Programs > Brochure
IIP-A*Star Institute of Medical Biology
Singapore, Singapore (Outgoing Program)
|Partner Institution/Organization Homepage:||Click to visit|
|Restrictions:||Princeton applicants only|
|Dept Offering Program:||IIP, International Internship Program (IIP)||Program Type:||Internship|
|Language Prerequisite:||No||Program Features:||Lab Based Work, Research|
|Degree Level:||2 First year Ugrad, 3 Sophomore, 4 Junior||Time Away:||Summer|
|Housing options:||Student Responsibilty with support from IIP and/or Host Organization||Program Group:||International Internship Program|
A*Star Institute of Medical Biology
About: IMB is an institute in the biomedical sciences cluster of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR). Their goal is to understand mechanisms underlying human disease, so that it is possible to discover new and effective approaches to combating illness and promoting wellbeing. Research activities in IMB today range across stem cells, development and differentiation, skin biology, cancer and genetic diseases. By studying how molecular changes lead to increasing cell specialization and complexity in the context of human tissues and diseases, new knowledge gained will lead to novel therapeutic strategies for a range of debilitating diseases. IMB’s research will help to build bridges between basic science and clinical medicine that are necessary to nurture an innovative and productive biomedical industry here in Singapore.
Intern Responsibilities: The overarching goal of the lab in which IIP interns would be placed is to develop efficient protocols that convert pluripotential hESCs into functional beta cells. If produced in bulk and in a clinically-compliant fashion, these cells could provide an inexhaustible supply of material for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. The lab focuses on three general questions: (1) how to produce bona fide DE from hESC; (2) how to assign pancreatic fate to this progenitor population; and (3) how to specifically direct the progressive specification of early pancreatic cells toward the mature beta cell fate. IIP interns will be paired with a senior member of the lab to pursue one of these fast-moving projects.
Qualifications: IIP candidates with interests in molecular/cell biology, biochemistry and developmental biology. Experience working independently in a biomedical research lab is preferred but not required.
Additional background information on the project: A major objective of regenerative medicine is to generate specialized cell types for modeling and treating degenerative diseases. Of particular interest are the Insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells that are responsible for maintaining normal blood glucose levels, and whose failure leads to diabetes. Human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSC) have been proposed as an unlimited source of beta cells for studying and treating diabetes. However, the complex, multi-step differentiation protocols used to derive functional beta cells from hPSC inevitably exhibit low efficiencies and considerable batch-to-batch variability, particularly when applied to hPSC from different genetic backgrounds. Their lab has developed conditions for culturing hPSC-derived pancreatic progenitors, which are also capable of long-term expansion but are developmentally much closer to beta cells and therefore represent a much more robust source of beta cells than hPSC. The proposed project seeks to optimize conditions for culturing pancreatic progenitors and further differentiating these cells into mature, functional beta cells. Furthermore, the student will assist with generating pancreatic progenitor lines from diabetic patients that will serve as models of diabetic beta cell failure. The IIP intern will have the opportunity to learn a broad range of techniques including: hESC culture and differentiation, microtissue generation, geneplease (check the appropriate box on your application).
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