OAKLAND (KCBS) – A summer program designed to give high school and college students real life experience in laboratory and clinical research ended this week as the participating students presented their research in Oakland.

The program is funded by the National Institutes of Health and has been going on for 30 years.

READ MORE: Jordan Poole Scores 20 Points, Warriors Hold Off Jazz 94-92

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Among the 45 students presenting their research at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute was Ariel Appelbaum, who will be a senior at San Francisco’s Jewish Community High School of the Bay.

With a family history of heart disease, Appelbaum researched what causes higher and lower levels of cholesterol.

“I’ve never done research before. And now that I have, I know I love research,” he said. “That will shape what I want to do with my life.”

READ MORE: UPDATE: Crews Make Progress in Big Sur Firefight; Containment at 35 Percent

Program director Dr. Vas Narayanaswami said it was started for racial and ethnic minorities, but has evolved in its three decades to include inner city and other students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have been underrepresented in the field of modern research.

“99 percent of the time, they come out saying, yes, this is what I want to do,” said Naravanaswami. “They go on to do MD’s and PhD’s.”

Cal State Long Beach graduate student Ken Irvine said studying broad issues on a molecular level is what leads to medical advances.

“The better we understand the diseases, the better we understand what we do to our body, better treatments, cures and prevention,” he said.

Each student worked with a team and mentor from the medical and scientific fields.

MORE NEWS: Big Sur Residents Told to Boil Water Due to Possible Wildfire Damage to Utility

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)