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Annual Medical Student Research Fellowship Event Features Presentations, Awards

The UTHSC College of Medicine recently held the 44th Annual Medical Student Research Fellowship program presentations. Kylie James (left) and Taylor Berke (right) were recognized among the top six oral presentation awardees.

Faculty, fellows, post-doctoral fellows, and residents in the College of Medicine gathered Thursday, July 27th, for the 44th Annual Medical Student Research Fellowship (MSRF) program presentations. The event took place from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm in the South Auditorium of the Coleman Building.

Co-directed by Matthew Ennis, PhD, professor and chair of Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Amali Samarasinghe, PhD, associate professor of Pediatrics, the 2023 MSRF program was the largest to date, featuring 53 M1 students. Five of the students were from the Summer Cancer Research Fellowship (SCRF) program, co-directed by Martin Fleming, MD, professor of Surgical Oncology, and Liza Makowski, PhD, professor of Medicine. All students were selected into the program based on an outstanding research proposal submitted for review.

The event featured 10-minute presentations by each student, whose projects ranged in focus from cancer, social determinants, population, and global health to immunity, inflammation, infectious disease, neuroscience, eye, and others.

Shruthivani Velrajan was also recognized among the top six oral presentation awardees.

The presentations were scored by a panel of judges awarding the credits for the fulfillment of the requirements. The top six oral presentation awardees in the class of 2023 were:

Taylor Berke – mentored by Kevin Freeman, PhD

Kylie James – mentored by James Carson, PhD

Bano Qaladize – mentored by Amali Samarasinghe, PhD

Brady Baskette – mentored by Amandeep Bajwa, PhD

Daniel Lee – mentored by Hao Chen, PhD

Shruthivani Velrajan – co-mentored by Monica Jablonski, PhD; Thirumalini Vaithianathan, PhD; TJ Hollingsworth, PhD

This year’s MSRF program was the largest to date featuring 53 M1 students, including five students from the SCRF program.

“These students worked exceptionally hard over the summer and their presentations were are a testament of their success,” Dr. Samarasinghe said. “We hope that the MSRF program helped instill a passion for research in these students so that they may consider academic medicine in the future.”

MSRF students were supported by funds through the executive dean of the College of Medicine, and the department chairs of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Pediatrics, and Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry. The SCRF students were supported by the Cancer Institute.