2014 CURE Intern: Bridgette Lang

Lang_Bridgette_150Even as a child, Bridgette Lang was always interested in the human body. "I was always experimenting and trying to find out new things," says Lang. This interest has cultivated into a strong understanding of the sciences.

As a student at Jefferson High School, Bridgette has excelled in biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. In the fall, she will be attending DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.

Bridgette is motivated to do well in college, and has taken full advantage of educational opportunities. Since her freshman year, Bridgette has been attending classes at Portland Community College as part of the Middle College Program. She impressively maintains a 4.0 GPA at Jefferson and 3.87 at PCC. "I want to get a valuable education that will prepare me for the future," she says.

On top of her heavy courseload, she has also been extremely involved in her school's community. During her senior year, she was elected both Senior Class and Student Body President at Jefferson. She helped organize social and community service events at Jefferson like the American Red Cross Blood Drive and multiple talent shows. She has also taken part in mock trial and the philosophy club. In addition, Bridgette has played on Jefferson's varsity volleyball, basketball, softball, and track and field teams. She was awarded the Multnomah Athletic Club Scholar Athlete Award and was awarded 2nd Team All-League Recognition in Volleyball and Basketball.

By participating in sports from a very young age, Bridgette knew the impact that sports could have on a person's character, determination, and leadership skills. Having played volleyball and softball since the age of nine, Bridgette has always known the value of team sports. She is a leader on the court and field, as well as a role model for her peers off the court.

Bridgette credits her motivation and drive to her difficult childhood. After her parents' divorce, Bridgette got a job at OMSI in an effort to supplement her family's income. Even the stipend that she receives from the CURE program also helps pay for her family's bills.

This is the second summer in a row that Bridgette is taking part in the Cancer CURE Program. For Bridgette, helping find a cure for cancer is important, because her own family has been impacted by the disease. She has lost aunts and grandparents to various forms of cancer. "Even though so many people have died of cancer, there are others who have survived it," she says. "Research and advancements are being made, and I want to be part of that progression."

Bridgette is working with her research mentor, Paul Spellman, Ph.D., in the Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics. She relishes the opportunity to learn about molecular biology and structure. 

"Because our project is so specific about the mechanisms and proteins we are analyzing, I had to learn as much about nucleosomes, histone protein cores, and DNA as possible in a very short amount of time. I've learned different types of epigenetic modifications, enzymes, and their inhibitors, as well as just the general mechanisms for transcription and autophagy," she says.

"My experience at OHSU has been absolutely positive and I look forward to coming back for the next few summers during college as well!"

For more information about the CURE Program, contact David Martinez, Manager of Student Recruitment and Retention.

Posted on July 7, 2014. Photo and write-up by Maileen Hamto.