BLaST-sponsored Biomedical Exploration Experience (BEE) Course at University of Alaska Fairbanks

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By Amy Topkok

The BEE course, in its third year, was designed for undergraduate students considering careers in medicine or science, and offers many firsthand opportunities to learn various techniques and experience environments found in the medical and scientific fields. Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center (CAIHC-Fairbanks), which is run by Tanana Chiefs Conference, a local Interior Alaska tribal organization, and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital /Interior AHEC are major contributors that provide guest speakers and experienced staff to demonstrate techniques such as cell culture, PCR, neuroscience techniques, and immunohistochemistry techniques in both the lab and demonstrated on-site.

BLaST BEE students with instructor and Research Advising and Mentoring Professional, Natalia Podlutskaya, in May 2018.


The course was held in the clinic and hospital, and included lectures in classrooms at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Collaboration with University of Alaska Fairbanks Community & Technical College (CTC) Paramedic Academy provided valuable guest speakers as well. BLaST supplies the tuition for scholars and transportation costs, some of which included helping the students produce posters to present at the University of Alaska – Biomedical Research Conference held in Anchorage, Alaska. BLaST Research Advising Mentoring Professional (RAMP) Natalia Podlutskaya organized and taught the class. The students included five BLaST Scholars and one additional UAF undergraduate.



BLaST Graduate Mentoring Research Assistant Carla Frare (l) explains neuroanatomical structures in the arctic ground squirrel using a rat brain atlas for comparision to Daniel McCoy (r) and other students during the BEE course in May 2018.

BLaST Scholars Kristian Rivera (l), and Ana Fiorella Carrasco (m) with Justin Williams (r), a UAF CTC paramedic instructor, learning vital signs assessing techniques during the BEE course in May 2018.

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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