Research

High School Summer Fellows Participate in Research at MDI Biological Laboratory

Fellowships Offer Opportunity for Real-World Biomedical Research

BAR HARBOR, MAINE — Nine high school students participated in research fellowships at the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, this summer, including eight from high schools in the state of Maine.

“Though we are primarily a research institution, we also have a long and impressive track record in science education,” said Jane E. Disney, Ph.D., the institution’s director of education. “Our summer fellowships expose high school students to career options in the biomedical sciences and help build the pipeline of well-trained workers that is critical to developing a thriving science and technology sector in Maine.”

The research fellowships support high school students who work in the laboratories of resident or visiting scientists on hands-on research projects, with each student being supervised by a senior scientist mentor. The fellowships also provide students with other educational opportunities, including an extensive scientific seminar program, professional development workshops and dedicated residential life programs.

“I’m learning things no one else has learned before, like how a particular gene functions in the regeneration of the zebrafish tailfin, which is knowledge we can use to learn how to regenerate limbs in humans,” said Charlotte Collins of Woolwich, Maine, a high school student at North Yarmouth Academy in Yarmouth, Maine. “It’s very cool that I can be a part of that as a 17-year-old.”

The summer fellowships for Maine students were funded through the James Slater Murphy M.D. Fund, established in the name of James S. Murphy, M.D., a distinguished virologist and a lifelong summer resident of Mount Desert Island, and the Maine Scholars Program Fund, which includes contributions from the Hearst Foundations, a national philanthropic resource that supports outstanding non-profit organizations.

The fellowship for the student from the High School for Math, Science and Engineering at The City College of New York was funded through the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Center for Excellence in Youth Education, New York, N.Y.

Below is a list of the MDI Biological Laboratory 2017 high school summer fellows, along with the sources of funding for their fellowships and the names and affiliations of their scientist mentors.

  • Benjamin Allan-Rahill, Orono, Maine; Orono High School, Orono, Maine; funded through the James Slater Murphy M.D. Fund; mentor: Andrea R. Tilden, J. Warren Merrill Associate Professor of Biology, Colby College, Waterville, Maine
  • Charlotte Collins, Woolwich, Maine; North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth, Maine; funded through the Scott R. MacKenzie Foundation; mentor: Voot P. Yin, Ph.D., assistant professor, MDI Biological Laboratory
  • Sophia DeSchiffart, Cherryfield, Maine; Narraguagus High School, Harrington, Maine; funded through the James Slater Murphy M.D. Fund; mentor: Robert Preston, Ph.D., professor of physiology, Illinois State University, Normal, Ill.
  • Isaiah Jeremie, New York, N.Y.; High School for Math, Science and Engineering at The City College of New York, funded through the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Center for Excellence in Youth Education, New York, N.Y.; mentor: Hermann Haller, M.D., professor and director of the Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Hannover Medical School, Hanover, Germany
  • Noah Lind, Turner, Maine; Leavitt Area High School, Turner, Maine; funded through the James Slater Murphy M.D. Fund; mentor: Aric Rogers, Ph.D., assistant professor at the MDI Biological Laboratory
  • Kyle McGadney, Waterville, Maine; Waterville High School, Waterville, Maine; funded through the Maine Scholars Program Fund; mentor: Jane E. Disney, senior staff scientist, MDI Biological Laboratory
  • Luna Soley, Peaks Island, Maine; Waynflete School, Portland, Maine; funded through the James Slater Murphy M.D. Fund; mentor: Bram Lutton, Ph.D., associate professor, Endicott College, Beverly, Mass.
  • Ceileigh Weaver, Lamoine, Maine; Mount Desert Island High School, Bar Harbor, Maine; funded through the James Slater Murphy M.D. Fund; mentor: Robert Preston, Ph.D., professor of physiology, Illinois State University, Normal, Ill.
  • Bailey West, Stockton Springs, Maine; Searsport District Middle School and High School, Searsport, Maine; funded through the Maine Scholars Program Fund; mentor: Andrea R. Tilden, Ph.D., J. Warren Merrill Associate Professor of Biology, Colby College, Waterville, Maine

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