Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) is a summer internship program of the DAAD for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the UK. It offers opportunities for undergraduate students to work with research groups at universities and top research institutions across Germany for a period of 2 to 3 months.
Last year was the first year HBRS participated in the exchange program and two Ph.D students, Yu Zhang and Dilaware Khan of Prof. Dr. Edda Tobiasch, took care of two RISE program 2011 undergraduate students.
This year, Yu Zhang and Dilaware offered again internships within RISE program and once again selected two undergraduate students, Catherine Gu and Aleksandra Shalakhova. Catherine, from New Jersey in the US, is a rising junior currently studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Aleksandra, born in Russia, is a junior student in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine option in Biomedical Science at the University of Ottowa, Canada.
During the summer, Catherine will be working with Yu Zhang on his Ph.D sub-project utilizing human mesenchymal stem cells to build a model for studying the underlying mechanism of atherosclerosis. Aleksandra will be working on Dilaware Ph.D sub-project on monitoring expression of Hox genes in mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. They will work together for 12 weeks from June 4th to August 24th.
Upon gaining the internship, Catherine said, "I am incredibly happy to have the chance to intern in a lab working at the frontiers of stem cell technology while exploring the German culture. Having never been to Europe before, I also plan to take advantage of this time to explore the rich history and traditions of the area.” And concerning the lab atmosphere, Aleksandra said, ”I like the small size of my research group. There is a lot of space and equipment available in a lab and it is easier to build a strong relation with the research team members. Everyone is really helpful which makes adjusting to lab work easier.” Both of them are looking forward to having a productive summer in stem cell field.