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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

Summer Program in Translational Disparities and Community Engaged Research (SPRINTER):


The Summer Program in Translational Disparities and Community Engaged Research (SPRINTER) is a part of the NIH Endowment Translational Program of Health Disparities Research Training (TRANSPORT) Grant. The goal is to motivate and excite students who have the prospect of a career in biomedical research. Over a period of 7-weeks, undergraduate students are exposed to principles of health disparities and translational research through hands-on research experience, discussions on social determinants of health, networking opportunities, community engagement and outreach opportunities. Students also attended weekly lectures on an introduction to basic and clinical science research techniques. This first year of SPRINTER included five students from partnering schools, Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn College, and SUNY Albany, along with a student from Spelman College. All final research projects were presented during the SPRINTER research symposium.

SPRINTER Provides:


  • Hands-on
  • Research methodology skills
  • Discussions on social determinants of health
  • Journal club discussions
  • Networking opportunities
  • Community engagement and outreach opportunities
  • Training in basic science techniques
  • Public Speaking/ Research presentation skills

2018 SPRINTER Fellows:


  • ADIA BENJAMIN, Spelman College
    Project: A study to reduce sodium intake (Survey Validity)
    Mentor: Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster
  • ABEERA KAHLID, Medgar Evers College
    Project: A study to reduce sodium intake (Barriers to Adherence)
    Mentor: Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster
  • JORGE LATA, Brooklyn College
    Project: A study to reduce sodium intake (Social Support)
    Mentor: Dr. Carla Boutin-Foster
  • CHRIS DESROSIN, University at Albany
    Project: Overdiagnosis of Psychosis in African Americans
    Mentor: Dr. Michele T. Pato
  • JENESSA GEORGE, University at Albany
    Project: Frailty and Dementia in Older Adults: a Cross-Sectional Study.
    Mentor: Dr. Michael Reinhardt
  • JAILENE PAREDES, CUNY Brooklyn College
    Project: Comparing Life Births of African American Women Having Schizophrenia or Bipolar.
    Mentor: Dr. Michele T. Pato