Senior Laila Almassri is one of 44 undergraduate students accepted into the 2013 Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program, which provides participants with a challenging summer research experience in a cutting-edge stem cell science laboratory.
Almassri is in the midst of a ten-week program, running from June 10-Aug. 16, in the Joslin Diabetes Center laboratory of HSCI Affiliated Faculty member Thomas Serwold, who is known for his research on the immune system’s role in Type 1 diabetes. Almassri’s project this summer is to design a way to detect GDF-11, a protein involved in the development of the thymus.
“My internship experience this summer has allowed me to be a part of a team of leading researchers whose vision is to develop therapeutic cures for diabetes,” Almassri said. “I have learned that therapeutic research begins with the interest and dedication of one individual, and it progresses through collaboration amongst many individuals. My overall experience has reinforced my desire to become a physician-scientist and has taught me to be fearless.”
Over the course of the program, interns participate in a stem cell seminar series, a career pathways presentation, and a weekly stem cell companion course. They present their summer research findings, both orally and in poster format, at an end-of-program symposium.
“This program represents an exciting opportunity for undergraduates to gain hands-on experience in stem cell research while working in an HSCI laboratory under the supervision of an experienced researcher,” said HSCI Internship Program director M. William Lensch, PhD.
The Harvard Stem Cell Institute is a collaborative of more than 1,000 leading scientists, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students who are affiliated with one or more of the University’s schools and affiliated hospitals and medical institutions, and are working to advance the understanding and use of stem cells in basic research and regenerative medicine.