Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh Can­cer In­sti­tute Academy Ex­pands Sum­mer Scholar Pro­gram to In­clude Col­lege Stu­dents

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“It is well known that there is a lack of di­ver­sity in the bio­med­i­cal work­force,” said David Boone, Ph.D., ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the UPCI Academy. “This pro­gram al­lows us to pro­vide hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence for high-achiev­ing stu­dents who may not oth­er­wise have ac­cess. They must meet strict stan­dards and demon­strate com­mit­ment and ex­cite­ment to sci­ence to be se­lected.”

PITTS­BURGH – The Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh Can­cer In­sti­tute (UPCI) Academy, now in its 9th year, will ex­pand its sum­mer med­i­cal re­search pro­gram for high school stu­dents to in­clude ad­di­tional re­search ex­pe­ri­ences for academy alumni cur­rently at­tend­ing col­lege.

The ex­pan­sion is funded, in part, by the Doris Duke Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion (DDCF), which launched the Clin­i­cal Re­search Con­tin­uum: High School to Col­lege pro­gram to pro­vide funds for eight in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the UPCI Academy. The goal is to in­crease the di­ver­sity of the bio­med­i­cal re­search work­force by pro­vid­ing hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents, par­tic­u­larly from mi­nor­ity groups, who are un­der­rep­re­sented in medicine.

The UPCI Academy sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics pro­gram pre­pares col­lege-bound teenagers and those just be­gin­ning col­lege for suc­cess­ful ca­reers in sci­ence and medicine. Schol­ars in the UPCI Academy en­gage in cut­ting-edge can­cer re­search by work­ing along­side sci­en­tists and can­cer clin­i­cians in lab­o­ra­to­ries at six sites across the Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh cam­pus. Since 2009, the pro­gram has grown from ve par­tic­i­pants to an ex­pected 60 in 2017. This year, for the rst time, the pro­gram also will in­clude four UPCI Academy alumni cur­rently en­rolled in col­lege along with the high school ju­niors and se­niors.

“We are em­pow­er­ing th­ese stu­dents to move for­ward with ca­reers in the bio­med­i­cal eld. UPCI Academy has helped stu­dents pub­lish re­search pa­pers in peer­re­viewed jour­nals, and sev­eral also have pre­sented re­search nd­ings at na­tional sym­posia,” said Boone.

The stu­dents will work along­side the fol­low­ing UPCI re­searchers dur­ing their term at UPCI Academy at th­ese dif­fer­ent sites: Joseph Ay­oob, Ph.D., The Drug Dis­cov­ery, Sys­tems and Com­pu­ta­tional Bi­ol­ogy Site; Greg M. Del­goffe, Ph.D., and Tul­lia Bruno, Ph.D., Tu­mor Im­munol­ogy Site; Deborah Gal­son, Ph.D., Can­cer Bi­ol­ogy Site; Gary Thomas, Ph.D., Andy Dun­can, Ph.D., and Carolyn An­der­son, Ph.D., The Can­cer En­vi­ron­ment, Bio­engi­neer­ing, Imag­ing and Ge­net­ics Site; David Boone, Ph.D., The Com­puter Sci­ence, Bi­ol­ogy and Bio­med­i­cal In­for­mat­ics Site; Ste Oester­re­ich, Ph.D., The Women’s Can­cer Re­search Cen­ter Site at Magee-Womens Re­search In­sti­tute.

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