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Amgen Scholars: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty for the Amgen Scholars program.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. For additional tips on identifying a mentor click here.

Please remember:

  • Students pursuing Amgen must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or students with DACA status.
  • Students pursuing Amgen must complete the 10-week program from June 18 - August 23, 2024. Students must commit to these dates. No exceptions will be made.
  • Accepted students must live in provided Caltech housing.

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Project:  Calcium isotopes in urine as a tracer of bone health
Disciplines:  Geochemistry, Isotope metallomics
Mentor:  Francois Tissot, Assistant Professor, (GPS),
Background:  The burgeoning field of Isotope metallomics uses the natural distribution of isotopes in the human body to monitor the onset of diseases and understand their evolution. In particular, Calcium isotopes have shown great promise as tracers of bone mass balance. This is because 99% of the body’s Ca is stored in the bones and even small amount of bone mass loss, or onset of chronic bone mass loss (i.e., early stages of osteoporosis), contribute significantly to the blood and urine Ca budget and can offset their isotopic compositions relative to a healthy control group. To understand the true diagnostic power of Ca isotopes hinted at by current pioneering studies, the Isotoparium is conducting a systematic study of Ca isotopes in urine samples from patients both healthy and suffering bone mass loss.
Description:  We seek a dependable student who is excited to join the Isotoparium for 10 weeks to help in the systematic study of Ca isotopes in urine samples from patients both healthy and suffering bone mass loss. The student will work in an ultra-clean, metal-free laboratory to (i) digest samples using acid attacks techniques, (ii) extract Ca from the samples using automated low-pressure liquid-chromatography techniques, and (iii) measure the Ca isotope composition on a state-of-the-art Multi-Collector Inductively-Coupled-Plasma Mass-Spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS). The student will also be expected to help with recruiting new participants for the study, and interpreting the data to understand their implications for the use of Ca isotopes are a tracer of bone health in humans. The student will be mentored primarily by two postdocs leading the study, and will be exposed and trained in methods that are only available in a handful of laboratories around the world.
Student Requirements:  Work in a clean lab environment is rewarding but difficult and thus requires:
- the capacity to work meticulously and pay great attention to details,
- on the spot critical thinking,
- fine motor skills to handle biological samples in ultra-clean hoods,
- the capacity to learn from mistakes (one’s own and those of others) and adjust behaviors accordingly,
- and the ability to focus for extended periods of time.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       Amgen Scholars    Non-Caltech students only  
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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