Student Accomplishments

MSTP and the CWRU School of Medicine provides a training environment and ample opportunities to be prolific in the sciences and active in the community.  Here are just a few of our students' recent accomplishments.

Leadership roles

Bijou Basu, M2 in Genetics & Genomic Sciences, is the co-chair of the Doctors for America Women's Health Workgroup. She participated in the organization's 2020 national conference, moderating the Medical Student Poster Session.

Recent Publications

Jennings Luu, G3 in Pharmacology, published a cover paper entitled, “Epigenetic hallmarks of age-related macular degeneration are recapitulated in a photosensitive mouse model" in Human Molecular Genetics:!login-true

Lucie Ahn, G1 in Genetics & Genomic Sciences, published a paper entitled “An epilepsy-associated ACTL6B variant cauptures neuronal hyuperexcitability in a human induced pluripoten stem cell model” in the Journal of Neuroscience Research:

Liyan Fan, G4 in Pathology, published a paper entitled "Muscle Krüppel-like factor 15 regulates lipid flux and systemic metabolic homeostasis" in The  Journal of Clinical Investigation:

David Sweet, G4+ in Pathology, published a paper entitled "Myeloid Krüppel-like factor 2 is a critical regulator of metabollic inflammation" in Nature Communications:

Conferences and Presentations

Willie Miller-Little, G3 in Pathology (ITP), presented his work at the 2019 annual meeting of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society, in Vienna, Austria

Michael McHenry, G3 in Epidemiology & Biostatistics, presented his work at Keystone 2019 Keystone Symposia Conference A3: Tuberculosis: Mechanisms, Pathogenesis and Treatment in Banff, Alberta and at the 2019 American Society for Human Genetics meeting in Houston, TX

Research Grants

Twenty-three of our current students have been awarded F30 or F31 grants from the NIH. Below is a list of those newly awarded 2020 and 2021.

Muta Abiff was awarded an F31 for the "Role of IRFF2BP2 in Tumor Immune Evasion"

James Ahad was awarded an F30 for "Development of Real-time MR imaging and Visualization System to Improve MR-guided Prostate Biopsy"

Raza Haider was awarded an F30 for his proposed studies on "Phosphorylation as a site-specific regulatory mechanism of the liquid-liquid phase separation of TDP-43 low complexity domain"

Adam Lauko was awarded an F30 for the "Role of SerpinB3 in Glioblastoma Cancer Stem Cells"

Jessica Scarborough was awarded an F30 for "Exploiting Convergent Evolution to Design Biomarker Extraction Tools for the Prediction of Therapeutic Response in Cancer"

Jennings Luu was awarded an F30 from the NIH for “Identification of Novel Phosphodiesterase-modulating Compounds and Characterization of Associated Cytoprotective Pathways in Light-damaged Retina"

Sarah Venus was awarded an F30 for "Coordination of Phase Separation and Transitional Control by the RNA Helicase DDX3X"

Xinrui Zhang was awarded an F30 for the "Regulation of Pet1/FEV Binding and Chromatin Accessibility During Serotonergic Neuron Development"

Community Engagement

Bijou Basu, M2 in Genetics & Genomic Sciences, founded the nonprofit No Longer Voiceless in 2020. The organization has expanded to a six-person leadership team and is collaborating with local organizations like InMotion and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center:

Awards and Advocacy

Yi Fan Chen, G1 has been awarded the Harrington Discovery Institute-MSTP Scholar Award. The award recognizes students early in their career whose research has shown innovation and creativity, and the potential for progressing from scientific discovery to a medical therapy.

Derek Wong, has been awarded the Poster Award at the 2020 Lepow Medical Student Research Day. 

Xinrui Zhang, has been awarded the Oral Presentation Award at the 2020 Lepow Medical Student Research Day.

Medical School Graduation Awards 2021

MSTP students were well represented this year at the CWRU School of Medicine Graduation Awards Ceremony

Stevephen Hung was the recipient of The Martin Wahl Memorial Fund Award

Jiayang (John) Li was awarded The Minerva and Carl Wiggers Prize in Physiology

Colin Stomberski received The Max Miller Award 

Sarah Taylor was awarded The Robert M. Eiben, MD, Endowment Fund Award

Doctoral Excellence Awards 2021

Zita Hubler received the award from the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences

Daniel Leonard received the award from the Department of Pathology

PhD Defenses

We have had many students successfully defend their PhD dissertations recently.  Here is a list of those that occurred this spring.

Kevin Allan, "Modulating Oligodendrocyte Formation in Health and Disease"

Elliot Choi, "Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Therapeutics Related to the Isomerases in the Eye"

Liyan Fan, "Kruppel-like Factor 15 Regulation of Systemic Metabolic Homeostasis"

Daniel Leonard,  "Orchestrating PP2A Holoenzyme Assembly: From Normal to Abnormal and the Therapeutic Opportunity in Between"

Michael McHenry, "Genomic and Co-Evolutionary Determinants of Active TB Severity"

Otis Pinkard, "The Differential Regulation of Transfer RNA in Higher Eukaryotes and Their Emerging Role in Malignancy"

Kathleen Plona, "Exploring Molecular Pathogenesis to Streamline Future Therapeutics in Rare Diseases Using GSD1a as a Model"

Peter Qiao, "Improving Diagnosis of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Through Magnetic Resonance Molecular Imaging of the Extracellular Matrix"

Avery Sears,  "Cryo-EM of the Complex Between IRBP and a Monoclonal Antibody"

Susie Suh, "Treatment of an Inherited Retinal Disease in a Mouse Model by In Vivo Base Editing"

David Sweet, "Kruppel-like Factor 2 Regulation of Aging and Healthspan: a Link Between the 3D Nucleome and Disease"

Bryan Webb, "Defining Super-enhancer Landscapes in TNBC Subtypes"

Bowen Zhou, "Gasdermins: A Lattice Network of Cell Death Effector"

Match List 2021

Our MSTP students had an incredible year. The key here is not only where they went, but where they wanted to go and whether they had options. First choice was once again the rule rather than the exception. 




Washington University - Barnes Jewish


University of Utah

Internal Medicine - PSTP

Vanderbilt University


University of Texas Southwestern

Internal Medicine - PSTP

University of Michigan

Internal Medicine

University of California San Francisco

Pediatric Neurology

Cincinnati Children's Hospital


Students, if you have something new to add, tell us about it here.