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Student Programs

Undergraduate Summer Research Program



Established in 1995, the Undergraduate Summer Research Program, sponsored by the Office of Diversity Education and Research, is designed for undergraduate students who have historically been underrepresented in bio-medical and health professions.

Over a period of 8 weeks, program participants attended seminars and conducted research under the direction of a faculty member with a focus on health disparities and social determinants of health. Students also attended admissions workshops, Kaplan Test prep seminars and participated in weekly journal club activities.


In 2018 we had 7 participants who presented their final projects during our annual symposium. The program is funded by the Dean’s Office of the College of Medicine. Program faculty included Dr. Mark Stewart, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Dr. Samuel Marquez, Co-Director of Gross Cell Biology for the College of Medicine and Director of Gross Cell Biology for the College of Health Related Professions.

2018 Undergraduate Summer Research Fellows

  • Kafayat Abdul, New York Universitystudent programs
    Title: Analysis of the retention time of Jublia ® in the nail plate
    Mentor: Caitlin Otto, PhD, D (ABMM), Director of Microbiology
  • Shannon Alexander, University at Albany
    Title: The effects of Macrophages with dying heart cells
    Mentor: Ming Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Anesthesiology
  • Nathan Kellyman, Oakwood University
    Title: Intervening in current US immigration policy to effect change in the Haitian immigrant population’s access to healthcare
    Mentor: Orlando Sola, M.D., Department of Family Medicine
  • Chelsie Larrieux, St. John’s University
    Title: The function of the Sphingomyelin Synthase (SMS) gene family (SMS1
    SMS2, SMSr)
    Mentors: Yeun-po (Robert) Chiang, PhD., Xian-Cieng Jiang, PhD.,
    Department of Cell Biology
  • Gayle Mendez, Syracuse University
    Title: Role of IL-17 and TNF-a cytokines on PD-L1 expression in an African American colon
    cancer cell line
    Mentors: Laura Martello-Rooney, PhD., Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
    Jenny Paredes, MS, PhD candidate, School of Graduate Studies
  • Adedamola Ogundipe, CUNY Baruch College
    Title: ATF6 and its effect on acute pancreatitis
    Mentor: Alexander Schwartzman, MD, MBA, FACS, Department of Surgery
    Chongmin Huan, MD, PhD, Surgical Research Laboratory
  • Chukwuka Okoro, Cornell University
    Title: Assessment of cardiac reserve in African Americans by Dobutamine stress induced
    changes in global longitudinal strain
    Mentor: Jason Lazar, MD, MPH, Department of Cardiovascular Disease


Hunter-Weill T32 Transdisciplinary Training Program                                                             

The T32 Program is a research training program targeting underrepresented minorities who have earned their doctoral degree. The program is sponsored by the City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College, the CUNY Graduate Center, State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University and Weill Cornell’s Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster serves as the PI for SUNY Downstate’s T-32 program. This program offers a unique experience that blends basic science research with epidemiology, health disparities research, health policy, community engagement, and clinical exposure. The goal is to increase opportunities for minority researchers in the area of health disparities research with a focus on diseases of the heart and lungs. Our first T32 fellow, Dr. Douglas Mansell is a recent Ph.D graduate from Howard University receiving his degree from the Department of Microbiology with specialization in molecular biology and immunology. As a graduate student at Howard University, Douglas worked in collaboration with Children’s National Medical Center under the guidance of Dr. Robert Freishtat where he investigated the effects of Vitamin D deficiency in adolescent asthmatics. Dr. Mansell currently works at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University as a young independent investigator under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Foronjy and Dr. Carla Boutin Foster. He is investigating the molecular effects of vitamin D in the reduction of airway inflammation in asthma and related illnesses in COPD.