INBT REU Scholars Showcase Summer Research

Deonnae Lopez presenting her poster at the 2008 Johns Hopkins University summer scholars poster session. Credit: Will Kirk / Homewood Imaging and Photographic Services.

Eighty visiting scholars, both undergraduate and high school students, from more than 60 different institutions spent their summer discovering what it’s really like to conduct research with faculty members at Johns Hopkins University. They displayed the results of their hard work—which included studies on topics as wide ranging as public health, genetics and nanobiotechnology, during a poster session held in Turner Concourse on August 7.

Participants at this poster session represent only a fraction of the short-term research programs that occur at Johns Hopkins every summer. Each program has its own admission criteria, separate funding sources, and specialized focus, but the overall purpose is the same. “To attract the best and brightest students from colleges across the country so that they will apply to Johns Hopkins for graduate school,“ says Ashanti Edwards, the education program coordinator who manages the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology.

For example, David Nartey, a senior in biology from Morgan State University who conducted research on engineered DNA nanoparticles through INBT’s REU, says he intends to apply to Johns Hopkins for graduate school. Nartey worked with INBT affiliated faculty member Hai-Quan Mao, associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering, and will continue to work in the Mao lab even after completing the REU program.

“I learned to use many different types of equipment in Dr. Mao’s lab,“ Nartey says. “Also the students that I worked with were very helpful in explaining everything. Every student has their own area of expertise and I learned a lot during lab meetings.“

Another goal is to allow underrepresented minorities to experience Johns Hopkins first-hand, adds Cathy Will, manager of student recruitment and programs at the School of Medicine and organizer of the poster session. “When these students have positive experiences at Hopkins, they will return to their home institutions with good stories to share with their classmates. The next year we always see more admission applications from those schools.“

In addition to INBT, which placed 11 students in faculty research labs, departments who hosted students and participated in this poster session included the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Basic Science Institute, Center for Excellence in Genome Sciences Scholar Program, and Pulmonary Care and Critical Medicine; the Bloomberg School of Public Health; and the Krieger School of Arts and Science Department of Biology.

To learn more about INBT’s REU or to see highlights from the 2008 INBT REU program, click here.

Story by Mary Spiro

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