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Faculty host high school alliance summer researchers

Four UNMC faculty members had some particularly young assistants in their labs this summer as they hosted members of the UNMC High School Alliance as summer researchers.

Researchers who opened their doors to the students were:

  • William Rizzo, M.D., professor of pediatrics for UNMC and the Munroe-Meyer Institute;
  • Matt Kelso, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy;
  • Julie Oestreich, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy; and
  • Bernice Yates, Ph.D., professor in the College of Nursing.

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Kelsie Skow was one of five UNMC High School Alliance Students who were able to work in the labs of medical center researchers this summer.
"The generosity of these four scientists made the summer research experience for our High School Alliance students memorable," said UNMC Government Relations Specialist Sara Cizek Going, J.D. "It is the commitment of people like them that make this endeavor the success that it is."

Among the students who participated was Kelsie Skow. A graduate of the alliance and Thomas Jefferson High School in Council Bluffs, Skow spent six weeks in Dr. Rizzo's lab.

Dr. Rizzo studies Sjogren-Larsson Syndrome, a rare disease characterized by dry, scaly skin, developmental disabilities, stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms.

The best part of the summer, Skow said, came when she found a new mutation in one of the patient samples sent to Dr. Rizzo's lab for research analysis.

Skow went straight home from the lab that evening and told her aunt and grandmother, "Guess what I did today? I found a mutation!"

More about the alliance

The High School Alliance is a partnership between UNMC, nine metropolitan area school districts and an educational service unit that lets high school juniors and seniors take college-level courses at UNMC in preparation for careers in health care.

The courses are taught by UNMC faculty.The second group of alliance students started class at UNMC this week.

See a full list of students in this year's class.

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