Muncy resident awarded Harvard Stem Cell Institute internship

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Sophia Reeder, a graduate of Muncy High School, and now a junior at Bucknell University, is one of 40 undergraduate students accepted into the 2014 Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) internship program, which provides participants with a challenging summer research experience in a cutting-edge stem cell science laboratory.

Reeder is spending 10 weeks, which began June 9 and will run through Aug. 15, in the Massachusetts General Hospital laboratory of HSCI Principal Faculty member Dr. David Langenau, known for his research on pediatric cancers. Reeder’s project this summer is to study zebrafish cancer cells, which resemble that of a rare childhood muscle cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, to identify molecular signals-and potential drug targets-that drive cancer relapse.

“I feel like I’m growing as a scientist and as a person,” Reeder said. “I’m not just learning about new techniques and a new field of science; I’m learning how to be a better scientist.”

“My daily work and interactions in the lab have helped me confirm that I want to pursue my PhD in biomedical research,” she added. “This is the work I want to devote my life to and I can’t imagine it any other way.”

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 Dr. M. William Lensch, HSCI internship program co-director.