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Young Research Scholars and SIRI Link


For the past three years, the Comparative Medicine Institute (CMI) has sponsored the Summer Interdisciplinary Research Initiative (SIRI) which helps undergraduate student gain laboratory research experience over the summer.  This year, CMI expanded the program in a unique way by linking it with the newly developed Young Scholar Award (YSA) Program.

On January 19, Associate Members were invited to a meeting to introduce the Young Scholar Award Program.  This program allowed Associate Members to submit an interdisciplinary undergraduate student research project to compete for funding.

The competition was held on February 5th in the CVM Research Building and ten groups presented proposals.  Seven of the projects were funded to become CMI SIRI projects.  These projects were immediately posted on the CURiOuS website and CMI had over 100 applications submitted by 57 undergraduates.  The Associate Member Mentors pre-selected five students to interview from the pool of applications.  Interviews were held on March 1 and seven undergraduates were selected to become members of the SIRI Program.

The projects and students included:

Comparing Pain and Severity Outcomes of Two Induced Models of Osteoarthritis in Young and Aged Mice.  Mentors:  Stephanie Cone (FTE, COE) and Morika Williams (TPP, CVM).  Principal Investigator:  Matthew Fisher (FTE, COE).  Co-Investigator:  Duncan Lascelles (TPP CVM).  Student:  Lauryn Braxton

Investigating Endothelial Cell – Intestinal Stem Cell Interactions During Hypoxia.  Mentors:  Kristina Rivera (TGG, COE) and Erin Sproul (FTE, COE).  Principal Investigator:  Michael Daniele (FTE, COE).  Co-Investigator:  Scott Magness (TGG, UNC-CH).  Student:  Madison Craft.

Developing Exosomes as a Mediator for CRISPR/Cas9 Delivery.  Mentors:  Kathryn Polkoff (FTE, CVM) and Li Qiao (CVM).  Principal Investigator:  Jorge Piedrahita (FTE, CVM).  Co-Investigator:  Ke Cheng (FTE, CVM).  Sudent:  Nithin Gupta.  (A second student, Sara Woessner, will be working on this project through private funding from Dr. Jorge Piedrahita).

To Engineer Fibrin Nanoparticles that Combat Bacteria within Wound Associated Biofilms.  Mentors:  Jessica Gilbertie (EID, CVM) and Ismaeel Muhamed (FTE, COE).  Principal Investigator:  Ashley Brown (FTE, COE).  Co-Investigator:  Lauren Schnabel (FTE, CVM).  Student:  Francis Kim.

Mechanisms of Host Immune Tolerance of Bacterial Biofilms.  Mentors: Jessica Gilbertie (EID, CVM) and Breanna Sheahan (TPP, CVM).  Principal Investigator: Lauren Schnabel (FTE, CVM).  Co-Investigators: Christopher Dekaney (TPP, CVM), Megan Jacob (EID, CVM).  Student:  Alicia Schubert.

The Development of a Three-Dimensional In Vitro Model of Mast Cell Neoplasia.  Mentors: Greer Arthur (TPP, CVM), Gregory Krane (TGG, CVM), Emily Wrona (FTE, COE) and Doug Snider (TPP, CVM).  Principal Investigator:  Glenn Cruse (TPP, CVM).  Co-Investigators:  Matthew Breen (TGG, CVM) and Donald Freytes (FTE, COE).  Student:  Ariana Frey.

From Contract to Colonization:  Characterizing How Genome Variability Allows Microbial Enteric Pathogens to Colonize Within-Host and Environmental Niches.  Mentor:  Daniel Dawson (EID, CVM).  Principal Investigator:  Xinxia Peng (EID, CVM).  Co-Investigator:  Cristina Lanzas (EID, CVM).  Student:  Ryan Li.

Two projects from last year were provided funding.  They included:

A Translational Model for Canine Hereditary Ataxia in Drosphilia.  Principal Investigator:  Mary Anna Carbone (TGG, COS).  Co-Investigators:  Natasha Olby (TPP, CVM), Robert Anholt (TGG, COS), Trudy Mackay (TGG, COS).  Student:  Anna McMillen.

A Biomedical Model for Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.  Principal Investigator:  Mary Anna Carbone (TGG, COS).  Co-Investigators:  Kate Meurs (TGG, CVM), Trudy Mackay (TGG, COS) Student:  Christian Tallo.