high school students at Cedars-SinaiPhoto courtesy of Cedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos Angeles - July 17, 2015 - Twenty-one Los Angeles high school students  are participating in hands-on stem cell research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center this week to get a jump-start on potential careers in scientific research.

The students' work is part of the fourth annual Research Week program at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute.

The program is an enriched learning opportunity that provides students with a basic understanding of stem cell research.

"The students never cease to amaze," says research scientist Virginia Mattis, PhD, co-coordinator of the program. "The mission of the program is to inform young scholars of the future of medicine and to make a contribution to science education."

Students will work all week in the lab with scientific mentors and attend lectures with scientists and physicians. They will get hands-on experience using lab equipment as they try to solve a stem cell-based question posed at the start of the program. At the end of the week, the students will share their findings in a special closing presentation.

The students are chosen through Cedars-Sinai Volunteer Services and the Youth Employment and Development Program. "For the students, it is an unprecedented opportunity to see and learn up-close from leaders in the field of regenerative medicine, said Alysia Caldwell, Research Week’s co-coordinator. "We expect the exposure to scientific research at a young age to be invaluable as these students move forward with their education, and we look forward to their return as the scientific researchers of the future."