STaRS, UROP and SPIN Scholars Present at GMS Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium

The Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium was hosted in Hiebert Lounge on the Medical Campus.

This year’s Summer Training as Research Scholars (STaRS) cohort culminated their 10-week onsite internships with the Graduate Medical Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium held on Aug. 11.

Hosted in Hiebert Lounge, the GMS Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium gave the STaRS scholars an opportunity to present their independent research projects to audiences of Boston University Medical Campus faculty, staff and students.

The 2023 STaRS scholars are:

Jacqueline Alford Stevia Coralie Nanfack Tsakem
Jessica Oliveira Bacelar Chioma Okolo
Matthew Jacob Byrne Elizabeth Myriam Puyo
Jonathan Matthew Carnino Valerie Reyes Ortiz
Malia Magnolia Cole Leila Alejandra Rivera Rosario
Shira Maya Freilich Diana Esmeralda Rodriguez
Arielle Gilliam Mikaili Zoe Senwah

The cohort included six second-year undergraduates, seven third-year undergraduates, three fourth-year undergraduates and one Boston University medical student. The scholars come from colleges and universities across the continental USA and Puerto Rico.

The faculty mentors for this year’s STaRS cohort were:

Joseph P. Mizgerd ScD Weining Lu, MD
Francesca Seta, PhD José Rafael Romero, MD
Sarah Mazzilli, PhD Jessica Levi, MD
Andrew Wilson, MD Vickery Trinkaus-Randall, PhD
Gareth Morgan, PhD Suryaram Gummuluru, PhD
Joseph Zaia, PhD Frederick Ruberg, MD
Jeffrey Siracuse, MD, MBA
Grace Li, the presenting Summer Program in Neuroscience scholar.

The symposium was also open to all summer undergraduate students on campus and was attended by one Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) scholar and one Summer Program in Neuroscience (SPIN) scholar. This year’s presenting UROP scholar was Sanjana Prudhvi, mentored by Manveen Sethi, PhD, and Joseph Zaia, PhD. The presenting SPIN scholar was Grace Li, mentored by Ella Zeldich, PhD.

The STaRS program was founded in 2010 to promote equitable access to graduate research and education for students historically underrepresented in science and medicine. Each summer, STaRS cohorts participate in faculty-mentored research informed by the scholars’ personal research interests.

The 2023 Summer Training as Research Scholars (STaRS) Scholars.

Over the course of 10 weeks, the scholars execute independent projects, participate in seminars on career development, research competencies and graduate school applications, and receive training on critical scientific communication skills. Ultimately, the program aims to enhance cohort members’ skillsets for application and entry to graduate or MD/PhD programs in biomedical sciences. Each scholar received a certificate recognizing their superb academic research achievements.

“Congratulations to this year’s STaRS scholars for a summer of successful research,” said STaRS Program Director Isabel Dominguez, PhD. “Thank you to all participating GMS and BU faculty mentors, personnel and staff for your commitment and support of the STaRS scholars. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to see the scholars grow on their research and communication skills and to be empowered to follow a research career path.”

Learn more about the STaRS Program and previous research here. If you are interested in participating in the STaRS program or advising the next cohort of STaRS scholars, please contact Dr. Dominguez at

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