STaRS Shine During 10-week Program

STaRS scholars on the steps of the Instructional BuildingThe Summer Training as Research Scholars (STaRS) Program concluded its 10-week research experience with an oral presentation symposium held August 9-11. The scholars also participated in the GMS summer research poster symposium held on Aug. 11.

Overseen by Graduate Medical Sciences, the STaRS Program is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. It has trained over 180 scholars and received more than 3,500 applications since its inception.

In the STaRS program, scholars realize independent cutting-edge biomedical research projects under the guidance of their research mentors – faculty, students, postdoctoral associates, fellows and residents.

Scholars also present their research, significantly increase their network, build powerful and lasting relationships, and attend career development seminars aimed at preparing them for application to school and for a research path.

After an opening welcome from Director of the STaRS program Isabel Dominguez, PhD, who also is assistant professor of medicine, the STaRS symposium began by acknowledging the faculty mentors, professionals, student mentors and panelists, and administrators that contributed to the success of the program. This included the STaRS mentors, Carolyn Wilson (MD student), Hunter Kelley (MAMS student) and Felix Litvak (MD student), that advised and helped scholars pre-, during and post-program.

The scholars showcased their oral presentations and posters, and discussed their work on a variety of topics including inflammatory biomarkers, mouse lung fibroblasts, aortic disease, lung cancer, podocyte injury, cerebral microbleeds, connective tissue-diseases, prostate cancer, animal model behavior, extracellular matrix in kidney disease, amyloidosis, mitochondrial disfunction, ECM extraction methods, fibroblast differentiation, arteriovenous access, enterotoxigenic bacteria and sleep apnea. They received certificates to mark the completion of the program.

This year’s class included 16 undergraduates from across the country and one current BUSM student. The 2022 Scholars are Arjun Kumar Batra, Yariann Del Mar Camacho Rosario, Carlos Noel Centeno Velez, Coralys Ivette Cuevas Hornedo, Sophia Karise Ellis, Eli River Engledow, Nusrat Islam, Alexis Kidiani Kiyanda, Christine Le, Zoe Nicole Matacchiera, Alejandra Sofia Medina, Nubaira Zaheen Milki, Karlianie Rivera Rodriguez, Muriel Louise Ruppert, Eduardo David Salazar, Emily Katherine Stein and Carolyn Wilson.

Faculty mentors included:

Karin Schon, PhD Isabel Dominguez, PhD
Joseph P. Mizgerd ScD Jessica Levi, MD
Francesca Seta, PhD Gareth Morgan, PhD
Sarah Mazilli, PhD Hui Feng, MD/PhD
Weining Lu, MD (2 scholars) Joseph Zaia, PhD & Manveen K. Sethi, PhD
Rafael Romero, MD JeanPierre Roussarie, PhD
Matt Layne, PhD Jeffrey Siracuse, MD
Chris Heaphy, PhD Esther Bullit, PhD

The summer poster symposium also hosted three summer UROP students: Sanjana Prudhvi, Lydia Bischoff and Eric Ibarra.

“It is rewarding to watch the STaRS scholars enhance their communication and research competencies, and to take on leadership roles in the program,” said Dominguez. “I am very impressed with the scholars’ research accomplishments under the guidance of our faculty and team mentors. It is very gratifying to see the scholars empowered to follow their path to graduate school and to be future researchers.”