TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy Welcomes Inaugural Class

Helios Education Foundation sponsors new program exclusively for high school students

On June 18, 2018,  teenagers from throughout Arizona formed the first class of TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy, a program specifically geared for high school students looking to elevate their understanding of bioscience and precision medicine.

Ashley Avila, who this fall will be a senior at Nogales High School, is among the 20 Arizona high school students who will learn advanced scientific and professional skills as they spend the next two weeks with world-class scientists at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

“I applied to the TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy to improve my foundation in bioscience,” said Ashley, who is planning to study infectious diseases and vaccines in college. “Coming from a small town with a relative lack of resources, I realized TGen was a wonderful opportunity to study biomedicine, listen to experts in the field, and visit a premier research center.”

TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy is the second summer instructional program at TGen sponsored by Helios Education Foundation. It builds on the success of the ongoing Helios Scholars at TGen, which is now designed exclusively for undergraduate and graduate college students, including those in medical school. Now in its 12th year, Helios Scholars at TGen provides up to 45 students each summer with an eight-week paid internship, preparing the next generation of Arizona bioscience researchers and physicians.

By initiating a separate program for high school students, TGen and Helios will enable more students to participate.

“TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy creates a new opportunity for younger students,” said Julie Euber, TGen Manager of Education and Outreach. “Thanks to the generosity of Helios Education Foundation, high school students interested in the biosciences now have a program specifically tailored to provide them with a broad view biomedical career possibilities.”

The inaugural class of TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy runs today through June 29. Applicants must be 16 at the time the program starts, and in the fall entering their junior or senior year of high school. Only one student is selected from any one Arizona high school each year, ensuring participation from as many as 20 schools. Each student receives a $1,000 scholarship.

TGen scientists will share research expertise and technical skills, experimental design, and the translational process of quickly moving laboratory discoveries into new therapeutics to benefit patients with neurological disorders, infectious diseases and many types of cancer.

Both Helios programs at TGen are designed to: increase access to academic experiences for underrepresented populations; demonstrate TGen’s and Helios’ leadership in innovative bioscience education; and enable graduates to become peer models who can inspire other students to achieve.

“By immersing these students in one of the world’s premier research laboratories, TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy will be a creative and challenging way for these younger students to advance to a higher academic level, preparing them — as with Helios Scholars at TGen — for success in college and career,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation.

For Ashley, TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy is an opportunity to expand her knowledge of genomics, delving into the world of precision medicine and clinical trials, benefitting real-world patients.

“I hope to make meaningful connections with TGen staff, as well as other students with an interest in bioscience,” she said.

For more information, please contact Julie Euber, TGen Manager of Education and Outreach, at or 602-343-8459, or go to

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About TGen

Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes, and infectious diseases, through cutting edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research towards patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and rare complex diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities literally worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen is affiliated with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and cancer and diabetes treatment center: This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen.

About Helios Education Foundation

Helios Education Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to achieve a postsecondary education. The Foundation’s work is driven by four fundamental beliefs in Community, Equity, Investment and Partnership. Helios invests in programs and initiatives across the full education continuum – from early grade success through postsecondary education. In Arizona, where Latino students comprise the largest percentage of the K-12 public school population, the Foundation is implementing its Arizona Latino Student Success initiative focused on preparing all students – especially students in high poverty, underserved Latino communities – for success. Through Helios’ Florida Regional Student Success Initiative, the Foundation is helping underserved, minority, first-generation students from the state’s large population centers in Miami, Orlando and Tampa achieve a postsecondary education. Since 2006, the Foundation has invested more than $200 million in education programs and initiatives in both states. To learn more about Helios, visit us online at

Media Contact:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Sr Science Writer

Media Contact:
Rebecca Lindgren
Vice President, Marketing Communications
Helios Education Foundation

Photos and Story courtesy of TGen.
Copyright © 2018 TGen – Translational Genomics Research Institute, All rights reserved.

Posted in AZBio News.