The Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (PTEI) is the applicant for this R25 Award to support a Summer Internship Program for undergraduate college and university students in Tissue Engineering (TE) research. PTEI is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to foster TE research and education regionally, nationally, and internationally. Six major regional academic institutions are members of PTEI and provide the venues for TE research and development. PTEI supports these organizations through seed research grants and educational programs, including its college undergraduate Summer Internship Program (SIP). The PTEI SIP began in 1997. It is 10 weeks long. The number of interns in each of the past five years has been 11, 18, 21, 18, and 17, respectively, determined by available funding. For the first four years, alI stipends and other program costs were supported by regional southwestern Pennsylvania foundations. For 2001 and the upcoming 2002 program, six positions are supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. Students are PTEI employees during their internships. Mentors are chosen from the six-member academic institutions, based on the correspondence between the student's area of interest and the mentor's expertise. The SIP culminates in a Graduation Day, during which the interns give both oral and poster presentations of their work and receive certificates of completion. Attendees include the interns, their immediate families, their research mentors, PTEI Board members and administrative staff, and other interested researchers. In 2001, a U.S. Senator attended, and an award was presented in his name to an intern for outstanding scholarship and community service as an undergraduate. Also included are required instruction in the responsible conduct of research, networking with interns in other summer programs, and opportunities to attend cultural and sports events. The SIP has been quite successful in encouraging participants to pursue postgraduate education; e.g., 11 former interns are attending medical school, 8 in Pittsburgh, and 5 more have been accepted to medical school. On average, 29% of past interns have been quantitative/physical science majors--an R25 Award will allow PTEI to double this percentage and increase class size by specifically targeting quantitative/physical science majors. Based on the track record of the SIP, many of these students will be attracted to biomedicine, biotechnology, and TE for further training and career choices.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-BRT-4 (SU))
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Zlotnik, Hinda
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Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative
United States
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