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Epidemics, Outbreaks, & Contagion

Three-Week Summer Medicine Program

BioSTEM Award, 2018, J&J • Top Summer Science Program, 2011-2019, NY Times/ • Top Robotics Program, 2017, RoboLoco • Best Medicine Program, 2018, ParentMap • Top Biomedical Engineering, •
Top 101 Summer Camps & Programs, • Top Biomedical Engineering, 2017,

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Students seeking a career in medicine: Virology and Immunology are key courses in the pre-med curriculum. Now you don’t have to wait until college to explore these areas!

Measles, smallpox, cholera, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria influenza, MRSA, Ebola – many of the most deadly contagious diseases are not fully understood. During this three week course, we will explore the nature of many of these pathogens and discuss their transmission, prevention and treatment. Specific focus will be on HIV infection, influenza and cholera, but attention will also be given to additional viral, bacterial and parasitic infections.

In 2019, students began by studying the historical and modern ramifications of bacteria, viruses, and parasites, soon after moving on to infectious disease identification. Amongst several additional activities, students isolated and identified microbes in a hands-on lab and headed to Cambridge to visit the Harvard Infectious Disease Labs. After broadening their horizons during the first week, student dove into the nitty gritty details.

Date: July 13th – July 31st
Longwood Medical – Boston, MA

How do microbes damage their host cells and impair structure and function? How do they become pathogenic? Labs during this unit included sample culturing, epidemic simulations, and a mock diagnosis and treatment of infections.

After two weeks of intense research, 2019’s program culminated with studies in immunity functions and vaccines, specifically exploring HIV. Student analyzed their own collected data, interpreted results, and presented their findings to the class. In the midst of it all, they also squeezed in a trip to the Microbial Life exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History!

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This is a competitive admissions summer research program designed for teens.

Field Trips

In past years, students attending the Biomedical Research: Contagious Disease summer program have visited The Museum of Science where they learned in-depth about biology in the Hall of Human Life & The Broad Institute where they saw cutting-edge biotechnology.

Contagious disease graphic 3
Contagious disease graphic 2
Sarah Sherman Profile

Sarah Sherman

Sarah has received a multitude of awards and scholarships, including the University of Florida’s Outstanding Scholar Award, the W.W Massey Presidential Scholarship from the University of Florida’s Dean’s office, and the Dean’s Preeminence Scholarship. Sarah has completed research on host-virus interactions and host-parasite coevolution, antibiotic resistance and phage-host protein interactions, toxic phage proteins, E. coli resistance, and much more. Sarah joined Boston Leadership Institute in 2018 as the TA for Biomedical Research: Contagious Disease and earned rave reviews from our students! She is currently a medical student at the University of Florida College of Medicine. She previously earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from UF, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. 

Student Comments

‘I really liked this program. Sarah was really kind and supportive and even helped me when I had questions. I hope to come back to this program next year.’

‘Our program was really good. Sarah was a great teacher. We learned a lot of interesting new techniques and went in depth with interpretation. The program was enriching and we had a lot of fun.’

‘I absolutely loved my program I learned so much. The labs were extremely unique and definitely a once in a lifetime experience! I will miss the program so much! Way cooler than school! The field trips were eye-opening and really made me realize how much I want to be a medical researcher.’

‘My program was amazing. I loved the balance of labs and classes. The information given was challenging yet engaging. The trips to the research labs were so inspirational!’

Students pose for a photo in the Biomedical Research: Contagious Disease three-week medicine program

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