Yonathan Tarekegne Ararso ’13 will spend his summer working in one of the top stem cell research labs in the country after being admitted into the Exceptional Research Opportunities (EXROP) Program of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The EXROP program was created by HHMI in 2003 with the goal of increasing the diversity of the science professoriate. EXROP matches undergraduates from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences with HHMI scientists to participate in summer-long research experiences. Applications to the EXROP program are by invitation only from HHMI professors. Yonathan’s application was made possible by Dr. Sally Elgin of Washington University of St. Louis and her Genomics Education Partnership which works with faculty across the country to provide genomics education and research opprtunities to undergraduate institutions, including Dr. Mike Wolyniak at Hampden-Sydney.
Yonathan will work this summer with HHMI professor Shahin Rafii (http://www.hhmi.org/research/investigators/rafii_bio.html) at Cornell’s Weill Medical College in New York City. Dr. Rafii’s work seeks to create stable embryonic stem cell lines for use in a variety of therapeutic techniques and to understand the biological factors that determine how mammalian cells develop into specific differentiated cell types.