Students Receive Serchuck Awards at Summer Research Symposium

The latest winter storm didn’t discourage faculty, staff and peers from attending the 17th annual Medical Student Summer Research Program symposium. The Feb. 13 event held in Hiebert Lounge kicked off at 10 a.m. and featured research posters by 58 students. Topics ranged from economic empowerment in pediatric primary care to increased incidents of stroke in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

MSSRP participants displayed their research on posters in Hiebert Lounge. Some were selected to present their research, and six students won awards for their work. From left to right, John Lona, Shawn Tuttle, Munizay Paracha, Samantha Venkatesh (honorable mention), Keri-Lee Garel, James Wilson, Sarah Nocco (best science poster winner), Lyndsey Stadtmueller (honorable mention), Betsy Thomas.
MSSRP participants displayed their research on posters in Hiebert Lounge. Some presented their projects and six won awards. (L to r) John Lona, Shawn Tuttle, Munizay Paracha, Samantha Venkatesh (honorable mention), Keri-Lee Garel, James Wilson, Sarah Nocco (best science poster), Lyndsey Stadtmueller (honorable mention), Betsy Thomas.

The Program offers competitive scholarships to BUSM students to complete a seven-week, full-time mentored research project during the summer with a BUSM faculty member.

“I am thrilled to see the level of enthusiasm and curiosity of our students for conducting scientific inquiry and enhancing their scientific communication skills,” Suzanne Sarfaty, MD, associated professor of medicine, said. “I am also very grateful for our research mentors who have dedicated  time and energy to help our student achieve their potential.”

This year, three BUSM students received Serchuck Awards for outstanding research posters. The award honors Jerry Serchuck, one of the longtime donors to the summer research program. Serchuck has given to the program since its establishment in 2000 when 15 members of the Class of 2003 undertook research in various BUMC departments. The program continues to flourish as a direct result of his initial contribution and ongoing support. The first Serchuck Award was given in 2007.

The awards are organized into three categories: best basic science poster, best clinical science poster and best QI and/or medical education poster.

This year’s winners:

  • Best Basic Science Poster: Sarah Nocco, ‘19
  • Best Clinical Science Poster: Kathleen Joseph, ’19
  • Best QI and/or Medical Education Poster: Molly Greenshields, ‘19

This year’s honorable mentions:

  • Basic Science Poster: Samantha Venkatesh, ‘19
  • Clinical Science Poster: James Wilson, ‘19
  • QI and/or Medical Education Poster: Lyndsey Stadtmueller, ‘19

From 1-2 p.m. several students presented their research findings. Betsy Thomas, who studied the influence of brain volume on the relationship between fitness and memory, started her presentation off with a photo of actress Betty White.

“We all recognize Betty White, who, as an older adult, is still very sharp and witty,” Thomas said. “I wanted to research whether a higher fitness level was related to a better memory in older adulthood.”

Thomas worked with the VA in Jamaica Plain during last summer, and researched her hypothesis that people with a higher fitness level have better memories. Her findings supported her hypothesis and she plans on continuing her research to different parts of the brain.

“We know being active is recommended to combat heart disease and many other age-related issues, but now we can see that it also helps the mind,” she said.

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