Budding Scientists Spend Summer In Lab

Jul 27, 2009 — Ten Yeshiva University (YU) students are spending their summer conducting innovative scientific research as Roth Scholars and University Summer Research Scholars. The undergraduate students are working alongside top scientific researchers at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. The impressive group includes Shoshana Zitter of Teaneck, NJ.

“The eight students in the Roth Scholars program and the two students in the University Summer Research Scholars program are paired with scientists at Einstein to gain experience conducting cutting-edge scientific research,” said Barry Potvin, PhD, professor of biology at YU and chairperson of the Roth Summer Research Fellowship Committee. The annual ten-week program, sponsored by the Ernst and Hedwig Roth Institute of Biomedical Science Education at Yeshiva University, provides each student with a stipend and campus housing.

“Each program has its own funding, and both allow undergraduate science students the chance to experience high-level research with university scientists,” Dr. Potvin said. The students work in teams alongside graduate and post-doctoral students.

Zitter, daughter of Mark and Bonnie, is working with Dr. Amy Fox on the development and validation of an automated molecular platform to diagnose novel swine flu. “In the research I am doing, I have learned a lot about the HIV and swine flu viruses,” explains the Roth Scholar, “including symptoms, molecular definitions and how to test for them.”

The Teaneck native plans on going to medical school while simultaneously continuing her clinical research. “Yeshiva University offers a large biology department with teachers who are bright, approachable and eager to teach. This allowed me to learn a great deal about a topic that has always interested me and that I will need for the future.”

According to Dr. Potvin, although most of the students are considering medical careers, this experience often piques their interest in research, and pushes them to apply to MD/PhD programs.

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