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BCRL Home » Mentoring and Training Program » College Student Mentoring

College Student Mentoring

The BCRL's mentoring program also involves bringing area college students to the lab, usually for about one to six months, to work on one of the many research projects underway. These students do a brief rotation through the different parts of the laboratory, and are then trained by one of our scientists in the techniques relevant to the project they will be working on. These college interns become a true part of the research process and often make significant contributions to the research performed in the BCRL. In the last week of their internships they present their data to the group. It is expected that by this time they will have gained a firm grasp on the concepts that root the BCRL's work in the scientific community, and be able to clearly demonstrate the arc of the experimental process. It is our aim that these students leave the internship program with a deeper understanding of what it means to be a working researcher, and better informed and inspired about the shape of their future.

Andrea M. Carpenter
Andrea M. Carpenter

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Jacqueline N. Talarchek

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Ricardo Salomao

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Rebecca Starker

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Janet Fontanella

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Jhanzelle Francis

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Victoria Hung

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Courtney Michener

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Cody Watson

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Juliana Suppee

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Aysenur Azra Vural

Jacqueline  N. Talarchek
Juliana Suppee


In the fall and winter of 2008 two college students from Holy Family University were selected to participate in this program. Andrea M. Carpenter and Jacqueline N. Talarchek worked on the role of hCG peptides in human breast epithelial cells in vitro under the direction of Dr. Irma H. Russo and Dr. Ricardo Lopez.


Ricardo Salomao, a forth year medical school student in the Faculdade de Ciências Médicas de Santos do Centro Universitário Lusíada, Santos-SP, Brazil, came to the BCRL during summer of 2009.

During his internship, under supervision of Dr. Julia Santucci-Pereira, he had the chance to learn some of the methodologies performed in our laboratory in cell culture, histology and molecular biology. He followed the everyday life of a scientific laboratory and studied in-depth the mechanisms of chromatin remodeling.


Rebecca Starker, a biology major at Florida State University , worked in the BCRL in the summer of 2010 under the direction of Dr Sandra Fernandez on the project Reversion of the neoplastic transformation by retinoic acid."


Janet Fontanella from West Chester University of Pennsylvania rotated in the BCRL for performing studies on the Branching Morphology in of human breast epithelial cells growing in three-dimensional collagen cultures. She worked under the mentorship of Thomas Pogash BS and Yubo Zhai, MS.

Jhanzelle Francis worked under the guidance of Johana Vanegas, MD and Fathima Sheriff, MD for performing studies on the role of pregnancy and hormonal stimulation in the differentiation of the mammary gland and its potential role in breast cancer prevention. She conducted a thorough literature search on the subject and learned how to distinguish under the microscope the different compartments of the rodent mammary glands. Jhanzelle evaluated the different structures in the mammary gland and makes a correlation between the data collected and the physiological conditions affecting the mammary gland. After the summer she was contracted as a student assistant to supervise other students in the evaluation of the whole mounts of rats treated with different agents.


Victoria Hung, student from Northeastern University, worked under Maria Barton, MS mentorship on researching the role of genes associated with lncRNAs differentially expressed in parous tissue.

Courtney Michener from La Salle University worked under the mentorship of Yanrong Su, PhD, Nathan Hopfinger BS, and Thomas Pogash BS. During her stay in the BCRL, she displayed a real interest in basic and applied sciences by learning several techniques of cell and molecular biology. She performed immuno-histochemical analysis for detecting cell proliferation and apoptosis in breast epithelial cells. In addition, she studied the EpCAM as a marker of stem cells in triple negative and ER negative breast cancer tissues.


Cody Watson was a junior at Wafford College in South Caroline when he was an intern in our lab in summer of 2014.. He worked under the mentorship of Julia Santucci-Pereira, PhD on the identification of methylation location in genes differentially methylated between parous and nulliparous women. In collaboration with Sandy Weng, a Co-Op intern from Drexel University, and under the mentorship of Dr Julia Santucci-Pereira, he developed a Python software package, PyMethyl, that enables users to find locations of significant methylation events. It allows for flexible and custom searches through genome to demonstrate different methylated patterns throughout specific genes. In addition, Cody worked with Dr Julia Santucci-Pereira in the development of a survey and IRB protocols for a pilot study with hCG.

Hannah Morrissey was a junior Cell/Molecular Biology major at Washington & Jefferson College IN WASHINGTON, PA. During her internship at the BCRL, she worked under Jose Russo, MD, studying the tridimensional architecture of the human breast of a woman exposed to hCG treatment. She contributed to the essay presented by Juliana Supplee. In addition, Hannah worked with Dr Julia Santucci-Pereira in the development of a survey and IRB protocols for a pilot study with hCG.

Aysenur Azra Vural was a second year medical student from Sifa University School of Medicine, Turkey. During her stay in the BCRL she was mentored by Dr Julia Santucci-Pereira and Ranju Kunwor, MD toevaluate the whole mount preparations of breast tissue of BCRA1 mutated carriers. She performed microscopic analysis of the human breast and conducted basic statistical analysis. One of the objectives was to establish the relevance of her data in cancer prevention that she did it in a final presentation in our weekly seminar meetings on August 22, 2014.

Juliana Supplee was a junior at Boston University when she was an intern in the BCRL in the summer of 2014. She worked under Jose Russo, MD studying the tridimensional architecture of the human breast of a woman exposed to hCG treatment. Juliana presented an outstanding essay on the morphological analysis of the right and left breast tissue of a BRCA-1(+) nulliparous woman treated with hCG. In addition, Juliana worked with Dr Julia Santucci-Pereira in the development of a survey and IRB protocols for a pilot study with hCG. The figure below clearly demonstrates the methodology that she used in studying the normal human breast: