BRF helps train tomorrow’s scientists

A part of BRF’s EdVentures initiatives, the BioStart Laboratory Research Internship Program provides a semester-long internship opportunity for 7 to 10 Southwood High School seniors participating in the Biotechnology Magnet Academy. Students conduct a hands-on research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor at LSU Health Shreveport.


Participants spend three hours every day for one semester, or approximately 18 weeks, working in a laboratory with their LSU Health Shreveport mentor. They are introduced to research methods and laboratory techniques, gaining lab experience that stands out as unique among their peers. Some of this year’s projects included research regarding causes behind liver cancer growth, the role of DNA instability in specialized proteins in Parkinson’s, the nutritional needs of the Arcanobacterium haemolyticum bacteria, and the effects of the TLK1 enzyme in the treatment of head and neck cancer.

Annually, participants present their research findings at poster sessions, regional conferences, science competitions and public outreach venues. This year’s class will present their research at an open house in the Southwood gym on Tuesday, January 28 at 9 a.m., and they will also compete in the Louisiana Region 1 Science and Engineering Fair held at Bossier Parish Community College in March 2020.


Since 2009, the program has served more than 120 students, including over 65 percent females, 50 percent minorities and almost 50 percent first-generation college bound.


BioStart is a partnership among BRF, LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport and Southwood High School. The program receives funding from generous partners including the Poindexter Foundation and LSU Health Shreveport Foundation.