TTUHSC El Paso Highlights Medical Student Research at Annual Symposium

TTUHSC El Paso Highlights Medical Student Research at Annual Symposium

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