Mount Sinai Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-Based Center (SBDRC)

Mount Sinai Skin Scholars Program

SBDRC has established the Mount Sinai Skin Scholars Program in partnership with Icahn Mount Sinai’s Center for Excellence in Youth Education. This program provides underserved minority East Harlem high school students with didactic teaching and hands-on laboratory experience in skin biology and diseases research. The Director of the Mount Sinai Skin Scholars Program is Sarah E. Millar, PhD and the Associate Director is Kenya Townsend.

Each fall, the program recruits 10th grade students through a long-standing formal Memorandum of Agreement between the Center for Excellence in Youth Education and the Manhattan Center for Science and Math High School, a local low-resource minority high school. Students nominated by their science teacher submit a short essay describing their interest in a biomedical career, their current transcript, and answers to science knowledge questions. Applications are evaluated by a faculty committee organized by Dr. Miller.

The program includes:

  • Summer preparatory course. Rising juniors participate in a six-week, 150-hour summer course including didactic lectures on basic concepts in molecular biology and skin biology and diseases with presentations from SBDRC Resource Core Directors and volunteers; hands-on training in basic laboratory skills; culturing experiments to learn about the skin microbiome; viewing of histological sections of skin diseases; visiting core labs; and meeting with dermatology patient volunteers who speak about their skin conditions and treatment. The goal is to interest students in skin research and prepare them for SBDRC lab internships. Students receive a stipend to support their living expenses.
  • Internships in SBDRC laboratories. Students who complete the prep course are offered paid six-week internships in SBDRC laboratories the following summer to carry out a research project under the guidance of an SBDRC trainee; allowing students to “act as scientists” enhances their attitudes to science and likelihood of pursuing higher education. Students attend lectures from SBDRC faculty and trainees on topics relevant to skin research, a presentation on college applications and preparedness, and social events with minority graduate students. Students maintain laboratory notebooks, give 10-minute Powerpoint presentations, and write a short research paper on their project at the end of the summer.

The Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center (SBDRC) at Mount Sinai offers a variety of events, including research seminars and the New York Skin Club.