Science Student Lillian Horin ’17 Earns Exceptional Research Opportunity

Lillian Horin '17Claremont, Calif. (February 10, 2016)— Pitzer College student Lillian Horin ’17 has been selected as one of 70 undergraduates from across the US to participate in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP). The program provides college students from groups underrepresented in the sciences with an opportunity to conduct research under the mentorship of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists. Horin will be researching retinal metabolism with geneticist Constance Cepko in the Cepko Lab at Harvard Medical School this summer.

EXROP supports 10 weeks of full-time summer research in the lab of a HHMI scientist, provides a $5,000 stipend, and covers travel and housing for selected participants. The program extends beyond the summer research session—HHMI scientists continue to mentor students throughout their undergraduate careers, and EXROP students are invited to participate in the program’s annual meetings in spring 2016 and 2017.

Horin, who is majoring in biology at Pitzer College, is looking forward to the rich research experience EXROP offers.

“This is an opportunity to be a part the most cutting-edge biomedical research you can find,” she said.

EXROP aims to prepare highly trained, diverse scientists for leadership roles. Horin has already proven herself to be a leader in the sciences at The Claremont Colleges. She is the vice president of the 5C chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Last fall, she earned an outstanding research presentation award in physiology at the 2015 SACNAS conference.

Horin takes an interdisciplinary approach—pulling from biology, chemistry, and physics—to biomedical research. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in science research to find new ways to improve the treatment of diabetes and its macrovascular and microvascular complications, particularly diabetic retinopathy. She is also committed to improving retention of underrepresented students, especially first-generation college students, in the science fields.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a science philanthropy dedicated to advancing biomedical research and science education. HHMI’s Exceptional Research Opportunities Program has matched 798 undergraduates from 160 colleges and universities with 214 HHMI investigators, professors, group leaders and early career scientists. In 2012, HHMI awarded $3.6 million to The Claremont Colleges to support efforts that prepare undergraduates to become leaders in science research and medicine.

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