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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:  Differential aging of the degenerative spine
Disciplines:  Computer Science, All majors are welcome, but the project is best suited for students interested in pursuing a career in medicine
Mentor:  Michael Safaee, Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, (BBE),, Phone: 818-693-4242
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  NOTE1: This project is being offered by an off-campus mentor and is open only to Caltech students. The project will be conducted at the University of Southern California Health Science Campus/Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California.

NOTE2: This is a unique opportunity for students to gain exposure to the medical field and contribute to research with implications towards improving our understanding of aging in the human spine. Students who contribute to this study and perform well will be included in all publications generated from these data.

Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Traditional models on lumbar spine disease have focused on the disc degeneration, however the paraspinal musculature remains a poorly understood mediator of pain and disability. This project aims to characterize functional, radiographic, and genetic features of paraspinal muscle in patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery.
Description:  Students will assist in the radiographic analysis of lumbar spine MRIs to help us better characterize degeneration of the paraspinal musculature using a radiomics-based approach.
Student Requirements:  Recommended (but not required) background knowledge of spine anatomy and lumbar spine MRI.

Students with experience in machine learning would be well suited for this project.

There may be some citizenship requirements regarding access to medical records but we should be able to work around them.
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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