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Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy

Inquiry-based Biomedical Research for Undergraduate and Advanced High School Students
 
City of Hope's Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy gives curious and hardworking students the opportunity to learn about science by actually doing it. Unlike traditional high school or college classes where the course of study is entirely determined by the instructor, City of Hope’s summer program students select their own research project according to their individual areas of interest. Selected participants then spend 10 weeks working full-time as a member of a biomedical research team.
 
Our world-renowned physicians and scientists serve as mentors who guide students in their research, while helping them develop their critical thinking skills. Weekly seminars allow students to present research findings to their peers, a good primer for what graduate and postdoctoral students do. There are workshops covering topics such as creating posters for research talks, biomedical ethics and other important subjects. Students interact with their peers and their research mentors on a continual basis, fostering valuable relationships for the future. Summer program participants also receive a stipend of $4,000 for their work.
 
Students who join our exciting summer program are often surprised at what they discover through the experience.  Many of our students have their names included on published research papers, and some have even patented and sold inventions developed with their mentors.
 
The program was established in 1975 by City of Hope’s director emeritus of neurobiology, Eugene Roberts, Ph.D.  Our chief medical officer, Alexandra Levine, M.D., is a Summer Student Program alumna, as are many prominent scientists in academia and industry.

Program Overview

The primary goal of the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope is to provide young people (high school and university students) with an opportunity for a "hands-on" research experience. This program seeks to find students possessing exceptional potential to perform biomedical research.
 
Summer students design and work on their own research projects in areas of their specific interests. City of Hope faculty members act as mentors who provide valuable guidance and support while simultaneously encouraging independent thought and exploration. Summer students work closely with post-doctorates, graduate students, and lab personnel of the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences. Program participants also communicate their research findings to their peers and instructors in a weekly student seminar series. We also mentor scientific writing by having students produce a written report at the end of their project. An important objective of the program is to develop vital oral and written communication skills, which are so important in the world of seminars, colloquia, manuscript publication and grant writing that is critical to graduate student and postgraduate life.
 
Program Meetings and Seminars

Along with attending their laboratory weekly meeting, students attend the program weekly meetings and seminars.  Faculty speakers educate students on various scientific topics such as neural stem cells, plant signaling pathways, and DNA repair as well as career-focused discussions regarding future directions as scientists and doctors. Some students give an oral presentation on their research project focusing on the objectives and significance of their project, methods, results, conclusions, and projections for future directions of the project. Student presenters describe their research in an organized presentation and the students attending the meeting are further educated on the various research topics conducted at City of Hope.
 
Poster Session (view photos)

The Roberts Summer Academy hosts an annual Poster Session to provide the students with the opportunity to display their research project. This year, 90 students presented a poster highlighting their experimental accomplishments.  The poster session further facilitates the students’ learning and networking skills as they discuss their research results with various faculty members, medical doctors, lab members, and the surrounding community.  Through this experience, students realize the contribution they are making to the growing knowledge of science through research.   Reflecting on the poster session, one student wrote, “Knowing I had something tangible to work towards was not only motivating, but enhanced my sense of personal accomplishment.”
 
Southern California Conference For Undergraduate Research

Every year, we encourage Summer Student Academy alumni to present at the annual Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR).  This allows their research to reach a broader audience, and provides another opportunity for students to practice communicating their findings to an audience. These students join others in presenting research in the disciplines of science, social science and engineering, and humanities.  From Summer 2014 three students presented their Academy research; 3 poster presentations.
 
Social Activities (view photos)

In order to foster a community atmosphere amongst the Summer Academy Students, a number of social activities were offered including the following:
  • Summer Student BBQ Petribowl: This social activity was a tournament-style event, consisting of team competitions. Students carried a stack of petri dishes to the finish line, balanced a beaker of water on their heads, or tossed the most pipette tips into a bucket. Winning teams were awarded prizes and bragging rights.
  • Movie Night: Students got together to watch a couple of movies and feast on candy, popcorn, and chips.
  • Summer Academy Banquet: Students hosted a semi-formal dinner complete with games, prizes, karaoke.
     

Ruth and Eugene Roberts

The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy has been an integral part of the City of Hope for 52 years. In 1960, the first two students enrolled. Today, approximately 1500 students have participated. The program was established by City of Hope’s Distinguished Professor of Neurobiochemistry, and member of the National Academy of Sciences, Eugene Roberts, Ph.D.
 
Since 1977, the program director has been Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurosciences.
 
Roberts, upon completion of his doctoral work at the University of Michigan in 1943 was recruited as the Assistant Head of the Manhattan Project’s inhalation section at the University of Rochester. The group to which he belonged set the legal safe limits for human exposure to uranium dusts.
 
In 1946, he joined the division of cancer research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. There he organized a group to study the nitrogen metabolism of normal and neoplastic tissues. The major conclusion of the studies was the generalization that ‘no matter how or from which tissue tumors arise, they more nearly resemble each other biochemically  than do normal tissues or than normal tissues resemble each other”. The importance of the amino acid glutamine stood out.  Roberts’ research also led to the discovery of the presence of large amounts of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in brain and spinal cord and played a key role in establishing it to be the major inhibitory neurotransmitter.
 
In 1954, Roberts came to the City of Hope to organize a research program. As a summer investigator for six years at the Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Maine, he was inspired by the summer student program that provided talented high school students with research opportunities. Among them were Howard Temin and David Baltimore, both of whom became Nobel Laureates. That program became a model for the City of Hope Summer Student Academy.
 
Currently Roberts’ research is focused on identifying major inhibitory command-control mechanisms at levels of membranes, genome, brain, and society.   
 
Eugene has been supported by his wife, Ruth, with laboratory research, administrative tasks and the summer academy for many years. Together they embody the ethos that scientific research is not a job but a passion, a way of life. The Roberts are still actively engaged with the Roberts Summer Student Academy, offering every student the opportunity to meet with them.
 

How to Apply

The application process will open in mid-January 2015 and will close mid-March 2015 for the 2015 Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy.
 
The deadline for the online application and supplemental materials will be Mid-March. 
 
The application for Summer 2015 is now open & will close at midnight on Thursday March 12th.
 

Application Requirements
  • Applicants must be at least 16 years-old before their internship begins
  • Applicants must be high school or undergraduate students
  • Applicants must be US citizens, or permanent residents
  • Applicants must complete the online application by mid- March 
  • Most students submit additional materials, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and resumes, but these are not required
     
Those minority student applicants interested in applying for our 12 week CURE program should fill out the online Summer Student application and check “CURE Program applicant” to indicate your desire to be considered for the CURE program as well.
 
Those Californian high school applicants interested in applying for our 10 week CIRM Creativity program should fill out the online Summer Student application and check “interested in stem cells” to indicate your desire to be considered for the CIRM Creativity program as well.
 
Selection Process
 
Our Academy has a two-stage selection process. In stage one, a committee reviews and scores all online applications to determine the students displaying the most potential. These students will advance to stage two. Students who did not advance will receive an email notifying them that they have not been chosen for this summer.  On average, 130 applicants advance to stage two and receive an email notifying them to contact faculty members and/or faculty members will directly contact the students to discuss potential research projects.  Once a mutual agreement is made between the student and faculty member, the student will receive a confirmation from the Summer Student Academy to announce their acceptance.  Positions are filled on a first-come, first-served basis until we have reached the total number of students we can support.  The Academy accepted 68 students last year out of 1250 applicants.  Once the total number of students is selected, the remaining students will be notified that they have not been chosen to participate this summer.
 
 

National Cancer Institute CURE Program

As an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, City of Hope is proud to be part of the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE) Program, which is designed to engage the scientific curiosity of promising young high school and undergraduate students from underrepresented populations who are interested in cancer research as a career. Students participating in the CURE program receive a $4,800 stipend.
 
Underrepresented populations include African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Pacific Islander.  CURE students work side by side with City of Hope scientists on current, challenging research projects. The CURE Program lasts 12 weeks.
 
Apply for the 2014 CURE Program
 
To apply for the CURE program, fill out the online Summer Student application and check “CURE Program applicant” to indicate your desire to be considered for the CURE program as well.
 

Christian Avalos, a senior at University of California, Riverside majoring in bioengineering was mentored by Dr. Peter Lee in the Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology.  His research concerned immune signaling defects in cancer.
 
Victor Bell, a senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills majoring in biochemistry was mentored by Dr. Ching-Cheng Chen in the Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.
 
Brittany Clarke, a rising junior at San Dimas High School was mentored by Dr. Kimlin Ashing in Ccare.  Her research involved exploring survivorship outcomes.
 
Alexander Montes, a rising junior at Pasadena City College majoring in biochemistry was mentored by Dr. Jinha Park in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology.  His project involved the characterization of Her-2 targeted murine antibodies, 8H11 and 10H8, in ovarian cancer cell lines.
 
Nathaly Perez, a rising junior at International Polytechnic High School was mentored by Dr. Kimlin Ashing in Ccare.  Her project concerned the Eat, Move, Live program conducted here at the City of Hope. 
 
Terra Sztain, a rising junior at Pasadena City College majoring in biochemistry was mentored by Dr. Dan Raz from the Department of Thoracic Surgery.
 
Alonso Tapia, a rising junior at Baylor University majoring in biochemistry was mentored by Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel from the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics.  His project concerned hereditary cancer among Latinos.
 
Silvia Trevino, a rising sophomore at Cornell University majoring in biological sciences was mentored by Dr. Jae Kim in the Department of Thoracic Surgery.  Her project involved the Triptolide affect on Mesothelioma.
 
Elizabeth Tsui, a rising sophomore at Duke University was mentored by Dr. Karen Reckamp in the Department of Medical Oncology.  Her project focused on understanding resistance to targeted therapy in lung cancer.
 
 

CIRM Creativity Awards Program

The City of Hope is proud to be part of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Creativity Awards program.  The CIRM Creativity Awards support summer internship programs that introduce high school students to stem cell science and developmental biology research, expose them to cutting edge medical research, foster their creativity and promote stem cell education and awareness amongst them.

The Creativity Awards program is also intended to educate and broaden the participation in stem cell research by young individuals representing the diversity of California’s population, including those hindered by economic constraints. In order to foster creative thinking and approaches, the program will encourage participation by students who have a strong interest in both science and in a second creative discipline.  We encourage students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in this program.
 
In 2014 the CIRM Creativity Program at the City of Hope included:

  •  Lectures focusing on potential disease treatments using stem cells including HIV and Leukemia.
  • Three field trips for the students around los Angeles (photos): (1) Universal Studios Backlot learning about the science in movie effects, (2) the BODIES exhibit to learn about the plastination process and human physiology and (3) California Science Center.
  • Workshops on professionalism, ettiquette, public speaking and drug marketing.
  • A trip to the annual CIRM Creativity Awards Poster Day in San Francisco (photos).
  • A music parody song and video to “Let it Grow” from the Disney movie Frozen (Click here)
 

Apply for the 2015 CIRM Creativity Program

To apply for the CIRM Creativity program, you must be a Californian high school student. Fill out the online Summer Student application and check “Stem Cell Research” to indicate your desire to be considered for the CIRM Creativity program as well.
 
2014 CIRM Creativity Students

Jake Davis, a sophomore at Agoura High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Robert Hickey  in the department of Radiation Biology.  His project focused on differential proteome expression of normal stem cells and glioma stem cells.
 
Kian Etedali, a junior at Sage Hill School in Newport Beach, California, was mentored by Dr. Hsun Teresa Ku in the department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research.  His research was on the enrichment and characterization of adult murine pancreatic stem cells.
 
Connor Lewis, a sophomore at Academy of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, was mentored by Dr. Yanhong Shi in the department of Neurosciences.  His research focused on creating a cellular model for Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Grace Lo, a junior at Immanuel Academy in California, was mentored by Dr. Paul Salvaterra in the department of Neurosciences.  Her project was on a Drosophila model of Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Kathleen Miao, a junior at Arcadia High School, California, was mentored by Dr. DeFu Zeng in the department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research.  Her research was on the induction of mixed chimerism for the cure of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE).
 
Aileen Wang, a juinior at Aliso Niguel High School, California, was mentored Dr. Karen Aboody in the department of Neurosciences.  Her project concerned the using stem cells and nanoparticles to improve brain cancer treatment.
 
Tiankun Kevin Wang, a sophomore at Troy High School in Fullerton, California, was mentored by Dr. Ravi Bhatia in the Department of Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.  His research concerned ribosomal protein deficiencies in Hematopoietic stem cells and the development of blood cancers.  He also represented the program at the CIRM annual Creativity Awards poster day by giving an oral presentation.
 
Catherine Xu, a senior at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, California, was mentored by Dr. Karen Aboody in the department of Neurosciences.  Her research project focused on neural stem cells and resistance to oxidative stress.  She is now a freshman at Stanford University.
 
In 2013 the CIRM Creativity Program at the City of Hope included:
 
  •  Lectures focusing on potential disease treatments using stem cells.
  • Art Lectures on higher mathematics and how science can conserve artifacts and important historical structures.
  • Three field trips for the students around Los Angeles: (1) The Getty Conservation Institute and Museum, (2) Natural History Museum (photos) and (3) The Institute For Figuring (photos).
  • Workshops on making crochet coral reefs, public speaking and drug marketing.
  • A trip to the annual CIRM Creativity Awards Poster Day in San Francisco.
  • A music parody song and video to “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus (Click here)
 
2013 CIRM Creativity Students

Alexander Cheng, a junior at Diamond Bar High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Hsun Teresa Ku in the department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research.  His project focused on whether stem cells from the adult pancreas can proliferate and differentiate into endocrine colonies In Vitro.
 
Christina Ren, a junior at Monte Vista High School in Danville, California, was mentored by Dr. Ching-Cheng Chen in the division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.  Her research was on Leukemia stem cell to stroma interaction: the role of leukemia-derived exosome on osteogenic differentiation.
 
Margaret Shen, a senior at Mission San Jose High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Ren-Jang Lin in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Her research focused on characterizing the effects of ZRS2 mutants in Myelodysplastic Disorders.  She is now a freshman at Stanford University.
 
Michelle Tran, a junior at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California, was mentored by Dr. Mike Chang in the department of Information Sciences.  Her project was determining factors influencing neural stem cells’ targeting of tumor sites using machine learning.
 
Jessica Wang, a junior at Walnut High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Huiqing Wu in the department of Pathology.  Her research was on the extraction of genomic DNA from frozen patient specimens for the study of transposable elements in human cancer, leukemia and stem cells.
 
Steven Wang, a sophomore at The Harker School in San Jose, California, was mentored by Dr. Peter Lee in the department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology.  His project concerned the systematic analysis of synergistic drug pairs to uncover the significant role of stem cell related genes in breast cancer.
 
Vanessa Yu, a junior at Arcadia High School, California, was mentored by Dr. David Ann in the department of Molecular Pharmacology.  Her research concerned tumor initiating cells in K-RasG12V mutation induced tumorigenesis in salivary glands.
 
Ted Zhu, a sophomore at Walnut High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Ren-Jang Lin in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  His research project was designing a CRISPR/Cas9 system to study the role of the ZRS2 in Myelodysplastic Disorders.
 
In 2012 the CIRM Creativity Program at the City of Hope included:
 
  • Lectures focusing on therapeutic implementation of stem cells, and ethics of stem cell research.
  • Lectures on the “Art in Science”.
  • Three field trips for the students to expose them to Los Angeles resources: (a) Natural History Museum, (b) Griffith Observatory and (c) Owl Biomedical (a local biotechnology company).
  • Workshops on drug marketing and enhancing your creativity.
  • A trip to the annual CIRM Creativity Awards Poster Day at Stanford.
  • A music parody song and video to “Broken Hearted” by Karmin (click here)
  • A flashmob in the City of Hope library (click here)
 
2012 CIRM Creativity Students
 
Adam He, a junior at Shanghai Community International School, China was mentored by Dr. Karen Aboody in the department of Neurosciences.  His research project was working with a fibrin matrix for delivering therapeutic stem cells.  He also represented the program at the CIRM annual Creativity Awards poster day by giving an oral presentation.
 
Jessica Hsueh, a senior at Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel, California, was mentored by Dr. Ravi Bhatia in the Department of Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.  Her research involved investigating the effects of inhibitors on the JAK2 Gene in leukemia stem cell lines.  She is now a freshman at UCLA.
 
Riana Lo Bu, a senior at Flintridge Prepatory in La Caňada Flintridge, California, was mentored by Dr. Yanhong Shi in the department of Neurosciences.  Her project focused on characterizing Oct-4 activating small molecule compounds in reprogramming mouse fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells.  She is now a freshman at MIT.
 
Jennifer Ly, a senior at Oxford Academy in Cypress, California, was mentored by Dr. Yanhong Shi in the department of Neurosciences.  Her research was studying how miR-9 regulates glioblastoma stem cell proliferation and self-renewal.  She is now a freshman at UCLA.
 
Jackie Olive, a junior at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, California, was mentored by Dr. John Rossi in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Her project was divided into two sections.  The first was studying MicroRNAs delivered by polyamidoamine dendrimers.  The second part (using methodology from the first) was how to moderate cardiac differentiation in mouse embryonic stem cells.  Jackie sang on the music parody.
 
Juhee Shah, a junior at Gretchen A. Witney High School in Cerritos, California, was mentored by Dr. Ivan Toderov in the Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  Her research involved searching for cell surface markers to identify progenitor/stem cells in the human pancreas.  Juhee participated in the flashmob and is one of the three original dancers.
 
Yujiao Sun, a junior at Arcadia High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Ren-Jang Lin in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Her project involved using site-specific-nuclease to introduce spliceosomal mutations in stem cells to study myelodysplastic syndromes. 
 
Emily Sun, a sophomore at Arcadia High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Robert Hickey in the Department of Radiation Biology.  Her research involved the proteomic analysis of glioblastoma stem cells.
 

Academy Alumni

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chris Cho

Years at the Academy: 2007 and 2008
Mentor: Dr. John J. Rossi
Research area: Anti-HIV therapeutics using the RNA interference cellular pathway
School while in the Academy: Yale University, B.S./M.S. in Biology, Class of 2012
Current education: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, M.D./Ph.D. program, 1st year


 
 

Adam He

Years at the Academy: 2012 and 2013
Mentor: Dr. Karen Aboody
Research area: Hydrogel-based delivery systems for therapeutic neural stem cells
School while in the Academy: Shanghai Community International School, China
Current education: Freshman at Pomona College
 
 
 

Vaishnavi Balendiran

Years at the Academy: 2011
Mentor: Dr. Marcia Miller
Research area: Identify polymorphisms between MHC haplotypes in chicken and understand the effects of these polymorphisms on binding groove and CD8 interactions, as well as on the function of the YF1 MHC molecule.
School while in the Academy: Arcadia High School, Arcadia, CA.
Current education: Undergraduate portion of six-year accelerated combined B.S./M.D.  program at NEOMED (Northeast Ohio Medical University) – Undergraduate Education is currently being completed at Youngstown State University, Ohio.
 
 


 
 

Past Student Experiences

Our students have made real and lasting contributions to help advance biomedical knowledge. Some summer students become co-authors on papers, not only giving them the thrill of seeing their name in print, but giving them a great addition to their CV for future educational and career pursuits. Several of our high school students have submitted their projects to the Westinghouse Science Talent Search and have won scholarships. In 2012, a CURE student won a travel award to present his summer research project at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. Sometimes the work even translates into valuable intellectual property such as inventions.
 
Student Publications
 
Elaine Tran, summer student in 2013, 2014 and Jose Ortiz, summer student in 2012, 2013.
Human Cytomegalovirus Vaccine Based on the Envelope gH/gL Pentamer Complex. Wussow F, Chiuppesi F, Martinez J, Flechsig C, Campo J, Newell M, Tran E, Ortiz J, La Rosa C, Longmate J, Barry PA, Diamond DJ. PlosPathogens, DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004524.

Shannon Owens, summer student in 2012, 2013.
Alleles of the homologous recombination gene, RAD59, identify multiple responses to disrupted DNA replication in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Liddell, L. C., Manthey, G. M., Owens, S. N., Fu, B. X. H., and A. M. Bailis. BMC Microbiol. 2013; 13:229 PMID:24125552

Andrea Wong, summer student in 2012, 2013.
Systemic Delivery of Salmonella Typhimurium Transformed with IDO shRNA Enhances Intratumoral Vector Colonization and Suppresses Tumor Growth. Blache CA, Manuel ER, Kaltcheva TI, Wong AN, Ellenhorn JDI, Blazar BR, and Diamond DJ. 2012; 72:6447-6456. PMC3525777
 
Kathleen Siswanto, summer student in 2012
MHC-mismatched chimerism is required for induction of transplantation tolerance in autoimmune nonobese diabetic recipients.   Wang, M, Racine, J, Zhang, M, Wu, T, Deng, R, Johnston, H, Shen, C, Siswanto, K, Zeng, D. J Immunol. 2014;193(4):2005-15
 
Becky Fu, summer student in 2011.
Alleles of the homologous recombination gene, RAD59, identify multiple responses to disrupted DNA replication in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Liddell, L. C., Manthey, G. M., Owens, S. N., Fu, B. X. H., and A. M. Bailis. BMC Microbiol. BMC Microbiol. 2013; 13:229 PMID:24125552

Rad59 regulates association of Rad52 with DNA double-strand breaks. Microbiology Open 1: 285-297.  Pannunzio, N. R., Manthey, G. M., Liddell, L. C., Fu, B. X. H., Roberts, C. M., and A. M. Bailis.

Lillian Mecum, summer student in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Prevalence of hepatitis B and C in patients with meningiomas and glioblastoma multiforme.
Cabanne MB, Quang DM, Mecum L, Jandial R, Siddiqi J, Chen MY. Oncol Lett Mar 2013; 5(3): 783-786.
 
Fei Cai , summer student in 2011.
Coordinate to guard: crosstalk of phosphorylation, sumoylation, and ubiquitylation in DNA damage response.
Kuo CY, Shieh C, Cai F, Ann DK. Frontiers in Oncology. 2011;1:61. Epub 2012 Jan 19.
 
Tiffany Loh, summer student in 2011.
Sequential Posttranslational Modifications Program FEN1 Degradation during Cell-Cycle Progression.
Guo Z, Kanjanapangka J, Liu N, Liu S, Liu C, Wu Z, Wang Y, Loh T, Kowolik C, Jamsen J, Zhou M, Truong K, Chen Y, Zheng L, Shen B. Molecular Cell 10;47(3):444-56. Epub 2012 Jun 30.
 
Christine Shen, summer student in 2010 and 2011.
Mixed chimerism and growth factors augment β cell regeneration and reverse late-stage type 1 diabetes.
Wang M, Racine JJ, Song X, Li X, Nair I, Liu H, Avakian-Mansoorian A, Johnston HF, Liu C, Shen C, Atkinson M, Todorov I, Kandeel F, Forman S, Wilson B, Zeng D. Science Translational Medicine. 2012 May 9;4(133):133ra59.
 
Chantal Du, summer student in 2011 and 2012.
Loss of B7-H1 expression by recipient parenchymal cells leads to expansion of infiltrating donor CD8+ T cells and persistence of graft-versus-host disease.
Li X, Deng R, He W, Liu C, Wang M, Young J, Meng Z, Du C, Huang W, Chen L, Chen Y, Martin P, Forman S, Zeng D. The Journal of Immunology. 2012 Jan 15;188(2):724-34. Epub 2011 Dec 12.
 
Allen Wang, summer student in 2011.
miR-137 forms a regulatory loop with nuclear receptor TLX and LSD1 in neural stem cells.
Sun G, Ye P, Murai K, Lang MF, Li S, Zhang H, Li W, Fu C, Yin J, Wang A, Ma X, Shi Y.
Nat Commun. 2011 Nov 8;2:529.

 

 

Paul Salvaterra Scholar

The named award, the Paul Salvaterra Scholar, was given to the student who wrote the best essay about a scientist that they most admire.
 
The 2014 winning essay:

By Allison Sheu, Rising Senior at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco

Science is a way to view the world and strive to improve it. Scientists have a unique and powerful position in society: through their work and life stories they can bring both intellectual and social progress. Biologist Rachel Carson inspires me because she combated her dismissive and self-centered society with the pursuit and application of knowledge to spur change. Her work, especially her book Silent Spring, encouraged social movements for environmental conservation and future female scientists.

Rachel Carson refused to be confined by “eithers” and “ors.” She used not just one aspect of her abilities, her aptitude for biology, but also her skill in writing to urge the people of the world to become aware of their effect on the environment. During a time when America was consumed with thoughts of high-tech war technologies, she portrayed science as less of an esoteric quest but rather an immediate and intimate force present in all aspects of life. Up to this point, few Americans really thought about their effect on the environment and nature. Her achievement of shifting focus away from the self to the outside world in her self-centered society encouraged me to view science as less of a compartmentalized subject. She taught me that science should not be separated from other aspects of life, but rather combined with other aspects of learning and culture to achieve full potential.

Though Rachel Carson lived from 1907-1954, our society today retains many of the hallmarks of hers, including selfish greed and selfless courage. In a time when humongous corporations who protested and dismissed the claims of conservationists held tremendous power, especially those of a woman, Rachel Carson chose to speak for the silent earth despite knowing the repercussions. Critics, as many do today, focused on Carson’s appearance and status as a woman, rather than on her arguments, but Carson continued to write and raise awareness for the environment. Today the conservationist movement is much more mainstream, but during Carson’s time few considered it a concern. Carson is so inspiring because she stands as a reminder that those who we consider as heroes today were once considered the subversives and outcasts of yesterday.

Rachel Carson inspires me because she recognized her abilities and chose to stand out and push for change. Society often tries to confine individuals to generalizations or stereotypes, but humans are multidimensional, with limits that can and should be challenged. As an aspiring scientist, I have the potential to bring about change and progress by integrating different aspects of my life and knowledge.

Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy FAQs

How many students apply?

Last year, we had 1,250 applications and we accepted 90 students. Our academy was composed of 59% college undergraduates and 41% high school students.

Who may apply?

City of Hope welcomes high school and college students who meet the following criteria:
 
  • Students must be at least 16 years old.
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Students should have completed high school courses in chemistry and biology.

How do I apply?

Complete and submit an online application, which will be available on January 20, 2015. Additional information such as transcripts, and letters of recommendation, and resumes are advisable but not required. These may be submitted online with your application.
 
*Because we receive hundreds of applications and have limited staff, we kindly request that you refrain from contacting us directly regarding your application status. We regret that we are unable to respond to individual inquiries.

When is the deadline for applying for the 2014 Academy?

All applications and supplemental information will be due on March 12, 2015.

Do the summer students get paid?

Most summer students receive a stipend of $4,000 for completing the 10-week program.

When does the program start and end?

Start dates range from the end of May to the end of June, and the 10 weeks must be completed by the end of July or August, respectively.

How are students selected?

Admission into the Roberts Academy is highly competitive because our program has limited funding and space. In 2014, 90 interns were selected for the Academy out of 1250 applicants.

The application process has two stages.  In stage one, all applications are reviewed by a committee and approximately 150 are selected as potential interns.  In stage two, faculty members looking for an intern may contact these applicants or the applicants may contact faculty members whose research most interests them.  Usually, after an interview-either in person or by phone-the faculty member and the applicant come to a mutual agreement and set a start dates.  Note that only roughly two-thirds of the potential interns will actually find positions in the program.

May I participate part time?

Because research requires dedicated attention, students must attend the program full-time and not interrupt their 10-week commitment by taking other classes or vacations, etc.

What is required of program participants?

Summer students join a laboratory team and participate in experiments related to ongoing lab projects. They read lab notebooks and journal articles, and then discuss questions with lab technicians, postdocs, graduate students or the principal investigator. To enhance the internship experience, each student is also required to give a short talk or present a poster, and to write a paper (approximately three to four pages long) about his or her research.

What information must I supply on the application?

In addition to standard information, such as name and contact information, the application has questions regarding your career goals, relevant coursework and any relevant previous experience you may have (previous experience is not a prerequisite).
 
You are also asked to submit a brief statement describing why you wish to do research, and the area of your research interest.

Do I still have to resend transcripts, letters of recommendation and resumes if I have already submitted them from last summer?

Students who have submitted these materials from last summer do not have to resubmit these items.  All materials mailed from the summer 2014 applications have been retained.  Applicants may choose to send new information if your qualifications and experiences have improved over the past year.

What documentation is required to begin?

  • Some students will need to submit immunization records based on the type of project they participate in; these may include Hepatitis B, TB, Tetanus (or Tdap), Varicella, MMR. Proof of immunization must be received before the student can begin working on campus. No immunizations or tests will be performed at the City of Hope.
  • All students must provide proof of medical insurance.
  • All students must have work authorization and, at the time of hire, be able to present documentation showing their right to work in the U.S.

How are applicants notified about acceptance into the program?

Students who are accepted will be notified by email.

Does City of Hope provide housing?

No. Students are responsible for securing their own housing and transportation.

Contact Us

For additional information about the program and application process, please contact:

 

Program Director
Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D.
Department of Neurosciences
robertsacademy@coh.org

 

Associate Program Director
Kate M. Sleeth, Ph.D.
robertsacademy@coh.org

 

 

Summer Student Academy

Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy

Inquiry-based Biomedical Research for Undergraduate and Advanced High School Students
 
City of Hope's Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy gives curious and hardworking students the opportunity to learn about science by actually doing it. Unlike traditional high school or college classes where the course of study is entirely determined by the instructor, City of Hope’s summer program students select their own research project according to their individual areas of interest. Selected participants then spend 10 weeks working full-time as a member of a biomedical research team.
 
Our world-renowned physicians and scientists serve as mentors who guide students in their research, while helping them develop their critical thinking skills. Weekly seminars allow students to present research findings to their peers, a good primer for what graduate and postdoctoral students do. There are workshops covering topics such as creating posters for research talks, biomedical ethics and other important subjects. Students interact with their peers and their research mentors on a continual basis, fostering valuable relationships for the future. Summer program participants also receive a stipend of $4,000 for their work.
 
Students who join our exciting summer program are often surprised at what they discover through the experience.  Many of our students have their names included on published research papers, and some have even patented and sold inventions developed with their mentors.
 
The program was established in 1975 by City of Hope’s director emeritus of neurobiology, Eugene Roberts, Ph.D.  Our chief medical officer, Alexandra Levine, M.D., is a Summer Student Program alumna, as are many prominent scientists in academia and industry.

Program Overview

Program Overview

The primary goal of the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope is to provide young people (high school and university students) with an opportunity for a "hands-on" research experience. This program seeks to find students possessing exceptional potential to perform biomedical research.
 
Summer students design and work on their own research projects in areas of their specific interests. City of Hope faculty members act as mentors who provide valuable guidance and support while simultaneously encouraging independent thought and exploration. Summer students work closely with post-doctorates, graduate students, and lab personnel of the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences. Program participants also communicate their research findings to their peers and instructors in a weekly student seminar series. We also mentor scientific writing by having students produce a written report at the end of their project. An important objective of the program is to develop vital oral and written communication skills, which are so important in the world of seminars, colloquia, manuscript publication and grant writing that is critical to graduate student and postgraduate life.
 
Program Meetings and Seminars

Along with attending their laboratory weekly meeting, students attend the program weekly meetings and seminars.  Faculty speakers educate students on various scientific topics such as neural stem cells, plant signaling pathways, and DNA repair as well as career-focused discussions regarding future directions as scientists and doctors. Some students give an oral presentation on their research project focusing on the objectives and significance of their project, methods, results, conclusions, and projections for future directions of the project. Student presenters describe their research in an organized presentation and the students attending the meeting are further educated on the various research topics conducted at City of Hope.
 
Poster Session (view photos)

The Roberts Summer Academy hosts an annual Poster Session to provide the students with the opportunity to display their research project. This year, 90 students presented a poster highlighting their experimental accomplishments.  The poster session further facilitates the students’ learning and networking skills as they discuss their research results with various faculty members, medical doctors, lab members, and the surrounding community.  Through this experience, students realize the contribution they are making to the growing knowledge of science through research.   Reflecting on the poster session, one student wrote, “Knowing I had something tangible to work towards was not only motivating, but enhanced my sense of personal accomplishment.”
 
Southern California Conference For Undergraduate Research

Every year, we encourage Summer Student Academy alumni to present at the annual Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR).  This allows their research to reach a broader audience, and provides another opportunity for students to practice communicating their findings to an audience. These students join others in presenting research in the disciplines of science, social science and engineering, and humanities.  From Summer 2014 three students presented their Academy research; 3 poster presentations.
 
Social Activities (view photos)

In order to foster a community atmosphere amongst the Summer Academy Students, a number of social activities were offered including the following:
  • Summer Student BBQ Petribowl: This social activity was a tournament-style event, consisting of team competitions. Students carried a stack of petri dishes to the finish line, balanced a beaker of water on their heads, or tossed the most pipette tips into a bucket. Winning teams were awarded prizes and bragging rights.
  • Movie Night: Students got together to watch a couple of movies and feast on candy, popcorn, and chips.
  • Summer Academy Banquet: Students hosted a semi-formal dinner complete with games, prizes, karaoke.
     

Ruth and Eugene Roberts

Ruth and Eugene Roberts

The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy has been an integral part of the City of Hope for 52 years. In 1960, the first two students enrolled. Today, approximately 1500 students have participated. The program was established by City of Hope’s Distinguished Professor of Neurobiochemistry, and member of the National Academy of Sciences, Eugene Roberts, Ph.D.
 
Since 1977, the program director has been Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurosciences.
 
Roberts, upon completion of his doctoral work at the University of Michigan in 1943 was recruited as the Assistant Head of the Manhattan Project’s inhalation section at the University of Rochester. The group to which he belonged set the legal safe limits for human exposure to uranium dusts.
 
In 1946, he joined the division of cancer research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. There he organized a group to study the nitrogen metabolism of normal and neoplastic tissues. The major conclusion of the studies was the generalization that ‘no matter how or from which tissue tumors arise, they more nearly resemble each other biochemically  than do normal tissues or than normal tissues resemble each other”. The importance of the amino acid glutamine stood out.  Roberts’ research also led to the discovery of the presence of large amounts of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in brain and spinal cord and played a key role in establishing it to be the major inhibitory neurotransmitter.
 
In 1954, Roberts came to the City of Hope to organize a research program. As a summer investigator for six years at the Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Maine, he was inspired by the summer student program that provided talented high school students with research opportunities. Among them were Howard Temin and David Baltimore, both of whom became Nobel Laureates. That program became a model for the City of Hope Summer Student Academy.
 
Currently Roberts’ research is focused on identifying major inhibitory command-control mechanisms at levels of membranes, genome, brain, and society.   
 
Eugene has been supported by his wife, Ruth, with laboratory research, administrative tasks and the summer academy for many years. Together they embody the ethos that scientific research is not a job but a passion, a way of life. The Roberts are still actively engaged with the Roberts Summer Student Academy, offering every student the opportunity to meet with them.
 

How to Apply

How to Apply

The application process will open in mid-January 2015 and will close mid-March 2015 for the 2015 Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy.
 
The deadline for the online application and supplemental materials will be Mid-March. 
 
The application for Summer 2015 is now open & will close at midnight on Thursday March 12th.
 

Application Requirements
  • Applicants must be at least 16 years-old before their internship begins
  • Applicants must be high school or undergraduate students
  • Applicants must be US citizens, or permanent residents
  • Applicants must complete the online application by mid- March 
  • Most students submit additional materials, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and resumes, but these are not required
     
Those minority student applicants interested in applying for our 12 week CURE program should fill out the online Summer Student application and check “CURE Program applicant” to indicate your desire to be considered for the CURE program as well.
 
Those Californian high school applicants interested in applying for our 10 week CIRM Creativity program should fill out the online Summer Student application and check “interested in stem cells” to indicate your desire to be considered for the CIRM Creativity program as well.
 
Selection Process
 
Our Academy has a two-stage selection process. In stage one, a committee reviews and scores all online applications to determine the students displaying the most potential. These students will advance to stage two. Students who did not advance will receive an email notifying them that they have not been chosen for this summer.  On average, 130 applicants advance to stage two and receive an email notifying them to contact faculty members and/or faculty members will directly contact the students to discuss potential research projects.  Once a mutual agreement is made between the student and faculty member, the student will receive a confirmation from the Summer Student Academy to announce their acceptance.  Positions are filled on a first-come, first-served basis until we have reached the total number of students we can support.  The Academy accepted 68 students last year out of 1250 applicants.  Once the total number of students is selected, the remaining students will be notified that they have not been chosen to participate this summer.
 
 

National Cancer Institute CURE Program

National Cancer Institute CURE Program

As an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, City of Hope is proud to be part of the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE) Program, which is designed to engage the scientific curiosity of promising young high school and undergraduate students from underrepresented populations who are interested in cancer research as a career. Students participating in the CURE program receive a $4,800 stipend.
 
Underrepresented populations include African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Pacific Islander.  CURE students work side by side with City of Hope scientists on current, challenging research projects. The CURE Program lasts 12 weeks.
 
Apply for the 2014 CURE Program
 
To apply for the CURE program, fill out the online Summer Student application and check “CURE Program applicant” to indicate your desire to be considered for the CURE program as well.
 

Christian Avalos, a senior at University of California, Riverside majoring in bioengineering was mentored by Dr. Peter Lee in the Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology.  His research concerned immune signaling defects in cancer.
 
Victor Bell, a senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills majoring in biochemistry was mentored by Dr. Ching-Cheng Chen in the Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.
 
Brittany Clarke, a rising junior at San Dimas High School was mentored by Dr. Kimlin Ashing in Ccare.  Her research involved exploring survivorship outcomes.
 
Alexander Montes, a rising junior at Pasadena City College majoring in biochemistry was mentored by Dr. Jinha Park in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology.  His project involved the characterization of Her-2 targeted murine antibodies, 8H11 and 10H8, in ovarian cancer cell lines.
 
Nathaly Perez, a rising junior at International Polytechnic High School was mentored by Dr. Kimlin Ashing in Ccare.  Her project concerned the Eat, Move, Live program conducted here at the City of Hope. 
 
Terra Sztain, a rising junior at Pasadena City College majoring in biochemistry was mentored by Dr. Dan Raz from the Department of Thoracic Surgery.
 
Alonso Tapia, a rising junior at Baylor University majoring in biochemistry was mentored by Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel from the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics.  His project concerned hereditary cancer among Latinos.
 
Silvia Trevino, a rising sophomore at Cornell University majoring in biological sciences was mentored by Dr. Jae Kim in the Department of Thoracic Surgery.  Her project involved the Triptolide affect on Mesothelioma.
 
Elizabeth Tsui, a rising sophomore at Duke University was mentored by Dr. Karen Reckamp in the Department of Medical Oncology.  Her project focused on understanding resistance to targeted therapy in lung cancer.
 
 

CIRM Creativity Awards Program

CIRM Creativity Awards Program

The City of Hope is proud to be part of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Creativity Awards program.  The CIRM Creativity Awards support summer internship programs that introduce high school students to stem cell science and developmental biology research, expose them to cutting edge medical research, foster their creativity and promote stem cell education and awareness amongst them.

The Creativity Awards program is also intended to educate and broaden the participation in stem cell research by young individuals representing the diversity of California’s population, including those hindered by economic constraints. In order to foster creative thinking and approaches, the program will encourage participation by students who have a strong interest in both science and in a second creative discipline.  We encourage students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in this program.
 
In 2014 the CIRM Creativity Program at the City of Hope included:

  •  Lectures focusing on potential disease treatments using stem cells including HIV and Leukemia.
  • Three field trips for the students around los Angeles (photos): (1) Universal Studios Backlot learning about the science in movie effects, (2) the BODIES exhibit to learn about the plastination process and human physiology and (3) California Science Center.
  • Workshops on professionalism, ettiquette, public speaking and drug marketing.
  • A trip to the annual CIRM Creativity Awards Poster Day in San Francisco (photos).
  • A music parody song and video to “Let it Grow” from the Disney movie Frozen (Click here)
 

Apply for the 2015 CIRM Creativity Program

To apply for the CIRM Creativity program, you must be a Californian high school student. Fill out the online Summer Student application and check “Stem Cell Research” to indicate your desire to be considered for the CIRM Creativity program as well.
 
2014 CIRM Creativity Students

Jake Davis, a sophomore at Agoura High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Robert Hickey  in the department of Radiation Biology.  His project focused on differential proteome expression of normal stem cells and glioma stem cells.
 
Kian Etedali, a junior at Sage Hill School in Newport Beach, California, was mentored by Dr. Hsun Teresa Ku in the department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research.  His research was on the enrichment and characterization of adult murine pancreatic stem cells.
 
Connor Lewis, a sophomore at Academy of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, was mentored by Dr. Yanhong Shi in the department of Neurosciences.  His research focused on creating a cellular model for Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Grace Lo, a junior at Immanuel Academy in California, was mentored by Dr. Paul Salvaterra in the department of Neurosciences.  Her project was on a Drosophila model of Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Kathleen Miao, a junior at Arcadia High School, California, was mentored by Dr. DeFu Zeng in the department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research.  Her research was on the induction of mixed chimerism for the cure of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE).
 
Aileen Wang, a juinior at Aliso Niguel High School, California, was mentored Dr. Karen Aboody in the department of Neurosciences.  Her project concerned the using stem cells and nanoparticles to improve brain cancer treatment.
 
Tiankun Kevin Wang, a sophomore at Troy High School in Fullerton, California, was mentored by Dr. Ravi Bhatia in the Department of Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.  His research concerned ribosomal protein deficiencies in Hematopoietic stem cells and the development of blood cancers.  He also represented the program at the CIRM annual Creativity Awards poster day by giving an oral presentation.
 
Catherine Xu, a senior at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, California, was mentored by Dr. Karen Aboody in the department of Neurosciences.  Her research project focused on neural stem cells and resistance to oxidative stress.  She is now a freshman at Stanford University.
 
In 2013 the CIRM Creativity Program at the City of Hope included:
 
  •  Lectures focusing on potential disease treatments using stem cells.
  • Art Lectures on higher mathematics and how science can conserve artifacts and important historical structures.
  • Three field trips for the students around Los Angeles: (1) The Getty Conservation Institute and Museum, (2) Natural History Museum (photos) and (3) The Institute For Figuring (photos).
  • Workshops on making crochet coral reefs, public speaking and drug marketing.
  • A trip to the annual CIRM Creativity Awards Poster Day in San Francisco.
  • A music parody song and video to “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus (Click here)
 
2013 CIRM Creativity Students

Alexander Cheng, a junior at Diamond Bar High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Hsun Teresa Ku in the department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research.  His project focused on whether stem cells from the adult pancreas can proliferate and differentiate into endocrine colonies In Vitro.
 
Christina Ren, a junior at Monte Vista High School in Danville, California, was mentored by Dr. Ching-Cheng Chen in the division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.  Her research was on Leukemia stem cell to stroma interaction: the role of leukemia-derived exosome on osteogenic differentiation.
 
Margaret Shen, a senior at Mission San Jose High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Ren-Jang Lin in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Her research focused on characterizing the effects of ZRS2 mutants in Myelodysplastic Disorders.  She is now a freshman at Stanford University.
 
Michelle Tran, a junior at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California, was mentored by Dr. Mike Chang in the department of Information Sciences.  Her project was determining factors influencing neural stem cells’ targeting of tumor sites using machine learning.
 
Jessica Wang, a junior at Walnut High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Huiqing Wu in the department of Pathology.  Her research was on the extraction of genomic DNA from frozen patient specimens for the study of transposable elements in human cancer, leukemia and stem cells.
 
Steven Wang, a sophomore at The Harker School in San Jose, California, was mentored by Dr. Peter Lee in the department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology.  His project concerned the systematic analysis of synergistic drug pairs to uncover the significant role of stem cell related genes in breast cancer.
 
Vanessa Yu, a junior at Arcadia High School, California, was mentored by Dr. David Ann in the department of Molecular Pharmacology.  Her research concerned tumor initiating cells in K-RasG12V mutation induced tumorigenesis in salivary glands.
 
Ted Zhu, a sophomore at Walnut High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Ren-Jang Lin in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  His research project was designing a CRISPR/Cas9 system to study the role of the ZRS2 in Myelodysplastic Disorders.
 
In 2012 the CIRM Creativity Program at the City of Hope included:
 
  • Lectures focusing on therapeutic implementation of stem cells, and ethics of stem cell research.
  • Lectures on the “Art in Science”.
  • Three field trips for the students to expose them to Los Angeles resources: (a) Natural History Museum, (b) Griffith Observatory and (c) Owl Biomedical (a local biotechnology company).
  • Workshops on drug marketing and enhancing your creativity.
  • A trip to the annual CIRM Creativity Awards Poster Day at Stanford.
  • A music parody song and video to “Broken Hearted” by Karmin (click here)
  • A flashmob in the City of Hope library (click here)
 
2012 CIRM Creativity Students
 
Adam He, a junior at Shanghai Community International School, China was mentored by Dr. Karen Aboody in the department of Neurosciences.  His research project was working with a fibrin matrix for delivering therapeutic stem cells.  He also represented the program at the CIRM annual Creativity Awards poster day by giving an oral presentation.
 
Jessica Hsueh, a senior at Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel, California, was mentored by Dr. Ravi Bhatia in the Department of Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.  Her research involved investigating the effects of inhibitors on the JAK2 Gene in leukemia stem cell lines.  She is now a freshman at UCLA.
 
Riana Lo Bu, a senior at Flintridge Prepatory in La Caňada Flintridge, California, was mentored by Dr. Yanhong Shi in the department of Neurosciences.  Her project focused on characterizing Oct-4 activating small molecule compounds in reprogramming mouse fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells.  She is now a freshman at MIT.
 
Jennifer Ly, a senior at Oxford Academy in Cypress, California, was mentored by Dr. Yanhong Shi in the department of Neurosciences.  Her research was studying how miR-9 regulates glioblastoma stem cell proliferation and self-renewal.  She is now a freshman at UCLA.
 
Jackie Olive, a junior at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, California, was mentored by Dr. John Rossi in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Her project was divided into two sections.  The first was studying MicroRNAs delivered by polyamidoamine dendrimers.  The second part (using methodology from the first) was how to moderate cardiac differentiation in mouse embryonic stem cells.  Jackie sang on the music parody.
 
Juhee Shah, a junior at Gretchen A. Witney High School in Cerritos, California, was mentored by Dr. Ivan Toderov in the Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  Her research involved searching for cell surface markers to identify progenitor/stem cells in the human pancreas.  Juhee participated in the flashmob and is one of the three original dancers.
 
Yujiao Sun, a junior at Arcadia High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Ren-Jang Lin in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Her project involved using site-specific-nuclease to introduce spliceosomal mutations in stem cells to study myelodysplastic syndromes. 
 
Emily Sun, a sophomore at Arcadia High School, California, was mentored by Dr. Robert Hickey in the Department of Radiation Biology.  Her research involved the proteomic analysis of glioblastoma stem cells.
 

Academy Alumni

Academy Alumni

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chris Cho

Years at the Academy: 2007 and 2008
Mentor: Dr. John J. Rossi
Research area: Anti-HIV therapeutics using the RNA interference cellular pathway
School while in the Academy: Yale University, B.S./M.S. in Biology, Class of 2012
Current education: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, M.D./Ph.D. program, 1st year


 
 

Adam He

Years at the Academy: 2012 and 2013
Mentor: Dr. Karen Aboody
Research area: Hydrogel-based delivery systems for therapeutic neural stem cells
School while in the Academy: Shanghai Community International School, China
Current education: Freshman at Pomona College
 
 
 

Vaishnavi Balendiran

Years at the Academy: 2011
Mentor: Dr. Marcia Miller
Research area: Identify polymorphisms between MHC haplotypes in chicken and understand the effects of these polymorphisms on binding groove and CD8 interactions, as well as on the function of the YF1 MHC molecule.
School while in the Academy: Arcadia High School, Arcadia, CA.
Current education: Undergraduate portion of six-year accelerated combined B.S./M.D.  program at NEOMED (Northeast Ohio Medical University) – Undergraduate Education is currently being completed at Youngstown State University, Ohio.
 
 


 
 

Past Student Experiences

Past Student Experiences

Our students have made real and lasting contributions to help advance biomedical knowledge. Some summer students become co-authors on papers, not only giving them the thrill of seeing their name in print, but giving them a great addition to their CV for future educational and career pursuits. Several of our high school students have submitted their projects to the Westinghouse Science Talent Search and have won scholarships. In 2012, a CURE student won a travel award to present his summer research project at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. Sometimes the work even translates into valuable intellectual property such as inventions.
 
Student Publications
 
Elaine Tran, summer student in 2013, 2014 and Jose Ortiz, summer student in 2012, 2013.
Human Cytomegalovirus Vaccine Based on the Envelope gH/gL Pentamer Complex. Wussow F, Chiuppesi F, Martinez J, Flechsig C, Campo J, Newell M, Tran E, Ortiz J, La Rosa C, Longmate J, Barry PA, Diamond DJ. PlosPathogens, DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004524.

Shannon Owens, summer student in 2012, 2013.
Alleles of the homologous recombination gene, RAD59, identify multiple responses to disrupted DNA replication in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Liddell, L. C., Manthey, G. M., Owens, S. N., Fu, B. X. H., and A. M. Bailis. BMC Microbiol. 2013; 13:229 PMID:24125552

Andrea Wong, summer student in 2012, 2013.
Systemic Delivery of Salmonella Typhimurium Transformed with IDO shRNA Enhances Intratumoral Vector Colonization and Suppresses Tumor Growth. Blache CA, Manuel ER, Kaltcheva TI, Wong AN, Ellenhorn JDI, Blazar BR, and Diamond DJ. 2012; 72:6447-6456. PMC3525777
 
Kathleen Siswanto, summer student in 2012
MHC-mismatched chimerism is required for induction of transplantation tolerance in autoimmune nonobese diabetic recipients.   Wang, M, Racine, J, Zhang, M, Wu, T, Deng, R, Johnston, H, Shen, C, Siswanto, K, Zeng, D. J Immunol. 2014;193(4):2005-15
 
Becky Fu, summer student in 2011.
Alleles of the homologous recombination gene, RAD59, identify multiple responses to disrupted DNA replication in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Liddell, L. C., Manthey, G. M., Owens, S. N., Fu, B. X. H., and A. M. Bailis. BMC Microbiol. BMC Microbiol. 2013; 13:229 PMID:24125552

Rad59 regulates association of Rad52 with DNA double-strand breaks. Microbiology Open 1: 285-297.  Pannunzio, N. R., Manthey, G. M., Liddell, L. C., Fu, B. X. H., Roberts, C. M., and A. M. Bailis.

Lillian Mecum, summer student in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Prevalence of hepatitis B and C in patients with meningiomas and glioblastoma multiforme.
Cabanne MB, Quang DM, Mecum L, Jandial R, Siddiqi J, Chen MY. Oncol Lett Mar 2013; 5(3): 783-786.
 
Fei Cai , summer student in 2011.
Coordinate to guard: crosstalk of phosphorylation, sumoylation, and ubiquitylation in DNA damage response.
Kuo CY, Shieh C, Cai F, Ann DK. Frontiers in Oncology. 2011;1:61. Epub 2012 Jan 19.
 
Tiffany Loh, summer student in 2011.
Sequential Posttranslational Modifications Program FEN1 Degradation during Cell-Cycle Progression.
Guo Z, Kanjanapangka J, Liu N, Liu S, Liu C, Wu Z, Wang Y, Loh T, Kowolik C, Jamsen J, Zhou M, Truong K, Chen Y, Zheng L, Shen B. Molecular Cell 10;47(3):444-56. Epub 2012 Jun 30.
 
Christine Shen, summer student in 2010 and 2011.
Mixed chimerism and growth factors augment β cell regeneration and reverse late-stage type 1 diabetes.
Wang M, Racine JJ, Song X, Li X, Nair I, Liu H, Avakian-Mansoorian A, Johnston HF, Liu C, Shen C, Atkinson M, Todorov I, Kandeel F, Forman S, Wilson B, Zeng D. Science Translational Medicine. 2012 May 9;4(133):133ra59.
 
Chantal Du, summer student in 2011 and 2012.
Loss of B7-H1 expression by recipient parenchymal cells leads to expansion of infiltrating donor CD8+ T cells and persistence of graft-versus-host disease.
Li X, Deng R, He W, Liu C, Wang M, Young J, Meng Z, Du C, Huang W, Chen L, Chen Y, Martin P, Forman S, Zeng D. The Journal of Immunology. 2012 Jan 15;188(2):724-34. Epub 2011 Dec 12.
 
Allen Wang, summer student in 2011.
miR-137 forms a regulatory loop with nuclear receptor TLX and LSD1 in neural stem cells.
Sun G, Ye P, Murai K, Lang MF, Li S, Zhang H, Li W, Fu C, Yin J, Wang A, Ma X, Shi Y.
Nat Commun. 2011 Nov 8;2:529.

 

 

Paul Salvaterra Scholar

Paul Salvaterra Scholar

The named award, the Paul Salvaterra Scholar, was given to the student who wrote the best essay about a scientist that they most admire.
 
The 2014 winning essay:

By Allison Sheu, Rising Senior at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco

Science is a way to view the world and strive to improve it. Scientists have a unique and powerful position in society: through their work and life stories they can bring both intellectual and social progress. Biologist Rachel Carson inspires me because she combated her dismissive and self-centered society with the pursuit and application of knowledge to spur change. Her work, especially her book Silent Spring, encouraged social movements for environmental conservation and future female scientists.

Rachel Carson refused to be confined by “eithers” and “ors.” She used not just one aspect of her abilities, her aptitude for biology, but also her skill in writing to urge the people of the world to become aware of their effect on the environment. During a time when America was consumed with thoughts of high-tech war technologies, she portrayed science as less of an esoteric quest but rather an immediate and intimate force present in all aspects of life. Up to this point, few Americans really thought about their effect on the environment and nature. Her achievement of shifting focus away from the self to the outside world in her self-centered society encouraged me to view science as less of a compartmentalized subject. She taught me that science should not be separated from other aspects of life, but rather combined with other aspects of learning and culture to achieve full potential.

Though Rachel Carson lived from 1907-1954, our society today retains many of the hallmarks of hers, including selfish greed and selfless courage. In a time when humongous corporations who protested and dismissed the claims of conservationists held tremendous power, especially those of a woman, Rachel Carson chose to speak for the silent earth despite knowing the repercussions. Critics, as many do today, focused on Carson’s appearance and status as a woman, rather than on her arguments, but Carson continued to write and raise awareness for the environment. Today the conservationist movement is much more mainstream, but during Carson’s time few considered it a concern. Carson is so inspiring because she stands as a reminder that those who we consider as heroes today were once considered the subversives and outcasts of yesterday.

Rachel Carson inspires me because she recognized her abilities and chose to stand out and push for change. Society often tries to confine individuals to generalizations or stereotypes, but humans are multidimensional, with limits that can and should be challenged. As an aspiring scientist, I have the potential to bring about change and progress by integrating different aspects of my life and knowledge.

FAQs

Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy FAQs

How many students apply?

Last year, we had 1,250 applications and we accepted 90 students. Our academy was composed of 59% college undergraduates and 41% high school students.

Who may apply?

City of Hope welcomes high school and college students who meet the following criteria:
 
  • Students must be at least 16 years old.
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Students should have completed high school courses in chemistry and biology.

How do I apply?

Complete and submit an online application, which will be available on January 20, 2015. Additional information such as transcripts, and letters of recommendation, and resumes are advisable but not required. These may be submitted online with your application.
 
*Because we receive hundreds of applications and have limited staff, we kindly request that you refrain from contacting us directly regarding your application status. We regret that we are unable to respond to individual inquiries.

When is the deadline for applying for the 2014 Academy?

All applications and supplemental information will be due on March 12, 2015.

Do the summer students get paid?

Most summer students receive a stipend of $4,000 for completing the 10-week program.

When does the program start and end?

Start dates range from the end of May to the end of June, and the 10 weeks must be completed by the end of July or August, respectively.

How are students selected?

Admission into the Roberts Academy is highly competitive because our program has limited funding and space. In 2014, 90 interns were selected for the Academy out of 1250 applicants.

The application process has two stages.  In stage one, all applications are reviewed by a committee and approximately 150 are selected as potential interns.  In stage two, faculty members looking for an intern may contact these applicants or the applicants may contact faculty members whose research most interests them.  Usually, after an interview-either in person or by phone-the faculty member and the applicant come to a mutual agreement and set a start dates.  Note that only roughly two-thirds of the potential interns will actually find positions in the program.

May I participate part time?

Because research requires dedicated attention, students must attend the program full-time and not interrupt their 10-week commitment by taking other classes or vacations, etc.

What is required of program participants?

Summer students join a laboratory team and participate in experiments related to ongoing lab projects. They read lab notebooks and journal articles, and then discuss questions with lab technicians, postdocs, graduate students or the principal investigator. To enhance the internship experience, each student is also required to give a short talk or present a poster, and to write a paper (approximately three to four pages long) about his or her research.

What information must I supply on the application?

In addition to standard information, such as name and contact information, the application has questions regarding your career goals, relevant coursework and any relevant previous experience you may have (previous experience is not a prerequisite).
 
You are also asked to submit a brief statement describing why you wish to do research, and the area of your research interest.

Do I still have to resend transcripts, letters of recommendation and resumes if I have already submitted them from last summer?

Students who have submitted these materials from last summer do not have to resubmit these items.  All materials mailed from the summer 2014 applications have been retained.  Applicants may choose to send new information if your qualifications and experiences have improved over the past year.

What documentation is required to begin?

  • Some students will need to submit immunization records based on the type of project they participate in; these may include Hepatitis B, TB, Tetanus (or Tdap), Varicella, MMR. Proof of immunization must be received before the student can begin working on campus. No immunizations or tests will be performed at the City of Hope.
  • All students must provide proof of medical insurance.
  • All students must have work authorization and, at the time of hire, be able to present documentation showing their right to work in the U.S.

How are applicants notified about acceptance into the program?

Students who are accepted will be notified by email.

Does City of Hope provide housing?

No. Students are responsible for securing their own housing and transportation.

Contact Us

Contact Us

For additional information about the program and application process, please contact:

 

Program Director
Paul Salvaterra, Ph.D.
Department of Neurosciences
robertsacademy@coh.org

 

Associate Program Director
Kate M. Sleeth, Ph.D.
robertsacademy@coh.org

 

 
Education and Training
As one of only a select few National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country, City of Hope integrates all aspects of cancer research, treatment and education. We offer a range of programs serving students, post-doctoral trainees, health and medical professionals.

City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences equips students with the skills and strategies to transform the future of modern medicine.
City of Hope has a long-standing commitment to Continuing Medical Education (CME), sharing advances in cancer research and treatment with the health-care community through CME courses such as conferences, symposia and other on and off campus CME opportunities for medical professionals.
Local and national conferences, in-depth educational training and a certification program provide both current and aspiring health professionals opportunities to further their knowledge in their fields of interest.
 
 
City of Hope offers a range of programs and services, such as Graduate Medical Education & Clinical Training, that serve students, post-doctoral trainees, medical professionals and staff.
The goal of the Postdoctoral Training Office is to ensure the postdoctoral experience at City of Hope is rewarding and meaningful to all participants.


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