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Meet the 2022 MSTP Summer Scholars!

Posted by on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Uncategorized .

This summer the Vanderbilt MSTP is hosting 6 undergraduate MSTP Summer Scholars. This summer program is designed to expose students from diverse backgrounds to the career of a physician-scientist and help prepare them to apply to MD/PhD programs. These students are on campus for 9 weeks completing a research project and gaining clinical shadowing experience. In addition, they have many opportunities to connect with and learn from current MSTP students, the MSTP Leadership Team, and Vanderbilt physician-scientists. Get to know a bit more about these students below and say “hi” when you see them around campus!


Bryan Hernandez
Undergraduate Institution: The University of Texas at El Paso
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: El Paso, TX
What are you working on this summer? This summer I am part of Dr. Bagnato’s lab in the neurology department working on identifying markers of neurodegeneration in MS patients through the employment of imaging techniques such as MRI.
Fun fact: I have broken my wrist, forearm, and elbow twice, all in my left arm. 


Rincon Jagarlamudi
Undergraduate Institution: Vanderbilt University
Year: Rising Sophomore
Major: Biochemistry
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
What are you working on this summer? I am working in the laboratory of Dr. Nancy Cox for this summer. I will be leveraging prediction models of gene expression to identify associations between phenotypes and genes implicated in GABAergic signaling. 



Sakinah Muhammad-Worsham
Undergraduate Institution: Georgia State University
Year: Rising Senior 2023
Major: Biology
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
What are you working on this summer? I am working in Dr. Cassat’s lab with Kara Eichelberger. We are studying the primary and secondary infection of bone marrow macrophages with S. aureus and C. albicans. Studying this will give us insight on potential “innate immune memory” as well as tolerance in the immune system.
Fun fact: My name means tranquility in Arabic.

Sarah Olmstead
Undergraduate Institution: Stanford University
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Human Biology
Hometown: Capitan, New Mexico
What are you working on this summer? I’m working in Dr. Michael Savona’s lab in the department of hematology/oncology. I’m exploring the insertion of a suicide gene into cancer cells using CRISPR/Cas9 technology.
Fun fact: My hometown of Capitan, NM, is also the hometown of Smokey Bear, the real bear who inspired the cartoon character whose famous line is, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”



Melanie Perez
Undergraduate Institution: Florida International University
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Biological Sciences and Natural & Applied Sciences
Hometown: Miami, FL
What are you working on this summer? I’m currently in Dr. Heather Pua’s lab, determining which immune cells are responsible for the secretion of YRNA and why the secretion of these YRNA differs during inflammation.
Fun fact: I have a baking blog, where I post videos of my favorite recipes 🙂


Kennedi Scales
Undergraduate Institution: University of Georgia
Year: Rising Sophomore
Major: Genetics, Sociology
Hometown: Castle Rock, CO
What are you working on this summer? I am spending the summer in Dr. Newcomb’s lab where I am investigating how sex hormones affect T cell metabolism using asthma as a disease model.
Fun fact: I play four instruments 🙂