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Nguyen Mai Wins Poster Competition at 2015 APSA/Tri-Institutional MSTP Conference

Monday, November 9, 2015

Congratulations to Nguyen Mai for winning first place for the poster competition at the 2015 APSA/Tri-Institutional MSTP Conference at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, NY.

Four Rochester MD/PhD trainees win presentation awards at APSA Northeast Regional Meeting

Monday, October 19, 2015

Kyle Koster, American Physician Scientists Association Institutional Representative

Student explaining her poster

Physician-scientist trainees from various phases of training across the Northeast Region met at State University of New York Upstate Medical University on October 17 for career development, scientific presentations, and networking at the American Physician Scientists Association Northeast Regional Meeting. Approximately twenty Rochester Medical Scientist Training Program students attended, winning four of the six presentation awards at the meeting.

Aisha Seibert was selected for one of the three student oral presentations on her work identifying bioactive wasp venom peptides as potential therapeutic agents in diabetes. In addition, all three poster prizes were awarded to UR students: Nguyen Mai won first place for her work on the role of neutrophils in stroke, Kyle Koster won second place for his work on the clearance of dying cells from inflamed tissues, and Allison Li won third place for her work on myelodysplastic syndrome.

In all, our students valued the opportunity for career development and represented the program well. We thank our colleagues at SUNY Upstate for this opportunity.

Medical Scientist Training Program attempts to celebrate 40th anniversary, actually celebrates 42nd

Monday, October 12, 2015

Kyle Koster, Alumni Council Representative

Group photo of 40th Anniversary Attendants

MSTP Anniversary Celebration Attendants

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) held its 40th Anniversary Celebration on October 9, 2015, in conjunction with Meliora Weekend and School of Medicine & Dentistry class reunions. Alumni from all phases of training—including residency/fellowship trainees, mid-career physician scientists, and distinguished faculty—joined current students, faculty, and staff for a day of history, science, and celebration.

The morning started out with coffee, breakfast, and a brief history of the University of Rochester MSTP. Surprisingly, we discovered that we were celebrating our 42nd anniversary of funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; during the event preparation, our long-time administrator, Cathy Senecal-Rice, discovered that we were funded on a different grant number for two years prior to the current grant!

The rest of the morning was highlighted by fantastic scientific talks from Virginia Winn (Stanford), Lenny Dragone (Genentech), Brad Berk (Director, UR Neurorestorative Institute; former CEO of URMC), and keynote speaker Eddy Rubin (Director, Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Institute). After lunch, alumni and students reconvened for a career panel and a poster session.

After a full day of science, the current program and its alumni met at the Hyatt for cocktails, dinner, and merriment. A special thanks to all who attended, and we hope to see everyone again in 8 years!

Cornell nutrition professor Tom Brenna headlines MSTP 15th annual retreat

Thursday, August 13, 2015

By Kyle Koster, G2; Events Chair 2014–2015

August 7, 2015 marked the Medical Scientist Training Program’s 15th Annual Retreat. The retreat was held at the Rochester Yacht Club, overlooking Lake Ontario and the Genesee River.

The Annual Retreat is an opportunity for the entire program to touch base and welcome incoming students. This year, the MSTP welcomed 8 new students: Laura Duclos (UR Neuroscience Graduate Program), Karl Foley (Vassar), Aditi Misra (Dartmouth), Elizabeth Saionz (UR MD program), Keshov Sharma (Duke), Arun Venkataraman (UR undergraduate), Jesse Wang (U. Connecticut), and Brendan Whitelaw (U. Pennsylvania).

The morning science session featured short-format research talks by Laura Duclos (M1, Neuroscience), Daniel Savage (M2, Optics), Hayley Martin (G1, Epidemiology), Andrew Allbee (G2, Genetics), Nguyen Mai (G3, Neuroscience), Benjamin Plog (G4, Neuroscience), and Salvador Peña (G5, Pathology). Following the student talks, Professor Tom Brenna, of Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences, delivered an engaging keynote on his lab’s work on fatty acids in human nutrition and development. Dr. Brenna ended the talk with a discussion of the importance of critically evaluating scientific evidence and practicing “science-based medicine.”

Over lunch, students presented posters on Rochester life, including sports, gardening, and music. Afterwards, the program convened for a business meeting. Attendees of the Keystone MD/PhD Student Conference and the Annual Meeting of the American Physician Scientist Association(ASPA) reported on their trips to these meetings. New Student Council members were elected at the end of the afternoon.

After closing the meeting, MD/PhD students met Dr. Brenna and his lab for conversation and drinks overlooking the water. Another successful year for the program!

APSA National Meeting Update

Monday, June 15, 2015

photo of Andrew Shubin

Andrew Shubin, UR APSA Representative

By Andrew Shubin, University of Rochester APSA Institutional Representative

The 11th Annual APSA National meeting was held in conjunction with the American Association of Physicians (AAP) and American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) at the beautiful Fairfield Millennial Hotel on Lake Michigan, on April 24th-26th, 2015 in Chicago, IL. The meeting began with the annual APSA business meeting, where the 6 standing committees of APSA present their work to the institutional reps. Highlights of this meeting include push to increase APSA membership through APSA local chapters, fundraising of over $100,000 for APSA events, and the recent compilation of a survey of MD/PhD students to understand motivations and challenges for pursuing training which is currently in preparation in submission to be published. The rest of the meeting consisted of research talks given by premier physician scientists as well as numerous social networking events described below.

Research Talks

In addition to the invited APSA speakers, APSA members had complete access to all of the invited talks of the AAP and ASCI some highlights include:

Jeffrey Kline, MD

An emergency medicine trained physician scientist, Dr. Klein, talked about his lab’s work studying coagulation and fibrinolysis as well as his career as an academic emergency doctor with a strong research focus.

Douglas Lowy, MD

Acting director of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Lowy played a major role in developing and implementing the HPV vaccine.

Jennifer Doudna, PhD

Dr. Doudna talked about her pioneering work in developing CRISPR-Cas9 method to modify DNA.

Frances Collins, MD, PhD

Dr. Collins was the recipient of the Kober Medal price. His early life, career, and major scientific contributions were highlighted by Dr. David Ginsburg. Dr. Collins graciously accepted the award, guitar in hand, by leading the audience in a sing-a-long.

Richard L Ehman MD

Dr. Ehman’s talk focused on how biomedical research, particularly NIH funded biomedical research, has one of the best return on investment, for any form of research in the US. Dr. Ehman also played a pivotal role in developing MRI diagnostic technologies. Andy Cox also recruited him to be our next MSRS speaker!


APSA Welcome Reception

A social event for APSA members to mingle and meet those at other institutions held at the top of Hancock center, with arguably the best view of Chicago around.

APSA Dinner

Another great opportunity to meet students from other institutions. Our own Dr. Kerry O’Banion, was awarded the APSA founder’s award for his work advising and securing funding for APSA.

AAP Reception

A dessert reception with a keynote given by the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Peter Agre on his career development and work discovering aquaporins.

Residency Luncheon

An opportunity to meet with residency directors from residency programs with a strong research focus. Many of them being physician scientist training fast track programs.


In addition to this events there were also panels cover topics such as Women in Medicine and Science, Technological Innovation in Biomedical and Translation Research, and Post-Graduate Opportunities.

Overall, the 2015 APSA was an amazing experience, one I hope to attend next year as well. I would like to thank my fellow colleagues: Andy Cox, Aisha Siebert, Alison Gaylo, and Alex Hajduczok as well as Kerry O’Banion for representing Rochester well and making the conference a lot of fun. I hope everyone has the opportunity to attend this conference at least once!

Kerry O'Banion presents at the CTSI Workshop - Patent Infringement: COX Fighting

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Kerry O'Banion, interim chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, and University President Emeritus Thomas Jackson will present Patent Infringement: COX Fighting, from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, in Helen Wood Hall Auditorium. The event is part of the CTSI workshop series, Good Advice: Case Studies in Clinical Research, Regulation, and the Law.

Read More: Kerry O'Banion presents at the CTSI Workshop - Patent Infringement: COX Fighting

In Memoriam: Robert J. Arceci, MD, PhD

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

photo of Robert Arceci

Dr. Robert Arceci

By Nina Schor, Chair, Department of Pediatrics, URMC

It is with great sadness that I report the death in a motorcycle accident of URSMD MSTP alumnus, Dr. Robert Arceci. Professionally, Bob was a truly outstanding clinician, researcher, and mentor in the area of pediatric hematology-oncology. He spent many years on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University, rising to the position of Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology.

Almost two years ago, he moved to Phoenix Children’s Hospital to become Chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology there and to launch, as Director, The Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine. Personally, Bob was a gentle and caring person whose sense of humor, calm in the face of turmoil, and perspective made him a cherished friend and advisor to many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jean, and sons, John-Carl and Andrew.

View Dr. Arceci's obituary

Foxe Appointed to Head Neuromedicine Research at URMC

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

John FoxeJohn J. Foxe, Ph.D., a nationally-regarded scientist in the field of neurobiology, has been named the research director of the DelMonte Neuromedicine Institute (DNI) and the Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The University of Rochester has long been home to some of the nation’s most innovative and groundbreaking research in the field of neuroscience and neuromedicine, said Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester. John’s appointment signals our determination to make this field a centerpiece of our progress as a University and Medical Center.

I am honored to be taking the helm of the DNI at this incredibly exciting time in modern neuroscience research, said Foxe. The University of Rochester is already world-renowned for its superb work in this field and we now have the opportunity to build an even stronger presence. Tens of millions of Americans suffer from a major mental illness each year, be it depression or anxiety, a major psychotic disorder, or Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, or addiction. And the list goes on. The National Institutes of Health estimates that only about half of these people ever receive treatment. We can and we must do better. It is only through research that we can develop new effective treatments and I am committed to placing the DNI and the University of Rochester at the very forefront of these efforts.

Read More: Foxe Appointed to Head Neuromedicine Research at URMC

Understanding the Enemy Within that Causes Brain Damage after Cardiac Arrest

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A new $1.7 million grant will bring together a team of researchers to study – an ultimately thwart – the chain reaction that occurs in the body after cardiac arrest that can ultimately lead to brain damage and death.

“While the biological sequence of events is triggered by cardiac arrest, the death and disability associated with this event is the result of a broader systemic injury caused the initial loss of blood flow and subsequent tissue inflammation once blood circulation is restored,” said University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist Marc Halterman, M.D., Ph.D., the principal investigator of the study. In fact, it is the cumulative effect of this systemic injury on the brain, and not the heart – that ultimately leads to mortality in the disorder.

Read More: Understanding the Enemy Within that Causes Brain Damage after Cardiac Arrest

Anolik Elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dr. Jennifer Anolik with MSTP Director, Dr. Kerry O'Banion

Dr. Jennifer Anolik with
MSTP Director, Dr. Kerry O'Banion

Jennifer H. Anolik, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy/Immunology and Rheumatology, was named a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected medical honor societies. Anolik, who runs URMC’s Lupus Clinic and Program, was nominated for her work conducting translational and basic science research on lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. She joins 18 other Medical Center faculty members who have been inducted into the Society in the past. Anolik is a former URMC MSTP (M.D., '96) and Biochemistry (Ph.D., '94) student. During her time in the program, she conducted research with Robert Bambara, Ph.D. and Russell Hilf, Ph.D..

Anolik’s research focuses on the role of B cells in systemic autoimmune disease through synergistic and innovative approaches in translational immunology and animal models. It has fundamentally contributed to the understanding of how and why B cell targeted therapies can be efficacious in subsets of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients and established these therapies as a major advance in the field of immunologic disease. Her work has broad implications for other autoimmune diseases such as vasculitis and diabetes, as well immunologic diseases like malignancy and immune deficiency.

Under Anolik’s leadership, URMC was one of 11 research groups across the country recently chosen by the National Institutes of Health to join the NIH Accelerating Medicines Partnership in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus Network, a partnership between the NIH, biopharmaceutical companies, advocacy organizations and academic scientists to more rapidly identify promising drug targets and develop new treatments for patients with these conditions. Anolik’s team was selected for this highly competitive award based on the novelty of their translational research proposal coupled with the unique collaboration between Orthopaedics and Rheumatology at URMC.

Read the entire press release.

Study Finds New Genetic Clues to Pediatric Seizure Disorders

Friday, April 3, 2015

Researchers have identified a new genetic mutation at the heart of a severe and potentially deadly seizure disorder found in infants and young children. The finding, which was reported today in the American Journal of Human Genetics, may help scientists unravel the complex biological mechanism behind these diseases.

These findings allow us to open up what was, up to this point, a black box and more fully understand the biological pathways associated with these disorders and why some individuals do not respond to treatment, said Alex Paciorkowski, M.D., an assistant professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and lead author of the study.

Once the mutation was identified, the researchers worked with neurobiologists in the lab of Marc Halterman, M.D., Ph.D. in the URMC Center for Neural Development and Disease, and were able to identify the downstream impact of the mutation, namely that it regulated another gene that has been associated with severe seizures called myocyte-specific enhancer factor 2C (MEF2C).

Read More: Study Finds New Genetic Clues to Pediatric Seizure Disorders

Irina Lerman Attends Endocrine Society's Annual Meeting & Expo

Friday, March 13, 2015

Current MD/PhD student, Irina Lerman attended the Endocrine Society's Annual Meeting & Expo in March 2015, held in San Diego. She was invited to compete in the Presidential Poster Competition for her first-authored top-scoring abstract, titled Neutrophil elastase potentiates human prostate cancer growth in mouse models. She is a first year graduate student in Dr. Steve Hammes' lab.

The Endocrine Society's Annual Meeting Steering Committee (AMSC) is an annual meeting incorporating current endocrine topics, speakers from around the world, and new and innovative formats that will incorporate basic research, clinical investigation, and clinical practice, with a goal of providing a venue for bridging the gaps in science and practice. The ENDO 2016 meeting in Boston, will celebrate the Centennial of the Endocrine Society.

photo of Irina Lerman

photo of Irina Lerman

SMD Ranks 12th Nationally in New Model to Evaluate Academic Physicians/Medical Schools

Monday, February 23, 2015

The School of Medicine and Dentistry placed 12th nationally in a new ranking designed to evaluate medical schools’ production of academic physicians who advance medicine through basic, clinical, translational and implementation science research. The new model, detailed in Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, analyzes publications, grants, clinical trials and awards or honors for medical school graduates to arrive at a ranking that the authors argue is based on more relevant and objective criteria than those that dominate the current ranking systems.

The well-known yearly analysis performed by U.S. News & World Report has become the main tool to compare U.S. medical schools, but these rankings of research medical schools rely heavily on subjective and premedical student performance measures, including assessment scores from medical school deans, undergraduate grade point averages and school acceptance rates. Although U.S. News’ research schools rankings incorporate total NIH funding and NIH dollars-per-faculty-member, these factors account for just 15 percent of the total score. (SMD was #34 in the 2015 U.S. News rankings; the 2016 rankings are due out next month.)

MSTP Announces 40th Anniversary Celebration!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Edward Rubin

Edward M. Eddy Rubin

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is excited to announce a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the MSTP NIH training grant on Friday, October 9, 2015.

The keynote speaker will be an MSTP alumni from the Class of 1980: Edward Rubin, MD, PhD, Director, DOE Joint Genome Institute.

Edward M. Eddy Rubin is an internationally-known geneticist and medical researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, where he became head of the Genomic Sciences Division in 1998. In 2002 he assumed the directorship of the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) to lead the JGI's involvement in the Human Genome Project (HGP).

For more information and schedule of events for the day, please visit the MSTP 40th Anniversary page.

MSTP Monthly Social Event: Curling

Sunday, February 1, 2015

photo of students curling

MSTP Students at the Rochester Curling Club

This past Saturday, January 31, the MSTP students visited the Rochester Curling Club for their monthly social event. Many of the current MSTP students attended the event including, Kyle Koster, Andrew Shubin, Andrew Cox, Aisha Seibert, Drew and Liz Scoles, Scott Friedland, and Kevin Makino.

Dating back to medieval Scotland, Curling is an Olympic sport (since 1998) in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles. The sport has become increasingly popular with over 1.5 million curlers across the world.

Below are some photos and videos of the event. Please join us for our next social event!

Andrew Shubin and Kyle Koster

Aisha Seibert

Drew and Liz Scoles with Scott Friedland and Kevin Makino