News Release
  July 27 , 2006


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 students from Mission College in Sylmar, it means an intense internship with scientists researching cutting-edge issues in the bio-medical field.

The work is intensive. In fact, some of it is (university) graduate level,” said Angela Echeverri, Mission College chemistry instructor.

Echeverri and Mike Reynolds, biology instructor, are co-directors of Mission College’s TRAILS (Team Research Approach in Laboratory Science) program. The program directs talented students toward careers in the bio-medical and bio-tech fields by giving them an opportunity to work as interns with real world scientists. They may conduct research on everything from a cure for cancer to the mapping of genes.

Under the program, two interns are placed at Valencia-based MannKind Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company that develops therapeutic products for diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Eight other interns are placed with scientists and professors at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).

It’s been amazing,” said Christopher Martinez, 23, about his experiences this summer at Mannkind Corp. researching how best to get critical medicine to vital parts of the body.  “It’s opened my eyes to what science is all about. It’s real critical thinking that you can’t get in academia.”

Martinez, 23, said he previously had planned to be a doctor, but after his internship at Mannkind, he’s seriously considering biomedical research as a career.

The Summer 2006 interns are: Ava Amin-Nabavi, Suzanne Carnaggio, Lorena Raquel Lopez, Lawrence Lumague, Vanessa Maldonado, Lauren Ollison, Georgina Portillo, and George Zaragosa, all of whom work with scientists and professors at CSUN. In addition to Christropher Martinez, another intern, Mayra Carrillo, works at MannKind Corporation.

Their work does not end with the summer. Most will write original research articles in the fall based on their experiences.

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