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UTGSM Advancing Access to Careers in Medicine Scholars Program

The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine Advancing Access to Careers in Medicine Scholars Program (UTGSM AACMSP) is a new 8-week (June 7 – July 30, 2021) summer research program designed to improve knowledge of and access to careers in medicine and/or translational sciences among UTK students who possess outstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Prior research experience outside a class setting is not required.

Scholars selected for the program will engage in full-time, paid research under the supervision and mentorship of clinical and translational researchers at the UTGSM in Knoxville (see UTGSM Lab Placement Options below) and will also participate in academic/professional development activities through UTK’s Summer Research Scholars Program. AACMSP Scholars will have the opportunity to continue their research during the fall and spring semesters.

Thank you for your interest. The 2021 application period has closed.

Application Deadline: April 16, 2021, at 12 noon

Timeline: Applications must be submitted through the online portal by noon on April 16. Finalists will be interviewed online by UTGSM and UTK faculty during the week of April 19. Final selections will be made the week of April 26.

You may preview the application (in PDF format) here; however, all applications must be submitted online through the application portal.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Outstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Declared or intended major or minor at UTK in a STEM-related discipline
  • Anticipated graduation from UTK with bachelor’s degree no earlier than May 2022
  • Completed a minimum of 8 college credits of biological-based course work by program start date
  • Completed lab sections coinciding with biological-based course work by program start date; otherwise, must have some independent lab experience
  • Desire to pursue a STEM-related career, including but not limited to a career in medicine and medical research


Program Benefits

  • Participation in a full-time, paid summer research project under the supervision of a UTGSM researcher (for more details, see UTGSM Lab Placement Options below), with opportunities to continue research activities during the fall and spring semesters
  • Mentorship and exposure to careers in medicine and medical research
  • Compensation at a rate of $10.50/hour, including time spent engaging in professional development activities through the Summer Research Scholars Program, for up to 40 hours/week, for 8 weeks (June 7 – July 30, 2021)
  • UTK dormitory housing, free of charge, for the duration of the program

 

UTGSM Lab Placement Options

As part of the application process, you will be asked to indicate your top two research placement options. Please read the laboratory placement option descriptions (and watch the brief videos provided) found below. Your choices cannot guarantee placement within a specified program, but will assist us in making mutually beneficial placements.

Dustin Osborne, PhD
The goal of the Molecular Imaging & Translational Research Program (MITRP) is to create a multi-disciplinary center for molecular imaging research, education, and development of biomarker applications for preclinical and clinical imaging studies. Our program consists of multidisciplinary researchers dedicated to the advancement of molecular imaging. Clinical research efforts focus on building collaborative efforts between physicians and scientists to develop new imaging technologies and applications that improve clinical outcomes and the quality of patient care. Specifically, we are interested in developing new applications for existing FDA and non-FDA approved imaging compounds that may help in the diagnosis or treatment of cancer or amyloid-related disorders. The basic and applied Preclinical Imaging Research focuses principally on the development and characterization of novel radiotracers for the detection of amyloidosis and cancer in collaboration with the Preclinical and Diagnostic Molecular Imaging Laboratory.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7fLV3qHeWA
Deidra Mountain, PhD
Oscar Grandas, MD
The Vascular Research Laboratory (VRL) is a basic and translational research facility dedicated to the study of peripheral vascular disease. The VRL has two primary research objectives. First is to define the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to intimal hyperplasia restenosis, the most common chronic complication following balloon angioplasty, vascular stenting, and vascular bypass graft surgery. We have identified and published extensively on the dysfunctional gene regulation of enzymatic remodeling pathways and inflammatory modulators that play a mechanistic role in these complications. Our mechanistic studies have garnered significant interest toward the advancement of our second research objective. This involves designing nanoparticles for vascular drug delivery aimed at hyperplasia prevention and improved surgical outcomes. Current research in this area primarily focuses of the development of liposomal nanocarriers designed for targeted vascular gene therapy applications and their optimization as nanoscale biomaterials for vascular theranostics capable of simultaneous diagnosis, drug delivery, and monitoring of therapeutic response.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cvyezHSxjE&feature=emb_title
Tom Masi, PhD
Stacy Stephenson, MD
The Vascular Research Laboratory (VRL) is a basic and translational research facility dedicated to the study of peripheral vascular disease. The VRL has two primary research objectives. First is to define the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to intimal hyperplasia restenosis, the most common chronic complication following balloon angioplasty, vascular stenting, and vascular bypass graft surgery. We have identified and published extensively on the dysfunctional gene regulation of enzymatic remodeling pathways and inflammatory modulators that play a mechanistic role in these complications. Our mechanistic studies have garnered significant interest toward the advancement of our second research objective. This involves designing nanoparticles for vascular drug delivery aimed at hyperplasia prevention and improved surgical outcomes. Current research in this area primarily focuses of the development of liposomal nanocarriers designed for targeted vascular gene therapy applications and their optimization as nanoscale biomaterials for vascular theranostics capable of simultaneous diagnosis, drug delivery, and monitoring of therapeutic response.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN7hVMs7FZM
Michael Karlstad, PhD
We are interested in basic and clinical studies of shock, trauma, sepsis, inflammation, diabetes, and related pathobiological states, with particular emphasis on the biologic mechanisms that determine the response to injury and inflammation. We currently have studies investigating the effects of a highly purified form of eicosapentaenoic acid, derived from fish oil, that mitigate the release of deleterious pro-inflammatory eicosanoids that drive many inflammatory diseases including acute lung injury and impaired wound healing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYVbPC2Kfj0
Jonathan Wall, PhD
Stephen Kennel, PhD
Emily Martin, PhD
The Amyloidosis and Cancer Theranostics Program (ACTP) has evolved into a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, translational research program focused on the development and evaluation of biological reagents for the detection and treatment of amyloidosis and cancer. The history of ACTP is rooted in the study of light chain (AL) amyloidosis and the development of novel agents for the study, detection, and treatment of this disease. In recent years, the ACTP has both extended its horizons to encompass all amyloid-related disorders and some specific malignancies, and focused principally on peptides as biological agents for targeting these diseases as a means of detection and treatment. The major thrust of the ACTP is developing, characterizing, and translating novel synthetic peptides into the clinic for the non-invasive imaging of amyloidosis in patients by using PET/CT and SPECT/CT. In addition, we are developing novel strategies for the treatment of amyloidosis by exploiting the exquisite targeting abilities of the synthetic peptides. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, we are assessing the ability of synthetic peptides to inhibit cell infection by cytomegalovirus, a major cause of childhood deafness and mental retardation. Finally, work with the University of Tennessee Medical Center and UT College of Veterinary Medicine has led to our discovery that peptides can be used to target metastatic melanoma as well as certain carcinomas.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmRvkXQta0o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGsTD47D6q8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDoyS_weqtw
Jonathan Wall, PhD
Stephen Kennel, PhD
Emily Martin, PhD
The Preclinical and Diagnostic Molecular Imaging Laboratory (PDMIL) is a small animal imaging facility dedicated to the study of disease and the development and evaluation of novel treatments and diagnostic techniques. The aim of the laboratory is to facilitate the translation of novel therapies and diagnostic agents into patients by providing proof-of-principle data in animal models of disease, as required by the US Food and Drug Administration. The laboratory focuses on research into amyloid-associated disorders, cancer, atherosclerosis and diagnostic veterinary imaging. The facility, directed by Jonathan S. Wall, PhD, has four scanning suites currently housing PET/SPECT/CT imaging platforms, and a state-of-the-art integrated tri-modality PET/SPECT/CT imaging platform, as well as Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC)-accredited, long-term satellite animal holding rooms, conference facilities and laboratory workspace.

Program Requirements

  • Unless otherwise stated and as conditions continue to allow, the UTGSM AACMSP will run as an in-person program at the UT Medical Center in Knoxville. Scholars must provide proof of vaccination in advance of the program start date. UTGSM may be able to offer vaccines to selected scholars, if needed; however, all applicants are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
  • Scholars will participate in an active research project under the direction of a translational or clinical researcher at UTGSM that they are matched with during the selection process.
  • Scholars will attend and actively participate in UTK’s Summer Research Scholars Program, hosted by the UTK Office of Undergraduate Research & Fellowships. More information here.
  • Scholars will present their research at UTK’s Discovery Day, with additional opportunities to present at UTGSM.

 

It is the policy of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, that no person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or in any way be subjected to, discrimination in any program or activity of the University. Participation in this program is open to anybody, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, if they are capable of facilitating the achievement of its objectives. Discrimination based on age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status is prohibited. Any person having a question regarding laws and regulations, or who feels discriminated against, is encouraged to contact UT’s Office of Equity and Diversity, 1840 Melrose Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37996, (865) 974-2498, or oed@utk.edu.