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MC Rockville Ė Biomedical Scholars Participate in Summer Internships

Four Montgomery College Rockville/Takoma Park students are participating in biomedical internships this summer through the Biomedical Scholars Program.

The Montgomery College Biomedical Scholars Program provides academic support to students majoring in the life sciences.  The program starts with the pre-freshman summer program, which will ensure that student math and English skills are strong enough to support biomedical studies.  MC partners with area universities and local biotechnology firms to provide Biomedical Scholars with paid research internship opportunities during the summers following their first and second years.  These positions will offer the exciting and invaluable experience of working in state-of-the-art laboratories where cutting edge research in the life sciences is being conducted.

Stephany Venero is a general studies major interning at Virion Systems Inc. in Rockville.  Virionís research focuses on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza. So far, Stephany has done RNA extraction from animal tissue and splenocyte and lymphocyte assays. She has mastered several important molecular biology techniques such as gel electrophoresis, polymerase-chain reaction (PCR) as well as RNA and DNA extraction. Currently, Stephany is helping with a grant that will compare specific chemokines in respiratory specimens obtained from elderly humans infected with RSV compared to younger persons with RSV infection and uninfected controls.  Initial experiments will be conducted with young and aged cotton rats before work starts with the human samples.

Melody Sun is a pre-pharmacy major also interning at Virion Systems this summer.  Melody was assigned to the Molecular Diagnostic department to analyze gene expression.  She has learned that attention to detail is important to obtain valid results from molecular diagnostic analysis.  Melody looks forward to another opportunity to intern at Virion in the future.



Maria Balarezo is a general biological studies major interning at the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI) in Morgantown, West Virginia.  Maria has done cell culturing of neurons, fibroblasts and neruoblastoma cell lines.  In addition, she has learned Western Blot techniques to analyze Beta Amyloid a protein that that is the main constituent of amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, cytotoxicity assays to measure the amount of death that has occurred in a cell culture, and ELISA assays which are biochemical techniques that help detect Beta Amyloid and other proteins in cell samples.

BRNI is an independent, non-profit institute dedicated to the study of memory and memory disorders.  Its mission is to expand and advance state-of-the-art scientific research of memory and memory disorders for purposes of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment and to promote translation of resulting discoveries to practical medical applications.

Elizabeth Chan is interning at Quality Biological, Inc. in Gaithersburg.  Quality Biological provides products and supplies for the molecular biology laboratory and for the cell biology laboratory.  The company's scientists are currently focusing their research efforts on various aspects of hematopoiesis, the production of all types of blood cells.

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