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Medical Student Summer Research Program

A research opportunity for first-year medical students enrolled at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Explore careers in cutting edge biomedical research and academic medicine

Gain research tools applicable to clinical practice

Add distinction to your medical school CV

Develop mentoring associations with faculty preceptors

Medical Student Summer Research Program


Program Director:

David R. Harder, PhD, Kohler Company Professor of Cardiovascular Research and Associate Dean for Mentoring,, (414) 955-8200

Program Manager and Contact:

Seema B. Sernovitz, MSEd, Office of Academic Affairs,, (414) 955-8865

Summer Research Trainees Hit the GOLD Standard in Publishing and Presenting their Work

Michael Boswell

MSSRP offers an unequaled platform for medical students to publish and present, two gold standards for research and for this program. In 2015-2016 for example, former MSSRP trainees, Michael Boswell and Paul Hanna earned multiple accolades for their respective anesthesiology and nephrology studies.

Paul HannaMichael was selected to present his work at the annual Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, on April 4, 2016 and at the annual Midwest Anesthesia Residents Conference in Minneapolis, April 10, 2016, where he was awarded the overall Foundation for Anesthesiology and Education Research (FAER) International Anesthesia Research Society’s (IARS) first prize for his presentation: Altering buffer Ca2+ and pH stimulates activation of the mitochondrial Ca2+/H+ exchanger. Michael also was awarded one of two first places in the Basic Science category, including an all-expense paid trip to present at the May 21, 2016 International Anesthesia Research Society conference in San Francisco. Michael is mentored by advisor Dr. David F. Stowe, MD, PhD, Professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology and Amadou K.S. Camara, PhD, Professor of Anesthesiology. He is the past co-president of MCW Student Anesthesiology Interest Group.

Paul Hanna first was invited to present his abstract: A Glucose-activated Sodium Transporter in the Vasculature, at the 75th annual sessions of the American Diabetes Association Conference in Boston in June 2015. Subsequently he presented at the 2nd annual Department of Medicine Research Retreat in February 2016. His abstract also was selected for oral presentation at the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Physicians Conference, which will be held on September 9, 2016. His abstract will be published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal. Paul is an Honors in Research candidate. Former MCW Associate Professor, Niloofar M. Tabatabai, PhD (Medicine-Endocrinology) mentored Paul for the majority of his research. Kenneth R. Regner, MD, Interim Chief of Medicine-Nephrology is providing oversight for Paul’s Honors in Research manuscript submission.


2015 Dunn Prize Winners - Back row left to right: Daniel Keesler, Brian Uhm, Sunny Jeong, Scott Sandy, Michael Gehring, Xavier Glover, Jennifer Gray, Rachel Henning Front row left to right: Thomas Hirsch, Miles Klimara, Matthew Wright, Sophie Miller, Kristen Winsor, Merrill Rubens Seated: Dr. David Harder, Program Director and Seema Sernovitz, Program Manager

2016 Dr. Michael J. Dunn

Poster Contest Award Winners

Recent Travels!

Publishing and presenting are two “gold standard” outcomes for participants in the Medical Student Summer Research Program.

 Paul Hanna ADA

M2 Paul Hanna was invited to present a poster at the American Diabetes Association Conference, which was held in Boston, MA on June 4-7.  His project, "A Glucose-activated Sodium Transporter in the Vasculature” reflects the research he conducted during the 2014 summer research program, mentored by Niloofar M. Tabatabai, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition and as part of his pathways Scholarly project. Paul’s summer research training was supported by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Research Education Program R25 DK098104 (Regner and Dwinell).

Emily Callan, M2, received the Pediatric Research Student Research Award at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in San Diego in May. Emily presented her abstract, Decreased PGC-1α-SIRT1 Signaling Leads to Impaired Angiogenesis in Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN). Her mentor is G. Ganesh Konduri, Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of Neonatology at MCW and Children’s Research Institute. Emily participated as a trainee in the 2014 Medical Student Summer Research Program. Her fellowship was funded by a T35 training grant from National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.


Ryan Lubbe (M2)

Ryan Lubbe (M2) was invited to present his poster, Differential Effects of Buffer pH, CaC12, and Superoxide Dismutase on Ca2+-induced H202 Release from Mitochondrial Complexes I and II, at the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston in March. The project reflects his work in the laboratory of Dr. David Stowe, Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, as an NHLBI-funded fellow participating in the 2014 Medical Student Summer Research Program.

M3, Abe Schlauderaff

M3, Abe Schlauderaff was invited to present his poster at the Thrombosis and Hemostasis Summit of North America, in Chicago on April 10. Abe’s 2013 summer research fellowship was supported by the NHLBI T35 training grant.

M3s, Josh Jarman and Cecilia Jojola

M3s, Josh Jarman and Cecilia Jojola, were invited to present their summer research projects at the Midwest Student Biomedical Research Forum in Omaha last month. Both students were recipients of the 2013 MCW Friends summer research fellowships.

M3 student Rosanne Raphael

M3 student Rosanne Raphael attended the 55th Annual National Student Research Forum. She was awarded with Best Oral Presentation in Internal Medicine: Runner-Up. She states that "this would not have been possible without the Medical Student Summer Research Program and all of the wonderful opportunities that it provides us."

M3 Katie Strobel

M3 Katie Strobel presented at the 46th Congress of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology, which was held in Toronto in October. Her project, “Impact of Age at Diagnosis and Hypothalamic Involvement on Risk of Obesity in Pediatric Tumor Survivors, “ resulted from her 2013 summer research experience working with Dr. Sachin Jogal, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Hematology-Oncology) and a team of MCW collaborators.

Keely Browning (M3)

Congratulations to Keely Browning (M3) for her presentation, “Age-related changes in frontal cortex during high task demands,” which she delivered at the Society for Neuroscience Conference held in Washington, DC in November. The presentation was a result of her summer research project work with Merav Sabri, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology during summer 2013, in collaboration with Colin Humphries, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Sagar Patel (M4) who participated in summer 2012.

Medical Student Research is in the Spotlight

Abstracts of the October, 2016 Poster Session (PDF)

Kudos and Awards!

Dr. Stephen Humphrey Stephen Humphrey, MD, was the recipient of a 2015 MCWAH Research Award for the journal article, “The natural history of skin-limited Langerhans cell histiocytosis: a single institution study”, written with Dr. Matthew Ehrhardt and his research mentor, Dr. Sheila Galbraith.

This was a retrospective study examining pediatric patients diagnosed with cutaneous Langerhans cell histiocytosis. Previously it had been described that cutaneous Langerhans cell histiocytosis often progresses to systemic disease. However, from this small study, the majority of patients had complete resolution of their skin disease without systemic disease.

Dr. Humphrey participated in the 2008 Medical Student Summer Research Program and graduated with the Honors in Research Distinction in 2011.

Courtney Gaberino, M1, was selected as one of the 50 medical students nationwide to receive the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AO) Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. Only one student from each medical school may be nominated to apply for this prestigious grant, which supports one year of research. Courtney is participating in the 2015 Medical Student Summer Research program and will carry her project forward into her M2 year. Her mentors are Guilherme Garcia, PhD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences and John S. Rhee, MD, MPH, the John C. Koss Professor and Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences. The study aims to correlate patients’ subjective sensation of nasal obstruction to objective measures of nasal airflow using computer simulations in patient-specific anatomic models built from medical images. This project is part of a longer term project aimed at creating a virtual surgery environment in which surgeons can test the efficacy of various surgical combination to select the surgical combination that is most likely to benefit each patient.

Stephen Erickson, M1 received the Tough Like Ike St. Baldrick’s Foundation Summer Fellowship. Stephen will study the rose of ASCL1 signaling in Neuroblastoma mentored by Muthusamy Kunnimalaiyaan, PhD, Assistant Professor and T. Clark Gamblin, MD, Professor and Chief of the Surgical Oncology Division of the Department of Surgery. He is participating in the 2015 Medical Student Summer Research Program. His project is titled, The Roles and Functional Differences between GSK-3α and β in Regulating Notch3-Mediated Neuroblastoma Growth.

M1s Keith Weitze and Sydney Hansen each received Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation summer research fellowship awards to participate in the 2015 Medical Student Summer Research Program. Their preceptors are E. Brooke Lerner, PhD, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Angela Rabbitt, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics-Child and Adolescent Protection Services respectively. Keith’s project is titled, Preliminary Research to Support Point-of-Care Lactate Testing for the Identification of Injured Children who Need the Resources of a Trauma Center. Sydney’s project is titled, Educational module for healthcare providers in combating human trafficking.

M1s Matthew Bohr and Melanie Mercer each were selected to receive a summer research fellowship from MSTAR (Medical Student Training in Aging Research). Their preceptors are Edith Burns, MD, Professor of Medicine-Geriatrics and Jeffrey Whittle, MD, Professor of Medicine-General Internal Medicine respectively. Matthew’s project is titled, Improving surgical quality: Risks and impacts of readmission. Melanie’s project is titled, A comparison of methods to assess function in older veterans.

Three MCW medical students, Eric Simon (M3), Stephen Shumpert (M2) and Andrew Wuenstel (M4) won a clean sweep of prizes for their basic science presentations at the 2014 Midwest Anesthesiology Residents Conference held in Chicago on April 4-6. The prizes were awarded by the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER). The medical students are former participants in the Medical Student Summer Research Program (2012, 2013 and 2011 respectively).  Their fellowships were funded by a T35 training grant from National Heart, Lung, Blood and Sleep Institute, an agency of the National Institutes of Health (Grant number T35HL072483 David R. Harder, PhD, PI).

The presentations are based on their summer research projects.  Andrew is graduating with the Honors in Research distinction next month. The prizes were awarded as follows:

1st Prize:
Eric Simon
(Faculty mentor: Quinn Hogan, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology)
2nd Prize:
Stephen Shumpert
(Faculty mentor: Matthias Riess, MD, PhD., Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology)
3rd Prize:
Andrew Wuenstel
(Faculty mentor: David Stowe, MD, PhD., Professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology)

Page Updated 01/18/2017