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August 31, 2017

MDI Biological Lab summer program put 32 undergrads in labs

The MDI Biological Laboratory put 32 interns in research and lab facilities across the state, 20 of the participants supported by Maine INBRE, a network of 13 Maine educational and research institutions led by the laboratory.

The Mount Desert Islander reported that the summer fellowship program provides undergraduates, 24 of them from Maine colleges, with hands-on research training in an advanced laboratory environment. They work with a faculty mentor and other researches on a biomedical research project, developing professional skills and connections and gaining experience working with the research community.

Maine INBRE, the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, is funded through the National Institutes of Health to help foster biomedical training and research in the state. The 20 interns supported by INBRE worked at the campuses of INBRE partners, including Bates, Bowdoin and Colby colleges, the University of Maine, Jackson Laboratory, the Eastern Maine Medical Center Cancer Care facility in Brewer, and others.

"The summer fellowship experience gives students a leg up in their careers," Jane E. Disney, director of education, told the Islander. She said besides the other benefits of the program, it helps "create the skilled workforce required to support the science and tech sectors of the economy."

Maine INBRE has provided training for more than 2,100 Maine students, according to the lab's website. Some 91% of INBRE graduates have gone on to pursue careers or advanced education in science or medicine.

Ten other interns of the summer program were funded through the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates program. All the REU summer fellows worked at the MDI Biological Laboratory, the Islander reported.

In March, the laboratory opened the Maine Center for Biomedical Innovation, funded through a $3 million state bond. The center focuses "on promoting a thriving science and technology sector in Maine by facilitating innovation- and entrepreneurial-based learning and by nurturing emerging life science and technology companies," the lab's website says.

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