interns clockwise from top left: Daniyal Amirhamzeh, Adrian
Paz, Christopher Martinez, and Christine An.
For many college
students, summer means a break from study...or a chance to earn money
before classes resume in the fall.
For a group of Mission College students, it meant an intense internship
with scientists in the bio-medical field. And, by all accounts, everyone
involved got their moneys worth, so to speak.
The summer program was a resounding success, said Mike Reynolds,
Mission College biology instructor and co-director of the program. The
students learned how science really works by carefully designing experiments
and carrying them out under professional supervision.
Last spring, 10 students were selected from more than 20 applicants to
take part in the TRAILS (Team Research Approach in Laboratory Science)
program. TRAILS is made possible by a three-year, $322-thousand grant
awarded to Mission College by the U.S. Department of Education. Its goal
is to help guide students toward careers in the bio-medical and bio-technological
Under the program, two interns were placed at Valencia-based MannKind
Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company that develops therapeutic products
for diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Eight other interns were placed
with scientists and professors at California State University, Northridge.
The work was intensive, some of it graduate level. The students explored
chromatography, gel electrophoresis, tissue culture, flow cytometry, syngeneic
mouse tumor modeling, and the mapping of the start site of genes.
The summer interns included Christine An, Daniyal Amirhamzeh, Roberto
Cabrales, Larry Joe Douglas, Lorena Raquel Lopez, Robert Lozano, Christopher
Martinez, and Adrian Paz, all of whom worked with scientists at CSUN.
Two other interns, Jennifer Herrera and Mario Roldan, worked at MannKind
The scientific mentors contacted by Reynolds after the summer agreed on
the programs success.
This is a valuable program, said Dr. Michael Summers, associate
professor of microbiology at CSUN. The students gain research experience
and confidence...and the program also benefits the progress of my
work did not end with the summer. Most are writing original research articles
based on their experiences, to be included in a scientific journal due
Reynolds is equally
excited about another component of the TRAILS grant. It provided funds
to create an advanced class in molecular biology, and to properly equip
the lab necessary for such a class.
2005 TRAILS interns included (front row, left to right) Lorena
Raquel Lopez, Jennifer Herrera, Christine An, Adrian Paz, and
Mario Roldan; (back row, left to right) Christopher Martinez,
Roberto Cabrales, Daniyal Amirhamzeh, Robert Lozano, and Larry
of Biotechnology class is a great advancement for Mission College,
said Reynolds. Students who take the course will have a much more
compelling resume when they seek research opportunities, and when they
apply for university transfer.
The internship program will continue for at least two more summers. Information
about applying for next years internships will be released during
the spring 2006 semester.
BY EDUARDO PARDO