George Phillips III, a 17-year-old rising senior at Harvard-Westlake Upper School, echoed Lee's observation. "It was inspiring to meet real researchers who are exploring new frontiers that may lead to important discoveries. That definitely increased my interest in research." Phillips' team tested the barrier capacity of stem-cell-derived brain microvascular endothelia cells (BMECs). (BMECs are the major component of the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from potentially harmful substances in blood.)
Students weren't alone in being impacted positively by Research Week. For Veronica Garcia, PhD, this was the first Research Week she coordinated since being named director of the High School Outreach Program last year. Summing up the experience, she said, "It was so heartwarming to see that these students have a sincere, intrinsic drive to do good through science. They really want to benefit others and that gives you hope for the future."
In addition to mastering pipetting and other fundamental lab skills, students visited the Biomedical Imaging Research Institute's Imaging Core, the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills and attended presentations by Cedars-Sinai regenerative medicine experts. Research Week culminated with students presenting their projects to members of the Cedars-Sinai research community.
Garcia, who also is a postdoctoral scientist in the laboratory of Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute and professor of Biomedical Sciences, was duly impressed.
"It was remarkable how much these students absorbed in just five days," she said. "They were given a great opportunity and they really stepped up."
Students who would like to participate in next year's Research Week must first apply to the Cedars-Sinai Teen Volunteer Program. Applications for the Teen Volunteer Program will be available Feb. 1, 2020, on the program's website. Students must be at least age 17. Admission is based on various criteria, including grade-point average and the quality of an applicant's essay.