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Student Success Stories
MERIT Health Leadership Academy
As a high school student in the MERIT Health Leadership Academy, Julius Gingles had the exciting opportunity to shadow clinicians and conduct lab research across several Johns Hopkins medical institutions. Last summer, Julius worked in the neuroscience lab of Dr. Paul Worley, where he studied the relationship between autism and mTORC1 protein expression. Based on his research, Julius was one of three MERIT scholars who earned awards at the Hopkins C.A.R.E.S. symposium competing against peers from across the country.
With hard work and a steadfast commitment to a future in neuroscience, Julius has earned himself a host of academic achievements. As part of a synthetic-biology student group at the Baltimore Underground Science Space (BUGSS), Julius and a team of MERIT scholars won bronze at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGem) competition, with an innovative proposal to use bacteria to eliminate pollution in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. In MERIT’s SAT class, Julius raised his SAT score by 370 points, placing him in the 95th percentile nationwide.
Through these accomplishments, Julius earned the prestigious QuestBridge National Match Scholarship. As a result, Julius will be attending Brown University next year on a full-ride scholarship.
Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Scholars Program
Salman Hirani was part of the cohort of the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Scholars Program in the summer of 2011. With the guidance of his mentors, Drs. Adil Haider and Eric Schneider, he focused his research on traumatic brain injury in older adults. The group's work, "Fighting the Weekend Trend: Increased Mortality in Older Adult TBI Patients Admitted on Weekends," was accepted and presented at the Academic Surgical Congress in Las Vegas and the 50th Annual Medical Student Research Forum at UT Southwestern. The research manuscript also been submitted to the Journal of Surgical Research.
Salman has been accepted to the Boston University Summer Institute in Geriatric Medicine, a program he'll begin in May 2012. He believes that the successes that have followed him this year and his understanding of the disparities that underlie his research would not have been possible without the aid of the MSTAR program. He also credits the help of the faculty at Hopkins, including Drs. Haider, Schneider, Barron and Durso, and the help of faculty at UT Southwestern, including Deans Michael McPhaul, Byron Cryer, James Wagner, and Drs. Anne Brancaccio and Amit Shah. He also thanks his brother Zishan Hirani, who also is a medical student at UT Southwestern and has taught Salman the various research methods needed to succeed as a physician scientist.
Salman will be presenting his research at the American Geriatrics Society meeting in May 2012. He currently is completing the last few months of his second year of medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas.
NIH/NIDA Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research
Evan Goldart graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. As a science major, he wanted to do research over the summer, and after exploring potential positions, decided that the NIH Summer Internship Program was the most promising of such positions. He was offered a position in Dr. Yavin Shaham’s lab at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and enjoyed his experience so much that he returned as a summer intern the following summer, then applied to the NIH Postbaccalaureate Program to continue doing research after graduation.
During his summers at NIDA, Evan worked on two projects that explored the role of the brain’s reward pathway in addiction and the effects different pharmacological manipulations of that pathway have on addictive behavior. During his last two years as a post-baccalaureate, he's explored the hypothesis that small, sparsely distributed sets of activated neurons, rather than entire sub-regions of the brain, encode learned associations that play a causal role in cue-induced heroin seeking behavior after prolonged withdrawal from heroin. "My time at NIDA as a summer student and a postbaccalaureate has given me invaluable research experience and training," Evan explains.
In the summer of 2012, he will return to the University of Pennsylvania to finish pre-med courses, then apply to medical school the following summer.
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