Lab lessons

Lab lessons

Casey Woodward first discovered “the wonder” of the laboratory during a summer research program at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute.

Woodward is one of 70 local high school juniors who have participated in the seven-week program, started by local high school teacher Andrea Allio 10 years ago. In fact, Woodward returned to Winship each summer during her undergraduate years to work with Emory oncologist Mary Jo Lechowicz, her mentor and the program’s current organizer.

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Emory goes to high school

HPV Uncensored

Lab lessons

Fulfilling Work

Building a science pipeline

“My family didn’t have much of a medical background, and getting to work as part of the medical community was really valuable,” says Woodward, currently a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. “It helped me understand how much we know and how much we don’t.”

The program’s faculty consider the students as full members of the lab team. They engage in hands-on research, take field trips to various departments throughout Winship and to patient simulation labs in Emory’s medical school, and become grounded in published articles on cancer biology. Currently, organizers are planning opportunities for high school teachers to share a role in the program.

Brahma Natarajan, now a senior at McIntosh High School in Peachtree City, worked in Winship biochemist Anita Corbett’s lab last summer, studying the yeast cousin of a protein thought to be involved in human breast cancer. Two graduate students in the lab taught her how to run gels, perform Western blots, and create mutations in proteins.

“Now that I have experienced how a lab works, I have gotten excited about continuing research in college,” says Natarajan. “I can’t wait!” —Quinn Eastman

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