On Wednesday, March 26, Hiram College biochemistry major Christopher Penton (Conneaut, OH; Conneaut High School) presented his Apprenticeship Experience (APEX) project to a packed classroom of science majors, faculty, and guests.
Penton’s research, “Pancreatic development: A conditional expression approach,” studied the development of pancreatic cells in the hopes of uncovering ways to artificially transform embryonic stem cells into mature cells to treat diabetes. In addition to providing students applied science research experience in the lab, the APEX projects often serve as a launching pad for further research and a career.
“Chris inserted well into the lab, he is easy going, and also highly motivated. He now appears to be fully confident that a research career is the one he wants,” said Jan Jensen, the Brandon Chair of Diabetes Research at the Lerner Research Institute at The Cleveland Clinic.
Penton’s experience led him to explore graduates studies. He has been admitted to Ph.D. programs at both the Lerner Research Institute (a joint program with Case Western Reserve University) and The Ohio State University. Admissions to these programs are competitive; in fact, the Lerner Institute admits only 10 new Ph.D. students per year.
“I have offered him a graduate student position in my lab if he wants to study here at the Clinic for his Ph.D.,” said Jensen.
Biochemistry and other science majors at Hiram College must complete an APEX and a public presentation as part of their graduation requirements.