Sixteen STaRS Share Their Summer Research

The Summer Training as Research Scholars (STaRS) program concluded its 10-week research experience with a symposium on Aug. 9 in Hiebert Lounge.

Overseen by the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS), the STaRS Program is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH. It has trained 67 scholars and has received more than 1,900 applications in the past five years.

In the program, trainees work with faculty and fellow students on cutting-edge biomedical research projects, build powerful and lasting relationships and set a course for college and career success. Each week students work alongside mentors in their assigned laboratories, present their research at meetings known as “journal club” and attend seminars aimed at preparing for professional life after college.

After an opening welcome from GMS Associate Provost Dr. Linda Hyman, the symposium began with presentations from four students to fellow STaRS participants, mentors and medical campus community members:

  • Jacob Flores, a rising junior from Houston Baptist University, presented on the effect of high glucose and hypoxia on skeletal muscle cells.
  • Seidu Sumani, a rising junior from UMass Amherst, explored the impact of a1-adrenoceptors on salt-sensitive hypertension.
  • William Molina, a rising senior from the University of Puerto Rico (Mayaguez Campus) discussed the role of LOX-1 in pneumonia.
  • Victor Bacelar, a rising senior from UMass Lowell, explained his research on trying to stop DNA receptors in cancer cells.

This year the class included 13 undergraduates from across the country and three current BUSM students, for a total of 16 participants.

Anayah Ferris, a rising senior at the University of the Virgin Islands, was especially excited to come to Boston, and hopes to come back to BUSM after she graduates. “I worked in a very welcoming, interactive and supportive lab this summer. The time I spent in the Trinkaus-Randall Lab further nurtured my desire to pursue a career in healthcare and biomedical research.”

Elizabeth Osota, a recent graduate from the University of Georgia, is thankful for a summer in the lab with Manish Sagar, MD. “Thank you Dr. Sagar for teaching me how to think through my own questions so I am always actively learning.”

Faculty mentors included Markus Bachschmid, PhD; Ajit Bharti, PhD; Andrew Henderson, PhD; Hasmeena Kathuria, MD; Jennifer Luebke, PhD; Reiko Matsui, MD; Lee Quinton, PhD; Manish Sagar, MD; Karin Schon, PhD; Francesca Seta, PhD; Jeffrey Siracuse, MD; Vickery Trinkaus-Randall, PhD; Richard Wainford, PhD; Lee Wetzler, MD; and Joseph Zaia, PhD.

Following the individual presentations, other STaRS students discussed their work on topics including aerobic fitness, gene expression and HIV during a poster session. Participants received certificates to mark the completion of the program.

“I am really impressed by the dedication, passion and research skills our Scholars have shown this summer,” said Dr. M. Isabel Dominguez, STaRS program director and Assistant Dean for Diversity & Inclusion at GMS. “It is has been a privilege to work with the Scholars and to help them on their path to develop as scientists.”

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