Long Beach Students Present Research Findings

Eighteen Long Beach Polytechnic High School students presented the results of months of research at Cedars-Sinai and other medical institutions at a Feb. 27 event at the Advance Health Sciences Pavilion, attended by parents, teachers, researchers and Cedars-Sinai faculty.

Long Beach Polytechnic High School students Zenita Leang (left) and Ethan McCarthy present their research about youth anxiety and depression at Cedars-Sinai last month.

The students, who attend the Program of Additional Curricular Experiences at Long Beach Poly, were part of a course offered through the Cedars-Sinai unit of the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which includes four area institutions and is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Burns and Allen Research Institute.

Designed to support students considering careers in medical research, the program offers participants instruction in ethics, human subject safety, Institutional Review Board issues and scientific background information for their work. They then meet weekly with their assigned mentors to learn about research protocols in a hands-on environment.

In addition to Cedars-Sinai, the research presented was conducted at UCLA Medical Center and LA Biomed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The students' work, which included presentations on "Risk Factors for Rupture of Intracranial Aneurysm in Different Countries," "Relationship of Thoracic Aorta Calcification to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Gene" and "Diagnostic and Prognostic Implications of Coronary Flow Capacity in Women with Coronary Microvascular Disease," belied the age of the researchers.

"Our mentors have put tremendous time and effort into teaching our students," said Odelia Cooper, MD, associate professor of Medicine and director of the Clinical Translational Research Center. "They introduced them to the exciting, innovative world of research, teaching them how to develop and test a hypothesis, ultimately leading to impressive, well-delivered, high-quality scientific presentations. It is these types of experiences with encouraging mentors that have a profound impact on students entering the field of science."

The program, now in its 18th year, consists of six hours of student time per week. The class meets regularly at the high school and includes mentor sessions at the hospital sites.

"Seeing these high school students in action gives me hope that the future of science is in good hands," said Brennan Spiegel, MD, professor of Medicine and director of Health Services Research, who emceed the event.