The 44 interns in the Helios Scholars Program at TGen wrapped up eight weeks of biomedical investigations with a daylong symposium filled with discussions and scientific poster presentations at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

"TGen provides Helios Scholars with an invaluable hands-on experience into biomedical discovery, one that significantly jump-starts their research abilities and enhances a new generation of America's scientific investigators," said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen's President and Research Director.

This is the fourth year of the planned 25-year program at TGen, which is funded through a $6.5 million grant from the Helios Education Foundation, the largest philanthropic foundation in Arizona focused solely on education.

"The Helios Scholars Program at TGen opens new doors for students into the world of the biosciences," said Helios Education Foundation President and CEO Paul Luna. "This innovative partnership with TGen not only helps students explore the biosciences, but it takes them beyond the classroom and into state-of-the-art laboratories, where they partner with TGen scientists to conduct independent scientific research on the genetic causes of certain diseases. That experience and exposure to the TGen scientists is invaluable to these students."

This innovative program allows high school, undergraduate and graduate level students, including those in medical school, to conduct independent scientific research affecting real-world patients.

Under the guidance of TGen's top-notch research investigators - who provide closely supervised, one-on-one instruction - Helios Scholars use cutting-edge technology to learn about the genetic causes of diseases such as melanoma, prostate cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

This innovative program helps students from all backgrounds sharpen their research skills as they prepare for careers in science or medical fields. Selected from a competitive pool of applicants - many at the top of their class - their backgrounds ranged from bioengineering to business to international studies.

"The beauty of this program is that students are immersed in the genuine essence of science," said Brandy Wells, TGen's Education and Outreach Specialist. "They work on the true frontier of research, actively practicing concepts such as the scientific method and experimental design, and seeking answers to the questions they themselves formulate. This journey into the unknown is what ultimately fuels their desire to pursue a career in the biosciences."

Past interns boast an array of impressive accomplishments, including published scientific abstracts and scientific papers, top national student rankings, acceptance into first-rate graduate and medical schools, and even Goldwater and Fulbright scholarships.

For more information about TGen or the internship program, visit www.tgen.org/intern.

TGen will begin accepting online applications for next summer's Helios program in early 2011.


About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals in Arizona and Florida by creating opportunities for success in postsecondary education. The Foundation's community investments are made across three impact areas: Early Childhood Education, the Transition Years (grades 5-12) and Postsecondary Education. Since inception in 2004, Helios Education Foundation has invested over $82 million into education-related programs and initiatives in both states. For more information, visit the Foundation online at www.helios.org.

Press Contacts:
Ian Smith
Chief Communications Officer
Office: 813-387-0221
Mobile: 813-541-9046
[email protected]

Israel Barajas
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Helios Education Foundation
Office: 602-381-2281
Mobile: 602-999-9786
[email protected]


About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen is affiliated with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.

Press Contact:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
[email protected]

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