The 2013 Sansum Diabetes Research Institute summer research interns are (left to right): Joshua Kalish, Homaira Zaman, Kara Lu, Sophie Pollack, Adrian Cotarelo and Andrew Thorne. Photo: Peter Hung, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute.

Six academically-gifted college students from across the United States have been appointed to the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute summer internship program. The rigorous, five-week program, which began on Monday, July 1st, continues through Friday, August 9th. Funding for the program comes from The Donald and Coeta Barker Foundation endowment fund, in addition to endowment funds from the Helen Close Foundation, the Parson Foundation, and the Robert Demott Fund.

According to Rem Laan, Sansum Diabetes Executive Director, “This year’s class is a diverse, highly-qualified group of young science scholars. They were selected from a competitive field of over 60 applicants. The program, which has been in existence for more than twenty years, offers interns a rare opportunity to deeply experience our research, education and care programs that support our mission to prevent, treat and cure diabetes. We see the program as vital to supporting the next generation of caring physicians skilled in managing and preventing diabetes in their patients.”

Directed by Board Vice President Sandra Tillisch Svoboda, interns participate in a weekly journal club where they learn to critically evaluate scientific literature, attend presentations on all aspects of diabetes given by staff, visiting scientists, and practicing physicians in the community, shadow doctors in a wide-range of specialty practices, and participate in discussions on current issues in medicine.

Virtually all previous Sansum Diabetes interns have gone on to medical school or graduate school, attending some of the finest institutions in the nation, including Vanderbilt University, University of Pennsylvania and University of California, San Francisco. Some former interns have specialized in endocrinology and diabetes. They become experts in diabetes research and treatment protocols, thus expanding Sansum Diabetes Research Institute’s reach and helping to improve the lives of people with diabetes around the world.

Our 2013 interns include:

Adrian Cotarelo

College attending: The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Major: Public Health Studies

Minor: Spanish for the Professions

Background experiences: EMS, research, and the field of public health

Future Plans: Plans to attend medical school, but planning to first apply to the Masters of Health Science Epidemiology program at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Joshua Kalish

College attending: Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Major: Mathematics

Background experiences: Helped implement electronic medical records for three physicians’ offices and shadowed physicians. Involved in creating a nonprofit organization that helps support and comfort patients undergoing treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

Future Plans: Clinical practice

Kara Lu

College attending: Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

Major: Biology

Minor: Computer Science

Background experiences: Spent a year working in an evolutionary genetics lab sequencing and genotyping DNA for various weevil populations in the Galapagos Islands. Interned at MedImmune, LLC., which gave her experience in learning and adapting to new techniques and technology in an industry setting. Had a position in the Human-Computer Interaction lab where the research centered around the role of computers in synthetic biology.

Future Plans: Clinical practice

Andrew Thorne

College attending: UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Major: Public Health

Background experiences: Worked in rural Honduras doing public health and medical volunteer work. Has been a research assistant developing skills in transfection, cell culture, and immunohistochemistry.

Future Plans: Medical school

Homaira Zaman

College attending: UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA (graduated 6/13)

Major: Biochemistry

Background experiences: Volunteer in the oncology department of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Emergency room, GVCH, shadowed pediatrics and internal medicine at Sansum Clinic. Worked in the Hayton Lab, UCSB, investigating possible new methods of carbon-nitrogen bond formation. Most recently investigated the scope of copper-mediated catalysis.

Future Plans: Medical school

Sophie Pollack

College attending: UCLA

Major: Psychobiology

Background experiences: UCLA Care Extenders Medical Internship. Intern on Liver Transplant Floor, Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit, and Emergency Department UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital and UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica

About Sansum Diabetes Research Institute

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute is an internationally recognized research center devoted to the prevention, treatment and cure of diabetes. Dr. William D. Sansum, who brought renown to Santa Barbara in 1922 as the first physician in the U.S. to produce and administer life-saving insulin to patients with diabetes, founded the nonprofit organization in 1944. Today, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute remains an extraordinary place, where diabetes research, nutrition, education, and diabetes prevention have improved the lives of people worldwide who suffer from this serious disease.

Sansum Diabetes has gained global acclaim for its work to develop an artificial pancreas, its success in developing protocols to increase the incidence of healthy babies born to women with diabetes, and its work with people with and at risk for type 2 diabetes. Physicians and researchers continue to develop new treatment protocols for people with diabetes, including new drugs and medical devices.

It is our intention to use our past and present accomplishments to guide us into the future – to tap into the energy and commitment that made Sansum Diabetes Research Institute what it is today – a worldwide leader in diabetes research, prevention, and treatment. For more information on Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, contact Sarah Ettman-Sterner at (805) 682-7638 or and visit



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