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CURE program in eighth year of success

This year, 50 students participated in the CURE program – a training opportunity that offers hands-on research experience to high school and college students with the goal of encouraging careers in cancer research. DF/HCC members volunteered as mentors in the program, assigning students to a specific project for the 9-week summer program. In addition to performing research, students also attended scientific seminars and networking events, received professional development counseling, and learned about issues and ethics in the research field.

A. Michael Sismour, PhD, a researcher in the Church Lab at Harvard Medical School, mentored Jessica Williams. Williams, a rising junior at Trinity College, worked with Sismour on a project that examined the optimization of the SELEX technique and DNA aptamer selection.  “The [CURE] program is great,” Sismour says. “The mixture of seminars, journal clubs, and research provide a unique opportunity compared with other summer programs I am familiar with.”

The culmination of student work was a three-day event in late August where students gave scientific presentations on their research projects. This year, in addition to oral presentations, a poster session was added. J. Dirk Iglehart, MD (DFCI) and Levi Garraway, MD, PhD (DFCI) delivered talks on innovations in cancer research and 20 CURE students presented posters on their summer research.

Monique Bowford, a rising sophomore at MIT, spent her summer in the laboratory of Jack Lawler, PhD. “[The CURE program] will honestly change your life and shape your world in ways you could never imagine!” said Bowford. “I learned valuable lessons about myself, my interests, and the biomedical field that I will carry with me in the future.”

CURE will begin its academic year segment in late October. Participating students must commit to a two year track and meet bi-monthly in a journal club setting before returning to full-time research next summer.

“The CURE experience continues to be a gateway for so many of our participants,” said Karen Burns White, Deputy Associate Director of DF/HCC's Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities and Director of the CURE Program. “Our overall goal is to provide a continuous learning experience that leads to a lifetime commitment to the sciences.”

View abstracts from this year’s scientific presentations (PDF)

Find out more about the CURE program.

To mentor in the 2011 summer program, please email Elizabeth Zdunich at ezdunich@partners.org