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Local student gains acceptance into coveted Harvard-MIT Bioinformatics Summer Program

AGAWAM " Monica Lefebvre of Feeding Hills, a junior at Bay Path College, has recently been accepted into the Harvard-MIT Bioinformatics Summer Program, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and at Harvard-affiliated institutions in Boston. This highly competitive, paid internship is offered to only a select number of students each summer and immerses participants in a rich environment supported by cutting-edge research facilities and expert mentors. I ve always been passionate about science and research, and I m thrilled to have this opportunity to perform hands-on research related to genetics and the application of information technology to molecular biology, Lefebvre said. This internship will allow me to work with acclaimed scientists from around the world, and it is truly a dream come true. Lefebvre follows in the footsteps of Kristen Ott 08, also of Feeding Hills, who is a doctoral candidate at Boston University s Program in Genetics and a previous Harvard-MIT Bioinformatics Summer Program intern. After viewing Ott s internship presentation, Lefebvre was inspired to apply for the internship. When she told us about her experience, I knew this was an opportunity I did not want to miss, and I began the intensive application process, Lefebvre said. The internship introduces students to the integration of quantitative and biomedical sciences, providing them with broad knowledge of clinical relevancy as well as specific skills in the information science of genomics. The program combines lectures, clinical case studies and a mentored research project to expose students fully to the exciting world of genomic research. Participants learn skills fundamental to the task of extracting information from the huge amount of data produced by the international Human Genome Project by working with the various tools and databases now available. As part of the Summer Institute, students also receive guidance through individual tutorials and workshops on preparing and presenting research findings. Bay Path has definitely prepared me for this experience, Lefebvre said. I ve grown a lot as a student, and I m extremely thankful to the Bay Path faculty, especially Dr. Gina Semprebon, for this scientific research opportunity. They re always supportive " my own personal cheering section " and encourage me to pursue my dreams.

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