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TGen provides scientific launch pad for Helios Scholars

PHOENIX, Ariz. July 28, 2011 Tomorrow's leaders in science and medicine graduate Friday from the biomedical summer internship program at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

The 45 interns in the Helios Scholars Program at TGen wrap up eight weeks of scientific investigations July 29 with a daylong symposium filled with oral and poster presentations at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

"Helios Scholars at TGen receive a highly unique hands-on experience into real-life biomedical discovery. This program significantly engages their research abilities and helps prepare a new generation of scientific investigators for Arizona," said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen's President and Research Director.

This is the fifth year of the program, funded through a $6.5 million grant from Helios Education Foundation, the largest philanthropic foundation in Arizona focused solely on education.

This innovative program allows high school, undergraduate and graduate level students, including those in medical school, to get hands-on research access in a first-class biomedical laboratory.

"The Helios Scholars Program at TGen provides an unique opportunity for Arizona students, from many different backgrounds, to work side by side with TGen scientists and develop foundational research skills through first-hand experience," said Helios Education Foundation President and CEO Paul Luna. "Our strategic partnership with TGen lets our scholars explore the biosciences by taking them beyond the classroom and into state-of-the-art laboratories where their work in cutting edge translational genomics research becomes an invaluable part of their educational experience."

Under the guidance of TGen research faculty who provide closely supervised, one-on-one instruction Helios Scholars use cutting-edge technology to learn about the genetic causes of diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and many types of cancer.

The internships help students from all backgrounds selected from a competitive pool of applicants sharpen their research skills as they prepare for careers in science or medicine.

"It is inspiring to see the growth achieved by these students in just eight weeks," said Brandy Wells, TGen's Education and Outreach Specialist. "They emerge from the program with a skill set that prepares them for the challenges of biomedical research."

Past interns boast an array of impressive accomplishments, including published scientific abstracts and scientific papers, top national student rankings, acceptance into first-rate graduate and medical schools, and national awards and scholarships.


Contact: Steve Yozwiak
The Translational Genomics Research Institute

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