By Susan Motander
Recently, the innovative individuals at Oak Crest Institute of Science, winner of the Monroe Award as the business citizen of the year, presented its first annual symposium to explain some of the projects which they are involved in; but that was not the entire program.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Jerome Zach, professor and chair, Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, Director of the UCLA Center for AIDS Research, and co-director, UCLA AIDS Institute. Needless to say, he spoke on current developments in AIDS research. Did you know a person known as the “Berlin Patient” has actually been cured of AIDS? This has led to research dubbed “Kick and Kill” that is being tested on humanized rats (the explanation of that would take more space then my editor allows for an entire article). The bottom line is that there is hope and a real plan.
Perhaps the highlight of the symposium was the presentations of the Rose Hills Foundation Fellows. These community college students are doing high-end research on diverse subjects most so esoteric as to be beyond the understanding of most lay persons. To do this, they used the advanced equipment available at Oak Crest. It is one of the hallmarks of the institute that they make this high-end equipment available to these students rather than relying on graduate students and post-doctoral students. Virtually from the beginning of its research projects, Oak Crest has used both unpaid and paid interns who are community college students. Most of these students come from Pasadena and Citrus Community Colleges.