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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:  Linking vascular stiffening in the eye with vision loss
Disciplines:  Bioengineering, Biology
Mentor:  Kaustabh Ghosh, Assoc. Prof. of Ophthalmol, UCLA & Doheny Eye Inst, (BBE),, Phone: 323-342-7164
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  NOTE: This project is being offered by a UCLA Professor and is open only to Caltech students. The project will be conducted at the UCLA-affiliated Doheny Eye Institute at 150 N. Orange Grove Ave in Pasadena. Doheny Scientists perform research relevant to ophthalmological diseases and retinal biology.

Research in the Ghosh lab focuses on vascular mechanobiology, which is the study of the biological response of blood vessels to changes in mechanical cues such as stiffness and hemodynamic forces. Specifically, they aim to understand the mechanobiology of retinal vascular inflammation and degeneration in eye diseases, specifically diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading causes of vision loss in the global diabetic and elderly population, respectively. Currently, DR and AMD are clinically managed only in their advanced stages that are marked by excessive multiplication and leakiness of blood vessels in the inner and outer retinal layers. However, current treatments are ineffective in many patients and involve repeated eye injections with potential complications. Managing DR and AMD at their early stages, when these blood vessels degenerate, is therefore deemed a preferred strategy. But exactly how these vessels are lost early on remains poorly understood.

The Ghosh lab is taking a multidisciplinary approach to understand and prevent this early loss of blood vessels in DR and AMD. Integrating the principles of vascular biology, mechanobiology, inflammation, and bioengineering, their work has introduced a new paradigm that implicates vascular 'stiffness' as a crucial determinant of vascular degeneration associated with early DR and AMD. Their ongoing studies aim to identify the factors that alter vascular stiffness in the eye and uncover the mechanobiological mechanisms by which altered stiffness causes vascular loss in diabetes and aging.
Description:  The Ghosh lab is looking for a student who is interested in multidisciplinary research related to vascular mechanobiology. Depending on the student’s interests and background, the student may choose to work either on the DR or AMD project. A typical summer research experience will involve literature search and critical thinking, experimental design, standard laboratory techniques such as mammalian cell culture, microscopy, immunolabeling, gel electrophoresis, and RT-qPCR, and data analysis, interpretation, and presentation.
References:  DR project:
AMD project:
Student Requirements:  The student must have a general understanding of the principles of cell biology and physiology and an aptitude for critical thinking and wet-bench techniques. Interested students are encouraged to directly email Prof. Ghosh.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

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

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