The Moore American

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July 8, 2009

NEW: Student trades summer for science

OKLAHOMA CITY — For many students, summer marks a time for rest and relaxation.

But don’t tell that to Moore High School graduate Travis Chapman.

Chapman is one of a dozen of Oklahoma’s top high school and college science students who traded summer for science.

As a Sir Alexander Fleming Scholar at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, he opted to trade a swimsuit for a lab coat so he can help OMRF scientists answer some of biomedical research’s most challenging questions.

“I’ve had a really exceptional time at OMRF,” said Baylor University student Chapman, who is trying to find the function of the gene RASAL3.

“I think lab work is really exciting. Eventually, I want to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience, but I’ve also learned that I’m interested in immunology while I’ve been here. Working in a lab this summer has really shown me how cool science is.”

Since 1956, OMRF has opened its labs to the state’s most promising students, providing them with opportunities to work alongside senior scientists and publish their findings.

Over the years, more than 100 Fleming Scholars have gone on to careers in medicine and research.

“It’s a wonderful experience, one that bears fruit for both the students and the scientists,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D.

“The Fleming Scholars get to do the kind of research that’s rare even for college students, and our scientists benefit from the drive, insight and fresh perspective that these budding researchers bring to the lab.”

The program is named for Sir Alexander Fleming, the scientist who discovered penicillin and first visited the U.S. in 1949 to serve as the keynote speaker at OMRF’s groundbreaking.

OMRF is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and developing more effective treatments for human diseases.

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