Collaboration between Bellevue College and Fred Hutch

Fred Hutch and Bellevue College Collaboration

Since 2014 the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center has been working with Bellevue College to support BC students who wish to pursue careers in the sciences.  Every year employees from Fred Hutch serve as guest speakers and mentors in BC’s STEM to Stern program, helping students learn more about scientific careers and stay the course in their STEM studies.

This growing collaboration now includes training opportunities for BC faculty.  Twelve BC faculty became affiliates of Fred Hutch in 2016, and they have worked with Hutch staff to learn cutting-edge lab techniques in five core areas: electron microscopy, scientific imaging, genomics, proteomics, and flow cytometry.  This collaboration has extended the ability of our faculty to incorporate such techniques into their classrooms or into their research work with BC students.  You can learn more about this one-of-a-kind partnership here.  BC faculty interested in joining the program and becoming affiliates of Fred Hutch training should contact Michael Reese.

Research Opportunities for Community College Students (ROCCS)

The ROCCS program has given BC students an opportunity to engage in authentic research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a world-class research institute dedicated to preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.  Students receive training in laboratory methods in genomics and take part in a year-long laboratory research experience under the mentorship of personnel from Fred Hutch and from BC.

Highlights from Past Research

Biswajit (Bish) Paul
Biswajit (Bish) Paul

In the 2015-16 school year, BC student Teresa Einhaus worked under the direction of Biswajit (Bish) Paul in the laboratory of Dr. Hans-Peter Keim.  Bish recently completed his doctoral studies at the University of Washington, and he hopes to make a significant difference in the emerging field of HIV cure research.  His research used genome editing to engineer human T-cells such that they are resistant to HIV entry and subsequent infection.  Bish is also committed to increasing community understanding of science and to increasing diversity in the scientific workforce.  He has completed a Science Communication Fellowship program at the Pacific Science Center, as well as an Emerging Leaders in Science & Society Fellowship through the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  His work as a RISE Learning Institute Teaching Fellow at Bellevue College combined his innovative research with his passion for outreach.  Bish has been instrumental in providing feedback on the structure and design of the RISE teaching fellowship.

During her research experience, Teresa was in her second year at Bellevue College.  She helped Bish investigate chemoselection and expansion of genetically modified cells. A current limitation in the emerging field of anti-cancer immunotherapy is the low yield of modified cells, and Bish’s work examined a method of overcoming this constraint using methotrexate.   Methotrexate is an FDA-approved drug used to destroy rapidly dividing cells by blocking their metabolism of folic acid.  With the addition of a construct providing methotrexate resistance, modified T cell populations can be selectively expanded.  The purpose of Teresa’s study was to determine the optimal concentrations and timing for the addition of methotrexate to select for target cell populations.  Teresa presented her findings at the University of Washington Undergraduate Research Symposium on May 20, 2016.

Information for Students & Applying to ROCCS

The Research Opportunities for Community College (ROCCS) program gives BC students an opportunity to engage in meaningful research at a world-class research institute, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The ROCCS program lasts an entire academic year.  During Fall Quarter, students work primarily on the BC campus, and they build lab skills by taking a course in Laboratory Methods in Genomics.  They will read and evaluate relevant articles in the scientific literature, write and refine researchable questions and develop a research proposal, and start learning relevant laboratory protocols.  During the Winter and Spring Quarters, students take a 2-credit Experiential Learning course.  They will divide their time between the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the BC campus.  They will gather, analyze, and present their data.  Scholarship support is available to cover 100% of the tuition and fees for all three courses.

In order to be considered for the ROCCS program, students must commit to participate in all three quarters.  They must have a cumulative BC GPA of 3.0 or better have completed BIOL 211, BIOL 275, or CHEM 275 (or already be enrolled in BIOL 275 for the Fall).  They also must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, asylum seeker, or refugee.  Students will be selected on the basis of their laboratory skills and experience and their academic performance at Bellevue College.  Special consideration will be given to students from groups underrepresented in the STEM fields and/or low-income students

Bellevue College students interested in the ROCCS program should contact Lindi Mujugira to sign up for email alerts about this program.  Dr. Mujugira will notify interested students when the program begins accepting new applications, which is usually in late April or early May.

Serving as a Teaching Fellow for ROCCS

The Research Opportunities for Community College Students (ROCCS) program provides opportunities for diverse community college students to engage in authentic research at Fred Hutch.  It also gives Hutch-based graduate students and postdoctoral fellows a chance to enhance their skills as undergraduate educators.  Participating graduate students and postdoctoral fellows become RISE Learning Institute Teaching Fellows and work with BC’s Dean of Undergraduate Research, Dr. Gita Bangera.

While the ROCCS program spans an entire academic year from September to June, the primary input from the Teaching Fellows is during the Winter Quarter (January-March).

In Fall Quarter (September-December), Teaching Fellows will complete a one-day workshop on best practices in undergraduate STEM education and observe undergraduate lab classes.  For the teaching component, Teaching Fellows will work in conjunction with Dr. Bangera to develop 6 hours of lessons, which may include lectures, journal clubs, demonstrations, and/or assessment activities.  As part of those lessons, the Teaching Fellows will discuss their own research work and create lectures that are the “hot topics” highlight in an undergraduate biology class.

In Winter Quarter Teaching Fellows will mentor 1 or 2 BC students on an undergraduate research project that is based on the fellow’s research.  The BC undergraduate(s) will spend at least two, 4-hour sessions per week on the Fred Hutch-based research project at Fred Hutch.  Fred Hutch Principal Investigators must approve of the arrangement.  Fred Hutch and BC staff are available to advise Teaching Fellows on how to select a suitable project. An ideal project will engage students in an authentic research question, be tractable within a 12+ week time frame, and is generally not crucial to advancing the lab’s research (but it can…and might!).

In Spring Quarter (April-June) BC undergraduates will analyze their findings with remote or occasional in-person advising from the Teaching Fellow. The Teaching Fellow will coach the undergraduates on appropriate analyses and conclusions. The undergraduates will present a poster at the University of Washington Undergraduate Research Symposium in May and also at a venue at Fred Hutch.

This is a pilot program.  Teaching Fellows will have significant opportunity to give feedback and shape the future direction of the program.

Teaching Fellows must be advanced doctoral candidates or postdoctoral fellows at Fred Hutch and have U.S. work authorization.  They must have an interest in teaching and mentoring undergraduates, as well as the approval of their Principal Investigator.  Hutch personnel interested in participating should contact Liza Ray.

Last Updated January 5, 2021