Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Research Trainee Program celebrates 20 years

STUDENT SCIENTISTS: This year’s class of trainees with Olson, far left, Slavin, center, and Williams, far right

For the past 20 years, some of the best and brightest young college and medical students from diverse backgrounds have participated in the annual Summer Research Trainee Program (SRTP) at the MGH. The highly competitive, eight-week program pairs participants with MGH faculty preceptors to conduct research projects in basic science, clinical research or health policy. The goal is to build a pipeline to academic biomedical research careers for students whose ethnicities are underrepresented in the field of medicine.

“This was our most competitive class to date,” said Elena Olson, executive director of the Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO), which sponsors the SRTP with support from the President’s Office, the Executive Committee on Research and the MGPO. Olson and her staff guide the logistics of the program, while Winfred Williams, MD, a senior transplant nephrologist and co-chair of the MAO Advisory Board, serves as faculty adviser.

On Aug. 1 and 2, at the end of this year’s session, 15 students presented their projects to classmates and members of the MGH research community, including a panel of MGH staff members serving as judges. Topics ranged from health policy – such as “Improving Quality and Safety for Diverse Populations: An Innovative Interprofessional Curriculum,” by Daniela Delgado, a University of Miami student who worked with the MGH Disparities Solutions Center – to basic research: “Abnormal Interactions between Huntingtin and Histone Deacetylases as an Underlying Mechanism of Transcriptional Dysregulation in Huntington’s Disease,” by Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, PhD, a Harvard University student who conducted her project under the guidance of MGH Neurology.

Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, joined the second day of activities to hand out certificates and congratulate participants on completing the program. “We hope that each and every one of you has had a great experience here. It is also a great learning experience for us, and we hope you will consider training and working here in the future,” Slavin said.

The SRTP receives additional support from the departments of Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, and Pathology. For more information, visit

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