High school 'brainiacs' handpicked to work with Valley research docs

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Some high school students were handpicked by their teachers to work alongside research doctors at Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Alex Rossi is helping to fight cancer -- that's the short answer. The actual answer is he's helping study the effects of the Ketogenic Diet as a way to weaken tumor cells and make them more susceptible to chemo and radiation.

Charles Chesser is studying how the brain controls posture and locomotion. To be more precise, he's looking at the electrical activity of neurons on forebrain control of supraspinal control of posture and locomotion.

These high schoolers are engaged in such cutting-edge research as interns at Barrow Neurological Institute. These internships are intense, multiyear commitments during the summer and school year. To have two students from one school chosen for these highly competitive, limited internships is quite unusual, as are the students themselves.

Both students are in the CREST (Center for Research in Engineering, Science and Technology) program at Paradise Valley High School.

The students work alongside top-notch doctors at Barrow Neurological Institute. They also have to make regular presentations on what they are learning. 

The CREST program nurtures those students who are excellent in the area of science and biology.

Barrow's program is available to all Valley students who are interested and are excelling in the biology and science fields.