Students gain unique insight, hands-on experience at Molecular Medicine in Action

March 12, 2015

Fifty juniors and seniors from high schools across Indiana participated March 8 and 9 in the 15th annual Molecular Medicine in Action, a hands-on learning experience hosted by the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research at the IU School of Medicine. The innovative program exposes students interested in science and medicine to high-end biomedical topics and technology.

High school students from across the state gathered Sunday and Monday for the 15th annual Molecular Medicine in Action, hosted by the Wells Center for Pediatric Research. | Photo By Wells Center for Pediatric Research

This year’s program included workstations on cytogenetics, angiogenesis, stem cell transplantation and RNA interference. Afternoon “supermodule” sessions combined topics from the morning sessions, allowing students to delve deeper into research topics.

Prior to their work in the lab, students arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon for a series of lectures and a dinner at the Omni Severin Hotel. The lecture series included “Science Focus 2015,” a new feature of this year’s Molecular Medicine in Action program, which explored the recent Ebola epidemic. Daniel Livorsi, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine in the IU School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases, delivered an initial presentation on the complex issues surrounding Ebola. Eric Meslin, Ph.D., director, IU Center for Bioethics, followed Dr. Livorsi’s presentation with an in-depth ethical discussion entitled “What Can Ebola Tell Us About Ethics?”

“Focusing on a current hot topic in medicine, which this year was Ebola, was very well received by the students in our program,” said Karen Pollok, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and the primary organizer of Molecular Medicine in Action. “After hearing so much about Ebola on the news, the students were eager to learn more about the issue from the experts in our program.”

Students selected to participate in Molecular Medicine in Action are chosen by a volunteer group of high school science teachers. The application includes an essay, teacher recommendations and information about academic achievement, leadership and extracurricular activities.

The event would not be possible without the contributions of faculty members, researchers and investigators from the IU School of Medicine and the IU Simon Cancer Center. Those offering their time and expertise this year included: Mervin Yoder, M.D.; Mark Kelley, Ph.D.; Daniel Livorsi, M.D.; Eric Meslin, Ph.D.; Gail Vance, M.D.; M. Reza Saadatzadeh, Ph.D.; Melissa Fishel, Ph.D.; Yan Liu, Ph.D.; Mary Murray; George Sandusky, D.V.M, Ph.D.; Kent Robertson, M.D., Ph.D.; Mingjiang Xu, Ph.D.; Ryan Anderson, Ph.D.; and Patrick Fueger, Ph.D.