Gearing up for summer internships

| Written by jmoore
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Scientific staff at SBP's Lake Nona campus are excited to welcome this year’s crop of high school interns in June. The highly competitive program—one of very few in Florida to offer such extensive hands-on research—received 48 applications from students for seven coveted slots. The majority of the academically talented, highly motivated students have taken advanced science coursework at area schools including Edgewater, Winter Park, Jones, East River, Trinity Prep, Timber Creek, Dr. Philips, Boone, Seminole and many others.

“We hope to provide transformative experiences—to immerse students in real, modern research using sophisticated techniques,” said Peter Crawford, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Cardiovascular Metabolism Program, who will oversee the internship program this year.

The interns will be involved in cutting-edge projects such as:

  • Analyzing levels of thousands of types of fat molecules to identify possible biomarkers of early Alzheimer’s disease
  • Using chemical profiling and mouse models to understand the metabolic origins of diabetes and heart disease
  • Large-scale production of recombinant proteins using bioreactor systems

In their two to four weeks at SBP, trainees will work one-on-one with staff scientists and postdocs. In addition to lab training, they’ll be exposed to research from across the Institute through weekly seminars and discuss their work in lab meetings.


This involvement in the scientific community helps summer interns gain a lot more than knowledge of how to do experiments. Past intern Christina Lee, now a sophomore at UCLA preparing for medical school, reflected that she acquired “an invaluable perspective on how quickly the scientific community is moving forward.”

“What surprised me most in the lab,” said intern Mitchell Thomas, “is the unwavering motivation researchers have. Though some procedures are very time consuming and may not work the first time, they continue on.”

Appreciating the pace of scientific progress and the rigors of laboratory research will be a great benefit for these students, who plan to pursue life science careers. The 50 SBP Lake Nona internship alumni are now pursuing higher education at such prestigious universities as Duke, Stanford, the University of Florida, and the University of Pennsylvania.

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