Medical Student Research Scholars

FCMSC Research Scholarships afford medical students the opportunity to conduct a mentored MS research project at a CMSC member institution. These projects are designed to afford students exposure to MS research and clinical care, encouraging an understanding and interest in a potential career path in multiple sclerosis. The Research Scholar Program has been expanded to allow medical students the opportunity to conduct research projects year-round.

Your support of a medical student’s FCMSC Research Project experience builds the future of MS Care.

2019 Medical Student Research Scholars

 
 
 

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Medical Student Research Scholars Narratives

 
 
Noble Jones, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Noble Jones

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: Predictors of Intrathecal Baclofen Therapy Outcomes in Multiple Sclerosis Patients
Project Mentor: Francois Bethoux, MD

The knowledge I learned during my mentorship is that multiple sclerosis is a very dynamic unrelenting chronic disease that require frequent reassessment to help patients adjust to their evolving loss of function with one of the goals being to maintain independence during the disease natural history. As a future physiatrist and bioengineer, I hope to innovate technologies that can help to achieve this goal in the absence of a cure for the disease.

Participating at the CMSC Annual Meeting offered me the opportunity to connect with other researchers, learn more about the pathophysiology of MS and new therapies I had no prior knowledge of.

I start internal prelim residency at Duke University after which I will complete my residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Kessler/Rutgers University.

 
 
Sonya Steele, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Sonya Steele

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Clinical Findings in Healthy, Genetically Characterized Asymptomatic First-Degree Relatives of Multiple Sclerosis Patients and Healthy Controls
Project Mentor: Daniels S. Reich, MD, PhD

The outstanding mentorship I received from Dr. Daniel Reich and Dr. Irene Cortese have given me a greater appreciation of the significance of clinical research as a basis for improving the lives of people affected by MS. This experience has allowed me to gain valuable insights into the pathophysiology of MS and has helped me better understand how differently MS impacts each patient and their family. As I embark on residency training in Child Neurology, I will carry with me the personal stories of persons with MS and their relatives that have taught me so much about this complex disorder. I am also excited to continue my clinical and research efforts in this area in the hopes of improving the quality of life for persons and families with MS.

Regarding the sessions at the CMSC Annual Meeting I especially enjoyed the clinical and interdisciplinary focused activities and sessions, particularly those that provided insights into the pathophysiology of MS and aided in my understanding of how different MS and therapeutics may affect each individual. I am grateful for the opportunity to hear Dr. Anne Cross speak at our Scholar Recognition Luncheon. Her words and message to us were inspiring! I also found it inspiring to get to know people whose lives have been touched and impacted by MS, as well as fellow medical and other professionals-in-training who share my passion and inters tint the field.

I am enrolled in a 5-year combined Pediatric Neurology residency program at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD and currently in my first year of residency training.

 
 
Samuel Marcucci, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Samuel Marcucci

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: The Effect of Ocrelizumab on Lymphocytes in Multiple Sclerosis Previously Exposed to Lymphocyte Depleting Agents
Project Mentor: Aram Zabeti, MD and Ahmed Obeidat, MD

The most valuable learning experience related to MS that I derived from my research project was having the opportunity to be involved in every part of the research project, from design to analysis, is a rare and extremely valuable opportunity for a medical student. The clinical nature of my project also gave me some exposure to what is involved in the care of MS patients, as well as ideas for other project to do in the future. This mentorship was an excellent first step in my path to becoming a neuroimmunologist. It was my first experience in a clinical research project. This scholarship and mentor experience cemented my decision to strongly consider specializing in MS.

I think attending and presenting my project at the CMSC Annual Meeting helped me to confirm that MS/neuroimmunology is the perfect career for me. I was able to hear new scientific perspectives that I had never heard before, such as Dr. Trapps’ lecture. I was also able to experience the great community that exists in MS

I am in my third year doing clinical rotations. I will be preparing to apply for a neurology residency.

 
 
Alex Waldman, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Alex Waldman

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: Sexually Dimorphic Multiple Sclerosis Pathogenesis and Progression
Project Mentor: William Tyor, MD

My mentorship experience with Dr. Tyor during was wonderful! He taught me a lot about the grant peer review process, collaborative endeavors, and the logistics of conducting organized clinical research. Not only did I learn about experimental and clinical techniques (ie biochemical assays and MRI), but I spent a great deal of time learning the regulatory components of human subjects research. Overall, all skills gained will be extremely translatable as I move forward in my training and career.

Attending the CMSC Annual Meeting was a great way to engage with a diverse group of clinical professionals and patients living with MS. It provided me with novel insights into multidisciplinary care and pathways to pursue caring for patients with immunological conditions. The Scholar reception and luncheon provided ways to meet clinically-minded people at all stages of training and get feedback on my research project. In addition, my PhD focus is genetics of multiple sclerosis and learned a tremendous amount from the session chaired by Dr. Baranzini.

I am in my second year of my PhD as part of the National Institute of Health Oxford scholars program. In three years I will return to Emory University to complete medical school.

 
 
Leena Suleiman, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Leena Suleiman

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: Biosensor Detection of Upper Limb Dysfunction in Multiple Sclerosis Parent Study -TRAC MS
Project Mentor: Jennifer Graves, MD, PhD

Working on my research project alongside Dr. Jennifer Graves and learning with and from fellow students who had been awarded this scholarship to further MS research has been a tremendous opportunity. I’ve learned to appreciate the value of mentorship and perhaps more critically, recognized what meaningful and supportive mentorship is in practice. I received enormous guidance not only in conceptual and planning phases of undertaking research project, but, too, in the day-today tasks of data collection, data management, manuscript preparation, revisions, and working with collaborators at different sites. These skills are readily transferrable to future research endeavors

I am deeply indebted to the generous and forward-thinking of the FCMSC in sponsoring students to contribute to the MS research aimed at improving both clinicians’ ability to meaningfully capture symptoms and their progression and to also advance therapeutics to improve the health and lives of patients suffering from MS.

The conference was fantastic and enjoyed the opportunity to peruse the various projects that were presented, but I especially appreciated the Scholar’s luncheon. It was great to meet with the other students, learn about their projects, and listen to the various speakers. The discussion of careers in MS was the highlight of the conference to me.

I am taking leave to complete research in medical education then return to fourth-years clinical rotations. I am currently interest in pursuing a career in Neurology or combined neurology-Psychiatry.

 
 
Kim Young, MD, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Kim Young

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: Visual and MRI Outcomes in Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis
Project Mentor: E. Ann Yeh, MA, MD, FRCPC, Dip ABPN

Working with Dr. Yeh who is as skilled and knowledgeable of a researcher as she is a clinician, has taught me valuable insight into the complexities of clinical research, and how to apply knowledge gained as a physician to inform research questions and methodologies. I feel incredibly fortunate given this opportunity to participate in MS research and clinical care. As a future physician, it is important to gain insight into and contribute to clinical research that will advance patient care, complemented with clinical exposure that contextualizes the work I am doing. My project allowed me to explore new technological approaches to assessing structural changes in children with MS, as well as participating in MS clinics and rounds in the hospital. This holistic experience in multiple sclerosis clinical research and care has been one of the highlights of medical school thus far.

The scholars’ reception as well as the scholar’s luncheon was a great way to network with other medical students across different years, as well as other researchers/supervisors in the field. The meeting provided exposure to the current research being done in MS care and helped solidify my own repertoire of knowledge about MS treatment.

I am in my third year and begin rotations as a clinical clerk.

Lauren Hall, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Lauren Hall

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: The Role of Gut Microbiota in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis
Project Mentor: Carolina Ionete, MD, PhD, MD

This project allowed me to explore the field of clinical research during my medical school education. I gained insight into how to design a research project utilizing human samples and in collaboration with scientists outside of medicine to complete a complex analysis of samples. Furthermore, this research has given me a wealth of knowledge surrounding the pathology of MS and has provided a solid framework for my future as a clinician.

This research experience provided me with the funds to continue exploring a topic that I am passionate about. It motivated me to present my research at other conferences as well. I have a deep and personal connection to MS. I have always steered my academic pursuits towards neurology and now neurorehabilitation. This project allowed me to broaden my knowledge about a disease I am already passionate about.

I am a fourth year medical student, doing several rotations in physical medicine and rehabilitation. I will also be continuing my research on MS and the microbiome.

 
 
Alexander Liam Pearson, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Alexander Liam Pearson

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity is Positively Associated with the Retinal Nerve Fibre Layer Thickness in Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis
Project Mentor: Ann Yeh, MD, MA, FRCPC, Dip ABPN

During my mentorship, I learned about MS through the eyes of both clinicians and patients. I have gained knowledge in epidemiology, etiology, diagnosis, and the treatment of MS, and I have developed valuable clinical and research skills. I will carry these with me into my future as a physician and researcher.

This was a very valuable experience, I am very fortunate to be an FCMSC Scholar and the skills and knowledge that I have gained will serve as a foundation for my future work in MS.

I really enjoyed the Scholars Reception and Luncheon, as well as attending conference workshops and presentations which has helped me to network in the field of MS.

I am in my third year of medical school at the University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

 
 
Jonathan Ciriello, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Jonathan Ciriello

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: Phodphorylated SIRT1 as Biomarker of Relapse and Response to Treatment with Glatiramer Acetate in Multiple Sclerosis
Project Mentor: Ann Yeh, MD, MA, FRCPC, Dip ABPN

My presentation and participation at the Annual Meeting has given me more information about Multiple Sclerosis and the type of physicians working and doing research in the field. Presenting to a small audience gave me the opportunity to interact more with individual people.

This experience was valuable in developing my research knowledge and exposing me to the field of MS. It helped me strengthen my relationship with my mentor and has given me a valuable opportunity to present my work at the conference.

I am a 4th year medical student.

 
 
Lewin Staine, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Lewin Staine

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: Enhanced Regional Cerebral Perfusion following Acetazolamide: Preliminary Results
Project Mentor: Leorah Freeman, MD, PhD

During my time of research with the team of Dr. Leorah Freeman, I learned a great deal about a field I knew very little about prior, other than personal experience with friend and family suffering with MS. The unconventional approaches taken and innovative thinking were things that kept the research exciting for me, someone who did not enjoy the ‘wet lab research’ experience throughout undergraduate. Having a real relationship with the patients throughout the 12 weeks program, as well as seeing some of those very same patients in the MS clinic, has developed my professional as well as personal skills. This is something that I will be able to take with me and further my career.

Presenting at the Annual Meeting was a great opportunity to mingle with other professionals at all levels of medicine from professors, to researchers, to doctors, to other students and the contact alone will help me tremendously. Having the opportunity to have some critique and questions asked of my own research allowed me to come back and take it in a different direction.

I am in my 3rd year at McGovern Medical School.

 
 
Samantha Roman-Fox, Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Samantha Roman-Fox

Medical Research Student Scholar and Presenter

Project Title: Metabolomic Changes Associated with Calorie Restriction in People with MS & Metabolomic Changes Associated with a Time-Restricted Diet in People with MS
Project Mentor: Ellen Mowry, MD, MCR

Through this project, I not only learned how to conduct a research study from start to end but also developed many skills critical to clinical research, such as how to draft a grant proposal, abstract and begin to draft a manuscript for peer-review. Dr. Mowry was an excellent mentor who provided guidance as needed, but also allowed me the independence to have ownership over the project, which is ultimately why I learned so much from this experience.

I was already interested and passionate about the field of neurology and specifically clinical care and research in MS but this has solidified my passion in this area of work. In addition to being able to conduct clinical study, meet and interact with patients, and gain valuable abstract and manuscript writing skills, this experience has also provided excellent networking among MS providers at my institution.

Presenting my project at the Annual Meeting allowed me the first opportunity to attend a scholarly meeting solely focused on MS to help me get an idea of career paths others have taken and to meet other clinicians and researcher in the field.

I am completing my intern year before continuing on to neurology residency training.

 
 

Click here to View Previous Medical Student Research Scholars Narratives

 


Bayer Healthcare/June Halper Research Scholars

Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals has provided support through the Foundation for the annual June Halper MS Summer Research Scholarships, recognizing the contributions of June Halper, MSCN, ANP, FAAN, to the CMSC and multiple sclerosis comprehensive care.
Supported through an FCMSC grant from Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.

 

The 2018 scholarship was awarded to Kimberly Young, mentored by Dr. E. Ann Yeh, at the SickKids Research Institute. Kimberly presented her research project titled “Magnetization Transfer Saturation Reveals Subclinical Optic Nerve Demyelination in Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis” at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington.

 

The 2017 scholarship was awarded to Kimberley Chang, mentored by Drs. Anthony Traboulsee and Shannon Kolind at the University of British Columbia. Kimberley presented her research project titled “Myelin Water Fraction as a Potential Marker of Progression in Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis” at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

The 2016 scholarship was awarded to Megan Le, mentored by Dr. Anthony Traboulsee at the University of British Columbia Hospital MS Clinic and Research. Megan’s research project titled “Longitudinal study examining the relationship between FLAIR`2 and disability status in MS patients” was presented at the 2017 CMSC Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

 

The 2014 awardee Hunter Vincent, mentored by Dr. Mary Ann Picone at the MS Comprehensive Care Center at Holy Name Medical Center presented his research project titled, “Utilizing Technology to Improve Patient Adherence and Professional Patient Monitoring for at-home exercise program in patients with MS” at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 
Jamie Currie McDonald

The 2013 scholarship was awarded to Jamie Currie McDonald, mentored by Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant at the University of California, San Francisco, MS Research Center. Jamie’s research project titled “Salt intake and pediatric MS susceptibility” was presented by Dr. Jennifer Graves at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas.

 
Sirisha Grandhe

The 2012 scholarship was awarded to Sirisha Grandhe, mentored by Dr. Emmanuelle L. Waubant at the University of California, San Francisco, MS Research Center. Her research project titled “Environmental Risk Factors associated with Pediatric Neuromyelitis Optica” was presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

 
Jenny Feng

The 2011 scholarship was awarded to Jenny Feng, mentored by Dr. Robert Naismith at the Washington University in St. Louis John L. Trotter Multiple Sclerosis Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Her research project is titled “Tracking Neurodegeneration from Acute MS Lesions”.

 
Lisak & Jerry Loo

The 2010 awardee Jerry Loo, mentored by Dr. Lilyana Amezcua at the University of Southern California presented his research project titled, “Development and Testing of a Disease-Oriented E-Folder for MS Patients” at the 2011 Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada.

 

Steven R. Schwid Memorial Research Scholars

This award was established in honor of the late Steven R Schwid, MD, FAAN.
Supported through an FCMSC grant from Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.

Katherine Otto  

Katherine Otto received the 2016 scholarship. Katherine presented her research project titled “Correlation of Social Support Networks and Disease Progression in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis” at the 2017 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. Katherine conducted her research under the mentorship of Dr. Jonathan Howard at NYU Ambulatory Care Center Multiple Sclerosis.

 
Katelynn Wilton  

Katelynn M. Wilton received the 2015 scholarship. Katelynn presented her research project titled “Role of TCR/CD3 Signaling in TMEV-induced Demyelination” at the 2016 Annual Meeting in National Harbor, MD Katelynn conducted her research under the mentorship of Dr. Adam Schrum at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Department of Immunology.

 
Jyotsna Mullur  

Jyotsna Mullur received the 2014 scholarship. Jyotsna presented her research project titled “Analysis of the 25 Foot Timed Walk Test as a Predictive Factor in Multiple Sclerosis” at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN. Katelynn conducted her research under the mentorship of Drs. Peter Riskind and Carolina Ionete at the Multiple Sclerosis Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

 
Megan Collins  

Megan Collins was awarded the 2013 scholarship. Megan’s research project titled “Validating a Community-Based Measure of Leg Use for MS” was presented by her mentor Dr. Victor Mark at the 2014 Dallas Annual meeting. Megan conducted her research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham MS Center.

 
Rajarshi Mazumder

Rajarshi Mazumder received the 2012 scholarship.  Rajarshi presented his research project titled “The Fes-I Predicts Falls and ABC Scored in People with Multiple Sclerosis” at the 2013 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.  Raj conducted his research under the mentorship of Dr. Michelle Cameron at the Oregon Health & Science University and Portland VA Medical Center.

 
Morgan Boes

Morgan Boes was awarded the scholarship for 2011. Her research project titled “Dual Task Mobility Parameters as factors of Falls Risk in persons with Multiple Sclerosis”  will conduct her research project under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Motl at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Motor Control Research Lab.

 

The first annual Steven R. Schwid Memorial Research Scholarship was awarded in 2010 to Charlotte Philippson, for her research project titled, “A Pilot Study of Dynavision for Assessment of Visual-Spatial Perception of Patients with MS.” Charlotte conducted her project under the mentorship of Dr. Galina Vorobeychik at the Fraser Health Multiple Sclerosis Clinic in British Columbia.

 
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