MSTP Annual Retreat
The MSTP Family Gathers Fully In-Person for the 21st Annual Retreat
2022 Incoming Students
The Medical Scientist Training Program’s 21st Annual Retreat was held on August 5, 2022, and after two years, was once again fully back in person. Instead of our usual location on Lake Ontario, we held the event at the Canandaigua New York Kitchen, which offered an all-around beautiful setting. The retreat is an opportunity for the student body to gather to discuss science and welcome the incoming class. This year, the MSTP welcomed seven new students: Adib Behrouzi (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), Daniel Han (UC Berkeley), Amber McFerren (UNC Chapel Hill), Levy Sominsky (Vanderbilt University), Emma Strawderman (University of Rochester), Mohammed “Usman” Syed (Tufts University), and Michael Vera (Sacred Heart University). We also said farewell to our visiting undergraduate Summer Scholars: Carolina Alvarez, JaNya Brown, Ameneh Gharabi, Jesus Rosario-Rivera, and Brian Van Lee.
2022 MSTP Summer Scholars with Director, Kerry O'Banion, MD, PhD and Associate Director, Laurie Steiner, MD
This year’s Keynote address was given by Dr. Matthew McGraw, a pediatric pulmonologist who studies the molecular mechanisms of rare lung diseases, such as childhood interstitial lung disease (chILD) and bronchiolitis obliterans (BO), to identify new therapeutics for his patients. His talk, titled “Characterizing the airway progenitor cell response to chemical and viral exposures”, walked through the use of inhalational agents, like diacetyl, a common volatile chemical used in foods to impart a buttery flavor, to study the mechanisms of aberrant airway epithelial repair and to relate these mechanisms to those in viral-induced lung disease. Interestingly, his research shows that diacetyl vapor inhalation induces mixed, granulocytic lung inflammation, ubiquitin proteome stress, and modification to hemidesmosomes in human airway epithelial cells, which all likely play important roles in the resulting lung diseases.
Throughout the day, in between talks, Jithin George (M2) hosted minigame sessions, which included trivia and a round of brainteasers for the program directors, Dr. O’Banion and Dr. Steiner, in which they had to match a barebones description of a research project to the corresponding MSTP student. And, they guessed most of them correctly! Also, during the breaks, students had the chance to look at the wonderful posters from our summer students and talk with them about their work. The morning session concluded with short, 15-minute talks by four current MSTP students: Maya Anand (G2), Bryan Redmond (G3), Arun Venkataraman (M4), and Catherine Pizzarello (G4).
After lunch, 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 driving through the mountains, their struggles in high elevation, and all the great talks in the conference. To bring events to a close, John Bennett, our new student committee president, read out the results for this year’s new student committee. Surprisingly, all runners were uncontested this year! Overall, Canandaigua was a beautiful and pleasant change of pace for our retreat, and the event was a great way to start off another exciting year for the MSTP!
Recap Written by Thomas Delgado G2
For full photo album, go to our Event Photos page!