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NexGeneGirls Bootcamp and Summer Science Academy Celebration

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and NexGeneGirl participants, staff and supporter.

The 2017 NexGeneGirls Bootcamp and Summer Science Academy concluded with a gala event and poster presentation at UCSF Mission Bay on July 27th.  In addition to congratulatory remarks by the Honorable Edwin M. Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, the program included a keynote address by Dr. Joy L. Hightower, from Genentech’s Innovation, Diversity & Inclusion team, and a panel with the program’s high school participants and their internship mentors. CLSI President & CEO, Lori Lindburg, gave an address and, along with NexGeneGirls Founder Marlena Jackson, presented the NexGeneGirls with program certificates signed by the Mayor. The girls demonstrated their scientific know-how in poster presentations following the program.

The Celebration marked the culmination of the 2017 program, which began in spring with a Bootcamp in which NexGeneGirl participants gained mastery of basic laboratory techniques, such as pipetting, general biosafety, DNA extraction, and cloning and plasmid maps that they would apply in research projects over the summer.

Over six weeks this summer, the NexGeneGirls interned three days a week in labs and focused on the following research projects:

  • Trinity Boykin – Srivastava Lab, Cardiovascular disease, The Gladstone Institutes: Study the molecular mechanism of how the heart forms during embryonic development with the application of single cell RNA-sequencing
  • Lizzeth Canche-Palomo – McCormick Lab, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF, Mission Bay Campus: Examine the dependency of MAPK and phosphoinostide 3-kinese (PI3K) signaling on growth factors amongst the frequently mutated KRAS oncogenes in the absence of the other RAS proteins
  • Jaline Chan – Weiss Lab, Dept of Psychiatry and Institute of Human Genetics, UCSF, Parnassus Campus: Study known genes that causes autism and how autism affects the formation of the brain
  • Jade Despanie – Domingo Lab and Riggs Lab, Dept. of Biology, SFSU: Examine the role of intracellular membranes in mitotic events using the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, for in vivo cellular imaging and genetic analysis
  • Jashonna Jordan-Davis – Domingo Lab and Riggs Lab, Dept. of Biology, SFSU: Study how muscle cells form during embryogenesis using the African clawed frog to understand how an undifferentiated cell in the early embryo becomes a muscle cell at the right time and place in the tadpole
  • Eyuche Okorie – Domingo Lab and Riggs Lab, Dept. of Biology, SFSU: Examine the role of intracellular membranes in mitotic events using the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, for in vivo cellular imaging and genetic analysis

When asked why science matters, NexGeneGirl Lizzeth Chanche-Palomo remarked: “Science matters to me because it makes me feel empowered. It is a way for me to break down barriers that say women, specifically Latinas, can’t do science. Apart from that, with science I know I could potentially make the world a better place by making advancements that can benefit my community.”

One of the key elements of the program’s success was its incorporation of a multigenerational teaching model. During the spring Bootcamp, community college Stem Cell students taught laboratory techniques to the NexGeneGirl participants.  During the NexGeneGirls Summer Academy, when they were not in their internships, NexGeneGirls led hands-on science experiments with elementary- and middle-school females one day per week at the San Francisco Boys and Girls Club. In addition to reinforcing the learning and developing confidence of student “teachers,” the younger students were inspired to learn from high school females who looked like them. CLSI also brought in women professionals to lead workshops and to assist with poster presentations and college prep.

For more information on the NexGeneGirls program, contact Marlena Jackson (jackson.marlena@gene.com).