DSU students offered opportunity to conduct research at Stanford University

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Dixie State University students once again have the chance to conduct research at one of the world’s leading teaching and research institutions — Stanford University.

Between one and three students will be sent to research cancer genomics at Stanford this summer. These students will be a part of something called Bio-X, which is Stanford’s pioneering interdisciplinary biosciences institute. This opportunity is exclusive to DSU students, so only students from Stanford or DSU can participate. If selected, students will get free housing, travel and a $3,500 stipend.

“We’ve been able to wiggle our way to letting [DSU] students be on the same level playing field as Stanford undergraduates,” said Douglas Sainsbury, adviser for biology and pre-professional students. “[Other research opportunities] are exclusive because they only have a certain number of students admitted, but it’s not exclusive to just [the school’s] students like this is.”

The research opportunity was created because of Lincoln Nadauld, the executive director for Intermountain Precision Genomics. Nadauld moved to St. George and helped organize the Stanford-DSU relationship for students.

Nine students from DSU have participated in the Stanford research internship, and of those nine students three are in medical school, two are in Ph.D. programs, one is in a graduate program for biomedical informatics, and three are applying to medical or Ph.D. programs this year.

“As a pre-med student, the opportunity to participate in research at a leading institution really gave me confidence as a researcher,” said Katherine Monday, a senior biology major from Logan. “The role of physician and scientist have a strong interconnection, and my internship at Stanford really helped me to solidify and appreciate this relationship.”

Makelle Gardiner, a DSU alumna from St. George, was also chosen to represent DSU at Stanford. She said she considers her experience an adventure.

“The first day in the lab didn’t go as I expected,” Gardiner said. “We didn’t do any lab work and instead had an elaborate tour of the campus all on foot. We probably walked 10 miles that day.”

Gardiner said she had worked in research before, but Stanford was different because the resources allowed the team to try unique experiments. 

“I messed up a lot of experiments and had some great successes,” Gardiner said. “I learned a lot from my mentor, from the talks and lectures given by Stanford faculty and researchers I attended, and from the mistakes and successes I had in the lab.”

Students will work with different aspects of cancer research like the effectiveness of new and current treatments. They may also participate in more lab-based research where students run lab techniques to determine the efficiency of treatments. Sainsbury said students who want to go into professional or research medicine should apply.

“It’s really beneficial to have [this research] on applications,” Sainsbury said. “During interviews, [participants] are often asked about their research at Stanford University, and they’re able to go in detail about what they’re able to do.”

Applications for this research opportunity are due Friday, and interviews will be held shortly after. The applications will be reviewed by a group at DSU and at Intermountain Precision Genomics. Those groups will interview three to five students and choose who they see fit.

Applications can be mailed or delivered to Sainsbury’s office in DSU’s Science Building 131.