Bioscience students receive white coats at annual ceremony

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August 15, 2018
Temple Daily Telegram|By Janice Gibbs

High school students representing school districts throughout Bell County and beyond took part in an annual white coat ceremony Tuesday evening at the Mary Alice Marshall Performance Center at Temple College.

Each new student is presented a white lab coat at the beginning of their first year at the Texas Bioscience Institute. It’s a ceremony held at medical schools and in other health related programs and represents and serves as a rite of passage.

These teens are entering their junior year at their high school and are first-year Temple College students as they begin their studies at the Texas Bioscience Institute.

The Texas Bioscience Institute, a Temple College middle college, offers STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) based programs to high school students. The students receive dual credits for the TBI coursework.

The students were welcomed at the beginning of the ceremony by Susan Guzman-Trevino, interim vice president of academic affairs at Temple College. Guzman-Trevino recognized the student’s support system at home, including parents, siblings, grandparents and friends.

“This is one of my favorite ceremonies,” Temple College President Glenda O. Barron told the students and their guests.

While the TBI students will be spending most of their time at the Scott & White West Campus, where the Texas Bioscience Institute is located, they are always welcome on the TC campus on South First Street, she said.

Tami Annable, executive director of the Temple Health and Bioscience District in Temple, was the guest speaker.

Annable congratulated the students and their families in having the vision to attend TBI.

“This is the start, this is the building block, the back bone for the rest of your life,” Annable said.

Annable began by discussing technology and the other worldly powers seen in movies. The 2018 movie “Black Panther” was filled with out-of-this-world special effects that are impossible to imagine ever being real.

She recalled the 1990 “Total Recall,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“I’ll never forget he walked into a room and there was a giant TV and the TV had screens within it that were broadcasting news and sports events,” she said.

The character gave commands for lights on, coffee and music.

“This was 28 years ago and this was science fiction,” she said. “Now, we have Alexa, we have Echo.”

Science fiction today will be these students’ reality in the future.

There may be obstacles along the way to achieving a dream and there may be times when making choices are required, Annable said.

Toddlers will fall down multiple times for days on end as they try to walk.

“You don’t look at that child and decide they are failures,” Annable said. “You’re only a failure when you stop trying.”

Annable decided in high school she wanted to be an obstetrician, but instead she got married and had children.

She still had the goal of becoming a doctor and started going to night school when her youngest turned 7. It took 10 years to get her undergraduate degree.

She began working one day a week, filing at a doctor’s office. Within a year, she was office manager and she learned to do lab work.

“Those skills lead to jobs in a research lab, starting off as a technician and eventually to research scientist where she designed her own experiments. That’s when the focus went from delivering babies to working toward a cure for cancer.”

In 2014, Annable and her husband moved to Texas to be nearer to their daughter’s family.

She started working at the VA in research project on liver cancer.

Annable met Jack Hart, the executive director of the Temple Health and Bioscience District, and became lab manager for the district’s new lab and office facility.

When Hart retired, Annable took on his role.

The district offered internships to several TBI students this summer. The district provides lab and office space for early-stage biotech companies that are taking health-related products from conception to manufacturing.

Annable talked about two of the district facility tenants.

Advanced Scanners offers a 3D optical vision system for brain surgeons to be used in real time. This system minimizes the removal of healthy brain tissue so patients recover faster and more completely.

SiMMo3D is a 3D printing company that makes simulations used by medical device companies to train physicians on a new procedure.

“This is happening in Temple,” she said.

Annable told the students to figure out what’s going to make their heart smile and will make them want to get up every morning and be glad to go to work.

“Figure out what it’s going to take to get there and head in that direction,” Annable said. “No matter the number of hurdles life throws at you, or the number of roads you have to head down, keep going.”

This TBI class is made up of 74 students. Most will have the distinction of earning their associate’s degree from TC before they graduate from high school.

Bioscience interns present summer projects

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August 7, 2018
Temple Daily Telegram|By Janice Gibbs

The number of Texas Bioscience Institute students participating in the summer research projects this year, was smaller than usual, but the participants were as good, if not better, than those of the past, according to those who worked with them throughout the summer.

“The students are great and they always are, but there’s something about these students, they are phenomenal,” said John Idoux, middle college research program. “They just got so much out of it.”

The summer research program began with a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation with a purpose of exposing high school students to STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Funding continued for six years, which ended in 2015, and the summer research project has since relied on the generosity of local organizations, such as the Temple College Foundation, the Temple Health and Bioscience District and other organizations for financing.

George Robinson, a senior at Troy High School and Texas Bioscience Institute, was offered a job with SiMMo3d, where he completed his summer internship. He was tasked this summer with building a compact sized board for the apparatus that is used as a training device of a heart procedure.

Robinson worked with Ryan Quinn and Colin Dodson, cofounders of SiMMo3D.

Robinson plans to attend Texas Tech University or University of Texas at San Antonio to study physics or computer assisted design.

“There’s some range in my interests, but why not,” he said.

The internship was great, Robinson said.

“I got a lot of experience in the lab and I can say ‘I’ve worked as a professional in a lab,” he said. “I had to learn CAD design this summer.”

Haley Brown worked with Laura Weiser-Erlandson at Texas A&M–Central Texas.

The research was about using biologic controls on aphids.

“Every Friday, we went to a farm in Thrall and did random sampling in the fields,” Brown said.

“We counted lacewing eggs, lady bugs and aphids,” she said.

The field was divided up into 10 sections and the students and researcher would count bugs on random plants on all 10 sections.

“We mainly counted aphids and during the summer the number of aphids got larger and larger,” she said. “At the end the aphids were in colonies numbering 400 to 600 plus.”

The numbers could be used to inform a farmer on when to use pesticides, Brown said.

“The research experience was amazing, especially while I’m still in high school,” she said.

Entomology may not be all that high on Brown’s list of interest, but she said the experience was great.

“I’m so happy, because I am interested in research and I’m glad I got to go through the process and do the research poster,” she said.

Brown wants to become a doctor, possibly a surgeon. She plans on attending the University of Washington.

“I’m thinking about applying for another internship next summer,” she said.

As Brown explained her summer research to people attending the poster presentation on Tuesday, her grandmother stood across the hall and watched with pride.

Luke Lichtenwalner and Daniel Spencer served as student advisors and administrative support for the summer research program.

Bioscience board hears of scholars’ work

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July 1, 2018
Temple Daily Telegram|By Janice Gibbs

The 2018 Temple Health and Bioscience District scholars and graduate intern were introduced at the district’s June board meeting.

Natalie Parks, Charley Edgar, Jenee Farrell and Paul Baker are part of the Texas A&M scholars program. Allison Thomas was unable to attend the meeting. Steven Jokerst is the 2018 graduate intern.

Farrell is a junior at Howard University and is originally from the Caribbean. Farrell is working with Heather Francis and is focusing on liver disease and looking at how stem cells affect the liver.

Farrell said she plans on becoming a pediatrician or gynecologist/physician.

Baker is a junior from Dallas and attends Texas State University. Baker is working with Gianfranco Alpini and is looking at how melatonin affects liver disease.

Baker is interested in becoming a family medicine physician.

Parks, a junior at Texas Tech University from Georgetown, is working with Rebecca DeMorrow and looking at galanin, a neuropeptide, and how it affects different types of liver cells and causes liver fibrosis.

Parks wants to be a sports medicine physician or a radiation oncologist.

“I’m still exploring that,” she said.

Edgar, a junior at Texas Christian University from Wichita, Kan., is working with David Dostal and is looking at the role melanin plays in heart failure.

Edgar is looking at becoming an oncologist or cardiologist.

Jokerst, a graduate student at Texas A&M from St. Louis, is working in Dostal’s lab. He’s working on a device to look at cells microscopically while under stress from stretching.

Jokerst would like to sell MRI-CT equipment and is looking at a position with Bioscience Webster, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson that produces cardiac equipment.

Thomas who couldn’t attend the board meeting, is a junior biology major at Emory University. She is working with DeMarrow.

“It’s a pleasure to have you with us,” said Thomas Baird, district board chairman. “We’re proud and excited about your participation … we hope it’s something meaningful and it advances the areas of research that you are doing.”

The two businesses in the Bioscience District facility have some Texas Bioscience Institute students working with them this summer.

TBI students Chantelle Alejandra Cancel, Alana Ordonez and Caitlin Stanke are interning with Emerging Biotechnologies, while George Robinson will be working with SiMMo3D.

Bioscience District names interns

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June 2, 2018
Temple Daily Telegram|By Janice Gibbs

Summer interns for the Temple Health and Bioscience District have been interviewed and began work Friday.

Emerging Biotechnologies will support two interns, Caitlin Stanke and Chatelle Alejandra. SiMMo3D will have George Robinson for its intern.

This information was part of the activities report delivered following the May THBD board meeting.

The 2018-2019 interns from Temple school district have been interviewed and will begin August 2018.

Brianna Miles will intern with Emerging Biotechnologies and Eric Brown will be working with SiMMo3D.

Tami Annable district executive director, said she had heard from Dr. Joseph Taube, assistant professor in biology at Baylor University.

Taube had received a grant to use the district’s nanoString counter. The nanoString technology is used by researchers to understand the genetic aspect of a disease. The science is used in basic research and allows investigators to take cells from a tumor and look at hundred of genes associated with the sample cell.

Taube reported that the preliminary data he obtained with the nanoString counter helped him receive three years of funding from Susan G. Komen Foundation.

“Thank you for supporting our work and for organizing this award opportunity,” Taube wrote.

Annable and Ashley Schlosser, with Live Out Loud PR, attended TechConnect in Anaheim, Calif.

They made 51 contacts, including three potential tenant companies.

“These were the startup companies trying to get grants from the government,” she said. “These are the companies we need.”

SABER, the third-place winner at the pitch competition at the District’s May symposium is interested in opening office in Temple.

The company is developing a programmable anti-microbial bandage — a device utilizing blue light mainly in the wavelength range of 400 to 470 nm, outside the range of UV light, for application on postoperative incisions and wound sites. It is designed to prevent bacterial contamination of the site, thus reducing the occurrence of surgical site infections.

During the month, Annable gave Philip Rocha, with the office of the governor, a tour of Temple.

She represented the district at the P20 meeting, where representatives of local business and industry discuss with the school districts what skills they are looking for in future employees.