TTUHSC El Paso Highlights Medical Student Research at Annual Symposium



December 02, 2016
On Nov. 9 and 10, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) held its 7th Annual Scholarly Activity and Research Program (SARP) Symposium. The event gives medical students a chance to conduct their own research project with a faculty mentor. Students can choose to focus their research on one of three categories: basic clinical and translational research; epidemiology, community-based, behavioral, public and environmental health; or medical humanities, qualitative research and medical education research. This year, 56 second and third-year medical students participated in the symposium, which culminated in a presentation to a panel of faculty judges. After presenting and answering follow-up questions from the panel, four outstanding students each received a $1,200 travel award to attend a national meeting or conference of their choice. The four awardees were:
  • Dennis Vanden Berge, second-year medical student (MS2) “Outcomes Following Isolated Posterior Interosseous Nerve Neurectomy: A Systematic Review” Mentor: John Dunn, M.D.
  • Allison Mootz, MS2 “Small Molecule Drug Screen in Small Cell Lung Cancer” Mentor: John Minna, M.D.
  • Daniel Bassuk, MS2 “Using the CRISPR/Cas9 System to Prevent T Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia” Mentor: Charlotte Vines, Ph.D.
  • Jane Lee, MS2 “Testing of JNK Inhibitors for Neuroprotection in Spinal Muscular Atrophy” Mentor: Laxman Gangwani, Ph.D.
Six additional students rounded out the top poster presenters for their respective groups:
  • Kimberly Ferris, MS3 “Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Reminders for Improving the HPV Vaccination Rates within the Pediatric Population” Mentor: Melissa Mendez, M.D.
  • Jaibel Makiyil, MS3 “Efficacy of Platelet Rich Plasma in Modulating Wound Healing after Photorefractive Keratectomy” Mentor: Richard Yee, M.D.
  • Alexandra Martinez, MS3 “Association of GRIK2 Deletions with Manic Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder” Mentor: Suzanne Gonzalez, Ph.D.
  • Gregory Payne, MS3 “Macrophages Targeted Anti-Glioma Delivery” Mentor: Huanyu Do, Ph.D.
  • Elizabeth Ricks, MS2 “Efficacy of an E-learning Module Using Principles of Spaced Repetition and Adaptive Learning on Student Performance in Anatomy” Mentor: Dolgor Baatar, Ph.D.
  • Matthew Wynn, MS3 “Parity Inhibits Mammary Carcinogenesis by Altering Angiogenic Gene Expression” Mentor: Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy, Ph.D.
For more information on the SARP Symposium, please contact Carolyn Mack at

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