Each year, the University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute (UR CTSI) funds a handful medical students during a mentored “year-out” for research experience. The Academic Research Track (ART) program offers students who are interested in pursuing research as part of their careers the opportunity to delve into basic, clinical, educational, or translational research through seminars, mentored research and an enriched medical school curriculum.
This highly competitive program offers NIH-level stipends with some additional funds to support students’ research projects. The UR CTSI also offers tuition reimbursement for funded scholars who wish to pursue a Master’s Degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry concurrent with their year of research.
The new crop of ART scholars are now underway with a variety of research projects:
Ian De Andrea-Lazarus will be studying “Early Life Lead Exposure and Executive Functions Using the Stroop Day-Night Task” under the mentorship of Todd Jusko, Ph.D., during his year out.
Ian grew up in Bergenfield, NJ, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Chemistry at Gallaudet University, where he graduated summa cum laude and with University Capstone Honors. He is currently pursuing dual M.D./M.P.H. degrees at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (UR SMD).
Ian has demonstrated a keen interest in biomedical research since his undergraduate studies, conducting research in linguistic analysis at Gallaudet, and population health in the National Center for Deaf Health Research at UR CTSI. After graduating from Gallaudet, Ian studied thermoregulation and pain receptors associated with cancer during a two year Post-baccalaureate fellowship in the Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics at National Cancer Institute while teaching Psychology as an adjunct professor at Gallaudet University.
Ian’s career goals are vast and varied. He has a passion for medicine – with an eye on neurosurgery, neurology, or psychiatry as a specialty – but he also considers himself an innovator. As a Deaf scholar, he is trying to develop new technologies to provide live captioning and interpretation for Deaf or Hard of Hearing individuals when interacting with hearing individuals – something a Deaf physician may have to do dozens of times a day.
Chase Kwon, mentored by Lisa Beck, M.D., will implement, “A Systems Biology Approach to Identify Determinants of Staphylococcus Aureus Colonization in Atopic Dermatitis” during his ART study.
Chase grew up in Fort Lee, NJ, and attended Cornell University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences in 2012. As an undergraduate, he worked in the Cerione Lab at Cornell, examining the role of a novel cellular signaling pathway in the transformation of healthy cells to cancerous cells.
Chase will return to his fourth year of medical school at URSMD after his year of research experience in the ART program. In the future, he hopes to pursue a career in academic medicine, combining his passion for clinical dermatology, medical education, and scientific research.
Jinno (Tony) Magno, under the supervision of Jessica Shand, M.D., M.H.S., will study “HMGB1 modulation of inflammation and immune responses in MLL rearranged infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia”.
Tony grew up in Florence, CO, and graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2012 with a dual Bachelor of Arts in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Integrative Physiology. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, he conducted two research projects that gave him experience in both basic and population-based research.
At UC Boulder, Tony studied signaling pathways that influenced the development of neurons that play a major role in anxiety and depression. Shortly thereafter, he teamed up with the Colorado Area Health Education Centers to investigate whether health care education programs for high school and undergraduate students could increase the number of healthcare providers from rural and underrepresented backgrounds.
As a third year medical student, Tony has been conducting research related to his ART project for the past several years at URSMD. His research focuses on the role of a specific inflammatory molecule in treatment resistance of a deadly childhood cancer, called Mixed Lineage Leukemia-rearranged infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Developing drugs that target this inflammatory molecule – or other molecules in its signaling pathway – may help eradicate this cancer in affected children.
Sam Weisenthal will conduct an ART research project titled, “Using machine learning to predict ICU readmissions 48 hours before they occur”, under the mentorship of Martin Zand, M.D., Ph.D., while pursuing a Master’s degree in Data Science.
Sam grew up in Syracuse, NY, and graduated magna cum laude from nearby Hamilton College with departmental honors and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics in 2013. He is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor and Sigma Xi scientific research societies.
After college, Sam received an intramural research training award (IRTA) from the National Institutes of Health for which he helped build an open-source system to monitor the amount of X-ray radiation a patient receives during a CT scan. He also recently received funding from the Office of Medical Education to analyze text data via topic modeling.
During his undergraduate career, Sam had several volunteer experiences that allowed him to interact with patients. These experiences and the prospect of analyzing large amounts of electronic medical record data drew him to a career in medicine. Ultimately, he would like to marry his love of math, computer science, and medicine as a clinician and data analyst.