Yale Partnership Expands to Include Medical Lab Experience

Friday, August 30, 2019

A partnership with the Yale School of Medicine provided a new summer opportunity for Gateway Community College students to dig deeper into biomedical research and gain hands-on lab experience.

The Yale Summer Enrichment Research Experience (YSERE), a selective pilot program, was developed to offer GCC students the chance to work in a research lab at Yale Medical School.  Students Michael Vargas Vera and Katie Barden took part in the program and recently presented findings from their research during presentations at the medical school’s Anlyan Center.  Posters provided a visual representation of their data and Michael and Katie spoke in depth with small groups who stopped to inquire about their research methods and findings.

An extension of the six-week, Yale Summer Enrichment Medical Academy (YSEMA), which has been running for several years, the YSERE is a free five-week program offered to students interested in research.  The program is the result of a collaboration between Professor Megan deLivron, Ph.D., who teaches biology and biochemistry and coordinates the YSEMA and YSERE program at GCC, and Vanessa Scanlon, Ph.D., an Instructor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.  Due to the success of the program, deLivron and Scanlon hope to offer the lab experience to more students in the future. 

Katie noted that she gathered a wealth of information over the summer and said that such research opportunities previously seemed to be off-limits to community college students, who might not be aware of these opportunities.  She said she would like to start a student group for those with similar interests.  Katie always has been fascinated by science; her grandfather was a scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and she received a small microscope as a childhood gift from him.  

Through the program, Katie worked in the Yale Stem Cell Center using a climate controlled microscope capable of taking pictures at set intervals.  Now that she has completed the program, she will continue volunteering in the lab.  Eventually, she plans to seek employment performing laboratory research. 

Michael, whose project involved looking at markers for kidney function, said that the experience at Yale was helpful and confirmed his interest in medical school.  He plans to pursue a M.D.-Ph.D.  Michael already completed a bachelor’s degree prior to coming to GCC, but decided to return to college to take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy.  He recently enrolled in a post baccalaureate program at Sacred Heart University. 

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