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Symposium shines light on research by medical students

Feb. 7, 2019, 10:28 AM

Lorraine Ware, MD, center, poses with this year’s Medical Scholars Program students: from left, Justin Banerdt, Shilpa Mokshagundam, Nikhil Chavali, Jocelyn Gandelman, Jason Gandelman, Joshua Cockroft, Jennifer Marvin and Yemisi Dina.
Lorraine Ware, MD, center, poses with this year’s Medical Scholars Program students: from left, Justin Banerdt, Shilpa Mokshagundam, Nikhil Chavali, Jocelyn Gandelman, Jason Gandelman, Joshua Cockroft, Jennifer Marvin and Yemisi Dina. (photo by Anne Rayner)

by Kathy Whitney

The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Medical Scholars Research Symposium was held Feb. 4 and highlighted the work of eight medical students who spent the 2017-2018 academic year immersed in research experiences under the guidance of faculty mentors.

The Medical Scholars Program (MSP) is a one-year, in-depth research experience available to Vanderbilt and Meharry Medical College students with the central goal of training leaders in academic medicine, ultimately strengthening and expanding the nation’s pool of medically trained researchers.

MSP began in 1998 with five students and has now funded more than 150 students. Lorraine Ware, MD, professor of Medicine and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, has served as the director of MSP since 2012.

“The Medical Scholars Program is a unique opportunity for medical students to pursue mentored biomedical research for a full year without the distractions of classes or patient care.

“The annual Research Symposium gives the scholars an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments and celebrate successful completion of their research year,” Ware said.

The students who participated in MSP for 2017-2018 and showcased their work at the symposium include:

  • Justin Banerdt, whose mentors were E. Wesley Ely, MD, MPH, professor of Medicine, and Kondwelani Mateyo, MD, with the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia. His research project was “ICU Liberation in Africa: Implementing the ABCDEF Critical Care Bundle in a Zambian ICU.”
  • Nikhil Chavali, whose mentors were Bjorn Knollman, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, and Benjamin Shoemaker, MD, MSCI, assistant professor of Medicine. His research project was “Precision Medicine with Human iPSCs for Congenital Long QT Syndrome.”
  • Joshua Cockroft, whose mentor was Susie Adams, PhD, APRN, professor of Nursing and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. His research project was “Validation of a Set of ‘Health Care Trust’ Scales for Use with Adult Women at a Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Center.”
  • Yemisi Dina (Meharry), whose mentors were Crystal Aguh, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology, and Ginette Okoye, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Her research project was “Assessing the Molecular and Clinical Impact of Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy in Patients with Androgenetic Alopecia.”
  • Jason Gandelman, who mentor was Warren Taylor, MD, MHSc, James G. Blakemore Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. His research project was “Imaging Biomarkers and Novel Therapeutic Options for Late Life Depression.”
  • Jocelyn Gandelman, whose mentors were Madan Jagasia, MBBS, MS, professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology) and director of the Outpatient Transplant Program, and Jonathan Irish, PhD, assistant professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Her research project was “Bringing Personalized Medicine to Graft-versus-host Disease: An Analysis of Severity and Cells using Computational Tools.”
  • Jennifer Marvin, whose mentor was Amy Major, PhD, associate professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine) and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. Her research project was “Role of Dendritic Cell Expression of Fc-gamma Receptor IIb in Regulating oxLDL-immune Complex Mediated Responses in Atherosclerosis.”
  • Shilpa Mokshagundam, whose mentor was Kaylon Bruner-Tran, PhD, professor of OB-GYN, and Kevin Osteen, PhD, professor of OB-GYN and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. Her research project was “Paternal Influences on Blastocyst Quality and Maternal Response to Pregnancy.”

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