Summer Research Program – Another Busy Summer! 

Fern Tsien, Ph.D. (Department of Genetics) 

The Summer Research Internship Program provides research opportunities for LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) medical students, undergraduates from throughout the United States, and New Orleans area high school students.  The program directors, Drs. Paula Gregory and Fern Tsien, match students with mentors in laboratories or clinics at LSUHSC, University Medical Center (UMC), and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC). The Summer Research Internship Program allows students to cultivate their interest in pursuing careers in either basic or clinical sciences. During the program, students conduct their own research or work on part of an ongoing project. Support for this program comes from the Baptist Community Ministries, the Entergy Corporation, the LSUHSC Medical School Dean’s Office, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF).   

This program provides the structure that students need to identify research career paths, strengthen their resumes for applications to institutions of higher learning, and facilitate future careers in the basic and health sciences. Summer interns work under the tutelage of a faculty mentor, their staff, and trainees, including medical and graduate students, residents, post-doctoral fellows, and technicians. The program also provides professional development resources where experts present weekly seminars and workshops on laboratory safety, responsible conduct in research, patient confidentiality, record keeping, resume writing, and presentation skills. Faculty members from the various academic training programs also provide seminars on prerequisites and qualifications needed for acceptance into their programs of higher learning. Student interns also participate in networking activities such as the Sci-Fly Speed Mentoring Session and community engagement events, where they provide health education to Louisiana families.  

The program culminates with a poster session where participants present what they learned to the New Orleans scientific community. Drs. Gregory and Tsien would like to extend their special appreciation to mentors, laboratory personnel, and administrative staff who help make the Summer Research Internship Program a success. This program has allowed students to become immersed in the clinical/research setting, meet peers and faculty in the health fields, strengthen resumes, and jumpstart future science careers.