HSCI News:

HSCI, Cambridge, MA – Meghan Montoya, a Los Alamos, New Mexico resident, and a junior at the College of William and Mary, is one of 44 undergraduate students accepted into the 2013 Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) Internship Program, which provides participants with a challenging summer research experience in a cutting-edge stem cell science laboratory.

She was connected to the HSCI through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program.

Montoya is spending 10 weeks, from June 10 to August 16, in the Joslin Diabetes Center laboratory of HSCI Principal Faculty member Amy Wagers, PhD, known for her research on the mechanisms that regulate the function of blood-forming and muscle-forming stem cells.

Montoya’s project this summer is to identify factors produced by fibroadipogeneic precursors—cells that mature into connective tissue or fat cells—that regulate stem cell differentiation into skeletal muscle.

“Spending the summer in the Wagers Lab has allowed me to immerse myself in a completely new area of research, which has been both challenging and enlightening,” Montoya said. “Being a part of HSCI has exposed me to multiple groups dedicated to not only understanding disease processes but also developing treatments. Both will have a huge impact on where I decide to go in the future.”

Over 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 summer research findings, both orally and in poster format, at an end-of-program symposium.

“This program represents an exciting opportunity for undergraduates to gain hands-on experience in stem cell research while working in an HSCI laboratory under the supervision of an experienced researcher,” said HSCI Internship Program director M. William Lensch, PhD.

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following sponsors for the 2013 HSCI Internship Program: Biogen Idec, EMD Millipore, GSK, Novartis, and Sanofi Aventis.

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute is a collaborative of more than 1,000 leading scientists, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students who are affiliated with one or more of the University’s schools and affiliated hospitals and medical institutions, and are working to advance the understanding and use of stem cells in basic research and regenerative medicine.