3 months ago, a fellow MiOra mentee, Nikhil C. from Granada High School CA, received the CIRM SPARK award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine with the help of his mentor Dr Arumugaswami (www.miora.org) and was chosen to participate in a seven week stem cell research program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center @CedarsSinai.
Over the past seven weeks Nikhil was grouped with eight like-minded individuals, all pursuing similar goals to gain a solid grounding into the biomedical sciences. He learned how to design and conduct experiments in the laboratory using pluripotent stem cells, specifically embryonic stem cells. He conducted a project that focused on Alagille syndrome, which causes the underdevelopment or complete absence of bile ducts in those afflicted. His project was to create a disease modeling platform of the syndrome. To do so, he differentiated embryonic stem cells into a biliary organoid that will be used to find viable treatments for this disease.
Nikhil recently finished the program and will be presenting his data at a conference in Berkeley, CA. Through this program Nikhil learned about basic research, laboratory techniques and established valuable relationships, but most importantly he learned about himself. Congratulations Nikhil!