Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hematologists Open Doors to Students Before Conference

San Diego International Studies students at the conference.
Students from La Jolla, Mira Mesa, Patrick Henry, San Diego High School of International Studies and Serra high schools had a chance recently to learn about the field of hematology as the American Society of Hematology held a symposium for high school students just before its national conference.

Students had the opportunity to do hands-on experiments and participate in competitions judged by scientists in the field, including diagnosis and management of sickle cell anemia, as well as other blood disorders.

“The annual ASH High School Student Symposium gives local students a unique look at hematology and shows them how exciting and rewarding a career in biomedical research can be,” said Gary J. Schiller, MD, Director of the Hematological Malignancies/Stem Cell Transplantation Unit at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and Chair of ASH’s Committee on Training Programs, which organized the event with assistance from the ASH Trainee Council. “By the end of the symposium, we hope students will develop a new interest in hematology as well as a deeper understanding of sickle cell anemia."
Speakers included Dr. David Shepard from the Northwest Georgia Oncology Centers, discussing “Why Medicine?”; “Sickle Cell Anemia Diagnosis and Clinical Manifestations” by Dr. Jenny Kim from Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego; and “Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease” by Dr. Mary Territo from UCLA School of Medicine. The conference was held Dec. 8, just before the ASH Annual Meeting in San Diego.
Our students participated in activities including “Restriction Enzyme Analysis of DNA” using Gel Electrophoresis, and successfully identified normal, carrier and affected individuals by their DNA. Students extracted and isolated salmon DNA in the “Go Ahead, Make My DNA” activity. In the “Be a Blood Detective” activity, students evaluated posters that contained blood smears and were able to look at actual blood smears in through the microscope. The “Life is a Crapshoot” activity allowed students to investigate the impact of disease and other environmental factors on life expectancy.

Students from each school prepared two poster presentations that were presented to doctors in the field of Sickle Cell Anemia. Dr. Jenny Kim, Dr. Ted Wun, Dr. Mary Territo, and Dr. Gary Schiller were the judges. Three schools were awarded monetary prizes for the science departments. First place was earned by San Diego High School of International Studies, second place by Serra High School and third place by Mira Mesa High School. Prizes of $750-$1,500 were awarded.
For more information, contact Tim Towler, San Diego High International Studies, (619) 525-7464 x4900.