LABS - Institute for Educational Advancement


LABS advances students’ intellectual curiosity and passion for STEM by exposing them to innovative research conducted by brilliant scientists in the field.


Learning Among Brilliant Scientists (LABS) students will gain access to new knowledge and be introduced to the skills needed to be a successful scientific researcher through workshops that include a lecture, seminar, and hands-on learning experience.


LABS develops the whole child by:

  • Engaging students in a unique educational experience to learn about a brilliant scientist’s current research work.
  • Promoting optimal challenge for students seeking opportunities to further their interests and passions in the STEM field.
  • Building a community of like-minded learners interested in STEM.
LABS Schedule and Application

“LABS provides to engage students early on in unique research topics. I was so impressed by these students’ intuition for science. They expressed a lot of insightful observations about the topic. This is the type of experience I wish I had had as a young student.” LABS Speaker

Upcoming Lectures

Detecting Cancer Cells in the Blood


Date & Time: Saturday, January 26, 2019, 10:30 am – 1:00 pm

Speakers: Paymaneh Malihi and Shoujie Chai, Ph.D Candidates, Molecular Biology, University of Southern California  

Grade Levels: 7-12

Cost: $50


What is liquid biopsy and what kind implication can it have for early diagnosis and treatment of cancer?


How can we detect cancer better? Currently in the clinic, blood test is routinely used to monitor vitamin and mineral levels in search of deficiencies that can cause disease, to monitor cholesterol and good/bad fat levels that cause heart disease, or even to monitor glucose levels for predisposition or advancement of diabetes. Clinicians, scientists, mathematicians, programmers, and other professionals are working together to produce a blood test that could help monitor and prevent cancer development, cancer progression, or even treatment efficacy. This test is currently termed liquid biopsy, which is a non-invasive blood test that can provide additional information to our clinicians in effort to help reduce cancer mortality.


This workshop will explore the central dogma of life (DNA, RNA, and protein), cellular structure of a cell in human body, circulation and organs, and how this information is all used to determine when a healthy cell has deviated towards malignancy. We will also further explore how we can use this same information in blood to detect and treat cancer early and more efficiently.


The Amazing World of Parasites


Date & Time: Saturday, February 2, 2019, 10:30 am – 1:00 pm

Speakers: Dr. Julie Hopper, Postdoctoral Scholar and Research Associate at Caron Lab, University of Southern California

Grade Levels: 9-12

Cost: $60


Imagine a world where living organisms could be taken hostage and suffer while controlled by other energy-sucking organisms that live on their insides or outsides.  Where instead of hiding, a mouse will run around, practically begging the cat to eat it, because its under the control of another organism that wants to be eaten by the cat. Imagine whole populations that just come crashing down due to microscopic organisms that can evade immune systems.


Welcome to the amazing world of parasites, pathogens and parasitoids! In this workshop, we will explore the different modes of parasitism, distinguishing among parasites, pathogens and parasitoids and how parasitism differs from predation. Students will obtain an overview of parasite-host interactions spanning across terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and several well-known parasitic diseases in humans and wildlife. Videos, prepared slides and dissections will be available for students to see the diversity of parasites and hosts in real life. Students will also have the opportunity to perform dissections on invertebrates (such as insects) to see if they can find these hidden monsters. By the end of this workshop, students will be well-versed in different types of trophic strategies, and the consequences of parasites on their hosts and populations.





When: Once a month

Duration: 2.5 hours

Where: IEA Learning Center, 540 South Marengo Avenue, Pasadena, CA

Cost: $50*


*Scholarships are available to qualified families in need. Price subject to change based on number of workshops in series and supplies needed.

Questions? Contact us!



Participants must be:

  • Current 7th-12th grade students
  • Passionate about learning
  • Interested in pursuing an advanced STEM research topic

*You do not need to be a current IEA student to register for LABS. Students from all school districts are welcome.