Summer program inspires a new generation of scientists

| Written by Monica May
SBP Preuss interns 2019

Usually the opportunity to experience research firsthand is reserved for college seniors or recent graduates. This summer, however, nine talented high school students had the unique opportunity to work alongside scientists conducting cutting-edge biomedical research through the Institute’s Preuss program. 

Hailing from The Preuss School UC San Diego—a distinguished charter school for students who would be the first in their families to graduate from college—the soon-to-be juniors spent two weeks rotating among four labs at Sanford Burnham Prebys. 

Working with fruit flies, worms, zebrafish and mice—excellent models for understanding the heart, aging, tissue regeneration and the immune system, respectively—the students used sophisticated laboratory techniques such as micropipetting, microscopy and gel electrophoresis to experience how biomedical researchers uncover the underlying causes of disease. This was the first time the participants had set foot inside of a real lab. 

At the program’s conclusion, the students presented their research findings to Institute scientists, staff and supporters, including Malin Burnham; the Preuss School’s director of development, Tamika Franklin; and the students’ family members. All attendees were impressed by the students’ grasp of the complex science they learned during the two-week program. 

The Preuss program launched in 2008 thanks to the generous contributions of Peggy and Peter Preuss and Debby and Wain Fishburn. For more than a decade, this summer program has inspired future scientists by introducing high school students to laboratory research. 

Thank you to the labs of Malene Hansen, Ph.D., Rolf Bodmer, Ph.D., Duc Dong, Ph.D., and Linda Bradley, Ph.D., for hosting the program’s participants.