Summer biomedical research program for high school and middle school students

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Estudiantes del programa BREP visitan el laboratorio del Dr. Gregory Quirk

The Biomedical Research Education Program (BREP) of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Medical Sciences Campus (MSC) held its Annual Biomedical Summer Internships for middle and high school students during the month of June.  Twenty three (24) Middle School students and twenty eight (27) High School students from three different educational districts participated in the internships. 

Each internship included conferences and/or hands-on activities in areas such as neurosciences, fear learning, 3D printing, simulated patient, bioterrorism and human anatomy.   As part of their learning experience, the students were able to touch and hold human organs such as a heart, a lung and a brain.  The students also visited different research laboratories and met with faculty and graduate students from different schools at the UPR School of Medicine. Activities related to wellness, social media in science and canine therapy were also included in the agenda.

“Fue una experiencia inolvidable, llena de descubrimientos y conocimientos que permanecerán conmigo por toda la vida y que  definitivamente me han transformado y me han inspirado en mi vida estudiantil y en mis sueños y metas a alcanzar.”
Alana Victoria Rodriguez, Escuela Intermedia CIMATEC (Ciencias, Matematicas y Tecnología), Caguas,  PR 
   “El internado BREP fue una experiencia muy enriquecedora las cual ofreció muchas herramientas que nos han empezado a servir y nos servirán en un futuro. BREP es una iniciativa que es emprendedora a la hora de acomodar recursos los cuales están a disposición de aclarar nuestras dudas y darnos la ayuda que necesitemos. A la luz de haber terminado el internado, BREP sembró en nosotros una semilla y ahora nos toca a nosotros hacerla florecer.”
William Colón – Escuela Superior  Brígida Alvarez, Vega Baja, PR

Dr. Craig Locatis, from the Office of High Performance Computing and Communications at the National Library of Medicine, paid a visit to the internship. Dr. Emma Fernández-Repollet, Principal Investigator of BREP, and Dr. Locatis are collaborating on an on-line project to promote the interest of middle and high school students in careers related to health sciences.  This initiative will be conducting at participating schools during the academic year.

“I’m very impressed with the quality of the students 
participating, the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus faculty doing the teaching, and the methodology employed that incorporates peer mentoring, modeling, and immersive interactive experiences.  The methodology is solidly supported by educational theory and research and the internship could become a model for others wanting to encourage youth to pursue careers in biomedical and health sciences.” 
Craig Locatis, PhD, Office of High Performance Computing and Communications, National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health

At the end of the internship, students received a Certificate of Attendance from Dr. Emma Fernández-Repollet, Principal Investigator of BREP, Ms. Odalis García, Education Coordinator, and Dr. America Facundo, Principal Investigator of the Hispanic Center of Excellence, a co-sponsor of the High School Internship. Science teachers and parents participated in the closure activity.

“In agreement with the strategic vision of the National Library of Medicine, BREP internships strengthen the role of fostering the future generation of professionals in biomedical and related disciplines through sustained and focused training efforts. I am very excited with our collaboration and the potential of this group of Puerto Rican students.”
Emma Fernández-Repollet, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology, PI, BREP and RCMI Programs, UPR Medical Sciences Campus

Additional information about this program is available on its website:

A recent report of the program's outcomes can be found here: click here.