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Education / Medical Scientist Training Program / Events / MSTP Annual Retreat


MSTP Annual Retreat

The MSTP Family Gathers for the 22nd Annual Retreat 

MSTP Incoming Class 2023 Retreat
2023 Incoming Students

The Medical Scientist Training Program’s 22nd Annual Retreat was held on August 11, 2023 at Durand Eastman Clubhouse. Located a few minutes’ drive from Lake Ontario, the clubhouse offers a very cozy interior with a patio that overlooks a beautiful tree-lined golf course. As in years past, the retreat offered the opportunity for the MSTP student body to come together to discuss science, reflect on their time in the program, and welcome the incoming class. The event was kicked off by introductions of students in the incoming class. This year, the program welcomed six new students: Katy Alden (University of Puget Sound), George Kassis (University of Rochester), Herman Li (University of Rochester), Jordan McMurry (Trinity University), Corey Schultz (University of Pittsburgh), and Anika Varma (University of California-Davis).


This year’s keynote address was given by Dr. Olachi Mezu-Ndubuisi, a neonatologist, as well as a licensed optometrist, whose research focuses on retinitis of prematurity (ROP), a potentially blinding eye disease affecting premature infants exposed postnatally to hyperoxia. Her talk, titled “Career Path and Life Lessons”, took us through the ups and downs of her career, emphasizing the values that she reflected on to help navigate crossroads in her life, which ultimately led to her current position at URMC as a physician-scientist. Dr. Mezu-Ndubuisi’s long-standing interest in the eye stems from her belief that the eye is a unique window to the body in which you can directly observe retinal blood vessels, which may serve as biomarkers for monitoring systemic diseases. In parallel to Dr. Mezi-Ndubuisi’s clinical focus on complications associated with prematurity, her lab models oxygen-induced retinopathy in mice and uses in vivo retinal imaging techniques to study retinal changes associated with ROP. Her lab has already identified vascular, structural, and functional phenotypes in ROP and they are currently investigating mechanisms of ROP pathogenesis with the goal of discovering better-targeted therapies to prevent the progression of ROP.

 Przysinda Retreat 2023

The morning session continued with short, 15-minute research talks by four current MSTP students: Michael Meadow (G3), Duy Nguyen (G2), Emily Przysinda (G5), Jithin George (G1/M2). Wrapping up the session before lunch, Keshov Sharma (M4) gave an energetic and insightful talk on the lessons learned throughout his time in the program. Keshov shocked the crowd by (1) citing and graphically illustrating Fort Minor’s “Remember the name” lyrics as empirical data, and (2) tagging in Uday Chockanathan (M4), as the elusive 2nd member of their self-styled “East India Comedy Company”, to give some final words.

Sharma 2023 Retreat

After lunch, Dr. Kerry O’Banion introduced the new MSTP class and discussed important student interview guidelines following new national requirements for school admissions. During a short intermission, students participated in a fun bingo/networking activity incentivized by prizes, which were given to the first three winners. Afterwards, the MSTP students that attended the annual national MD/PhD student conference in Colorado presented together by showing all the pictures from their trip, reminiscing about Colorado pizza, Ankit Dahal’s (G4) river adventures, Adam Geber’s (G4) astonishing knowledge of the local flora, and of course the poster sessions and talks throughout the conference.

2023 Retreat Activity

Finally, the event concluded with the student committee election results, with Fara Zakusilo (M4) becoming our new student president. Overall, the beautiful location, the great weather, and engaging talks made this retreat one to remember!

Recap Written by Thomas Delgado G3


2032 MSTP Retreat Picnic 12023 MSTP Retreat Picnic 2