LEADR Program - Journal Club Reimagined

A Program for Community College Students

Scripps Research has taken a familiar format of advanced science education – the journal club – and reimagined it to bring community college students a broader perspective on current topics in biomedical research.

Rather than simply reading and discussing research published in scientific journals, the LEADR (Learn, Experiment, Analyze and Discuss Research) Program gives students an opportunity to explore a variety of biomedical research topics from different perspectives. Students gain an understanding of concepts and methods in a particular field, develop scientific communication and critical thinking skills, and network with current scientists working in that field, forging connections that will benefit them as they grow their career in science.

LEADR participants join a small cohort – approximately 30 students from several different community colleges – that is introduced to research areas or themes through: traditional lectures by top scientists in the field; hands-on laboratory experiences or data analysis projects to learn methods and techniques; interactive discussions of current published research in major journals; and an independent science communication project focused on effectively relating an aspect of the selected research topic to a general audience.

Each group, or cohort of students, participates in two consecutive program modules, which are tied together by either a disease being studied or other research topic or method. Previous modules have included:

  • FALL 2019: RNA biology (structure, function and transcription)
  • FALL 2020: Medicinal chemistry and structural biology of COVID-19 targeted small molecules (structure of COVID19 antibodies, binding pockets for small molecules) 
  • SPRING 2021: Circadian Rhythm (using drosophila as a model organism and analyzing behavioral data) and Crowd sourcing biology (importance of connections in existing data sets to support medical cures)

Read below for a list of upcoming LEADR sessions currently being planned. If you would like to be added to an interest list to receive more detailed information and a notification when the event is open for registrations, please click the Sign Up button next to the event you are interested in.


Due to COVID-19-related restrictions, the LEADR program has been operating virtually, with student participants from schools in San Diego County, California and Palm Beach County, Florida. Once these restrictions are lifted, we fully expect most apsects of future LEADR programs to take place on our California and/or Florida campuses.

If you are interested in learning more about the LEADR program, would like to receive information about joining an upcoming cohort, please send a message to Nitya Bhaskaran at outreach@scripps.edu.