The STAR Program: Summer Trainees in Academic Research is a recent initiative at New York Medical College aimed at enhancing the research experience of the many high school students, undergraduates, medical students and others who conduct mentored scientific investigations in our labs over the summer.
In addition to conducting summer research, STAR trainees have the opportunity to attend a series of lectures on current topics in science, to discuss and critically evaluate the scientific literature during the STAR Journal Club, and to develop the communication skills essential to a career in research through participation in the STAR Research Forum.
The physical resources available to trainees in the Graduate School are excellent. The College’s research laboratories, located in the Basic Sciences Building (BSB) and other adjacent buildings, are equipped with state-of-the-art investigative equipment that provides the capacity for protein sequencing, mass spectometry, gas or liquid (HPLC) chromatography, confocal and intravital microscopy, cell cytometry, in vivo physiological monitoring and other advanced research techniques.
The core of the STAR Program is the mentored research project, which allows the summer research trainees to conduct authentic science research in an active laboratory under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The time commitment varies depending on the nature of the research, but most STAR trainees begin research in June (college undergraduates) or early July (high school).
The STAR Program offers a series of weekly special seminars by faculty, postdoc and graduate student speakers for all summer research trainees working at NYMC. The series is designed to familiarize trainees with the various fields of biomedical science by highlighting current projects by NYMC researchers, and to introduce trainees to the essential skills of data analysis and science communications. Past seminar topics have included:
The Research Forum takes place at the end of the summer program. Summer trainees present research in PowerPoint or professional poster format, enhancing their science communication skills. Constructive feedback is provided by faculty and graduate student judges. For high school trainees, the Research Forum is excellent preparation for the science competitions that are a requirement of their school programs. The Research Forum is open to the public.