Jerrell Ray Tisnado, a senior at San Diego State University, is one of 44 undergraduate students accepted into the 2013 Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program.
The program provides participants with a challenging summer research experience in a cutting-edge stem cell science laboratory.
Tisnado is spending 10 weeks in the Children’s Hospital Boston laboratory of Harvard Stem Cell Institute Principal Faculty member Richard Gregory, who is known for his research on the role of RNA in gene functioning.
Tisnado’s project is to identify connections between PIWI proteins and transfer RNA in stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency — the ability of a stem cell to divide into many different cell types.
“Since my major is biochemistry, and Dr. Gregory utilizes certain familiar biochemistry techniques in his research, I am learning — from some of the best — new lab skills, all of which will go into my scientist’s tool box,” Tisnado said.
During the course of the program, interns participate in a stem cell seminar series, a career pathways presentation and a weekly stem cell companion course. They present their research findings at a symposium at the end of the program.
“Like many others, my interest in the stem cell field spawns from its massive therapeutic potential," Tisnado said. "Whatever specific area of study I choose, I hope I’m fearless in its pursuit and that ultimately my work will translate from the bench to the bedside.”
“This program represents an exciting opportunity for undergraduates to gain hands-on experience in stem cell research while working in an Harvard Stem Cell Institute laboratory under the supervision of an experienced researcher,” said program director M. William Lensch.