Fall 2022 Student Accomplishments

Throughout each quarter, we collect various accomplishments—from awards and appearances to publications and presentations and more—from Pritzker students to highlight and promote their outstanding work to the rest of the community.

Submit your own achievements for our next quarterly round up of student accomplishments through this page.

If you have an upcoming event, such as a media appearance or panel discussion, submit the information in advance so we might be able to help promote your participation in the event. You can also submit your peers' accomplishments, though we will seek their permission before publishing or promoting them.

Fall 2022 Student Accomplishments submissions: 

Phillip Ang, MS2, had a manuscript accepted for publication in Development. The paper, “Cranium growth, patterning and homeostasis,” examines the science behind calvarial development and characterized the molecular mechanisms underpinning the developmental biology of skull dysplasias. Dr. Russell Reid of University of Chicago and Dr. Max Tischfield of Rutgers University were mentors on the research, and Maeson Zietowski, MS2, was also an author on the paper.

MS2s Phillip Ang and Stephanie Cardenas led a one-hour seminar at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine, speaking to students in the Hispanic Center of Excellence’s undergraduate pipeline program. They provided their perspective on taking a gap year before medical school and offered strategies for successful MCAT preparation.

MS3 Saara-Anne Azizi and MS2s Phillip Ang and Meredith Hollender published a perspective piece in The Nursing Voice, the official publication of the Illinois Nurses Foundation. The piece entitled “An Opportunity for Nursing Outreach with Chicago Street Medicine” highlighted the role nurses can play in street medicine for individuals experiencing homelessness. View the piece here.

Alexandra Beem, MS1, had a peer-reviewed paper published in English and Spanish in the Pan American Journal of Public Health in October. The manuscript, “United States Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of reduced exposure claims for IQOS®: implications for regulation in Latin America,” grew out of undergraduate research on tobacco company marketing. View the paper here.

MS4 Dru Brenner published a paper entitled "Breaking the Silence: A Mental Health Initiative to Reduce Stigma Among Medical Students" in Academic Medicine alongside co-authors Meera Sakthivel, MS3, and alumni Brianna Farley (MD'22) and Helen Wei (MD'22). The paper highlights the work of the Pritzker Wellness Committee and the Mental Health Subcommittee under the guidance of Wei Wei Lee, MD, James Woodruff, MD, and Kate Blythe. View and download the paper here.

MS3s Alexis Cacioppo and Meredith Hollender and MS2s Meagan Matuska, Ifeoma Ikedionwu, and Jacqueline Kromash received a Helping Hands Grants Program Award from the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF) to support quality improvement initiatives at the psychiatric clinic at Maria Shelter.

David Fenton, MS2, won an Outstanding Presenter Award at the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Conference in October for his presentation entitled “Factors Associated with Fecal Calprotectin Collection Compliance: An IBD Center QI Project.” This research originated in his Summer Research Project under the guidance of David T. Rubin, MD.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, MS2, will give a podium presentation at the annual North American Skull Base Society (NASBS) meeting in Tampa, FL in February, presenting his Summer Research Project entitled “Characterizing Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Access to Surgery for Pituitary Adenomas at High-Volume Hospitals in the United States: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis from the National Cancer Database.” Miguel undertook the project under the guidance of Dr. Bakhtiar Yamini. Separately, Miguel had a research manuscript accepted for publication in the Journal of Neurosurgery for a project under the guidance of Dr. Debraj Mukherjee at Johns Hopkins University. Additionally, Miguel was awarded the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s 2022-2023 Bath and Body Works Scholarship.

Sara Saheb Kashaf, MS3, won the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Intramural Research Award for 2022. The award, which “distinguishes meritorious research accomplishments for a single, notable research achievement or a larger body of work of exemplary quality and significance,” was for one of her PhD projects, which used genomics to discover previously unknown microbes that live on human skin. Sara’s research has previously been published in Nature Protocols and Nature Microbiology. Read more about the work here.

Willa Li, MS4, gave an oral presentation on her research entitled “How did the COVID-19 Pandemic Impact Medical Students from Low- vs. Higher-Socioeconomic Status Backgrounds? A Multicenter U.S. Survey Study” at the 2022 Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Learn, Serve, Lead Conference in Nashville in November. Her research was completed under the guidance of James Woodruff, MD, and Wei Wei Lee, MD.

Frank Medina, MS2, appeared on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight program for a Latino Voices segment in early November. Medina, who also appeared on WTTW in June, discussed health care access and prostate cancer among Latino men. View the full segment and read more here. Medina was also selected to be part of the inaugural National Hispanic Latino Cardiovascular Collaborative (NHLCC) with the American Heart Association (AHA). The networking and mentoring opportunity centered around the AHA’s annual Scientific Sessions in November but will provide ongoing mentoring for a year.

Ayse Musaogullari, MS1, presented a poster entitled “Application of a Cosinor Analysis to Real-World IOP Measurements From Patients Using iCare HOME Tonometry” at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Annual Meeting in September.

Rimel Mwamba, MS2, received a 2022 Tylenol Future Care Scholarship. The scholarship, sponsored by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the makers of Tylenol, awards scholarships to exceptional students enrolled in healthcare degree education including medicine, nursing, pharmacology, laboratory sciences, microbiology, physiotherapy, healthcare management and hospital administration. Rimel was among 10 students chosen from among approximately 25,000 applicants to receive the program’s largest award. Additionally, Rimel received the 2022 GoodRx Future Black Physicians and Physician Associate Scholarship, which supports the ongoing efforts of future Black healthcare providers. She was among 10 students chosen from among 200 nationwide applicants to receive the honor.

Michael Okoreeh, MS4, had his PhD thesis research published in Science Immunology in August. The paper, “Asymmetrical forward and reverse developmental trajectories determine molecular programs of B cell antigen receptor editing,” can be viewed here.

Maria Ruiz, MS4, contributed to a report entitled "The Right to Interpretation & Translation Services for Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Needs in Maryland" that was published by The Public Justice Center and Centro SOL at Johns Hopkins University. Read the report here.

Isaiah Sommers, MS4 had a manuscript accepted for publication (Jan. 2023) in the Bridging the Gap: Transforming Medical and Social Care for Diabetes supplement of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The manuscript, “Trust dynamics of community health workers in frontier Idaho food banks and pantries,” originated in his Summer Research Project under the guidance of Marshall Chin, MD, MPH.

Liam Spurr, MS3, published two papers in Nature journals, including a paper entitled “Highly aneuploidy non-small cell lung cancer shows enhanced responsiveness to concurrent radiation and immune checkpoint blockade” in Nature Cancer and a paper entitled “Tumor aneuploidy predicts survival following immunotherapy across multiple cancers” in Nature Genetics. The research started as his Summer Research Project under the guidance of Sean Pitroda, MD. View the papers here (Nature Cancer) and here (Nature Genetics).

Anna Thorndike, MS2, had her undergraduate research on barriers to healthcare among people experiencing homelessness published in BMC Public Health in May. The paper entitled “Unmet health needs and barriers to health care among people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco’s Mission District: a qualitative study,” which Anna worked on throughout her M1 year, is available here.

Montse Tijerina, MS2 and Miguel González, MS2 completed the 2022 MOLA-MRF Scholarship mentored research program for Hispanic/Latinx students.

Stratton Tolmie, MS3, gave an oral presentation entitled “Evidence of Better Selection of Patients by Acuity into Priority Statuses After the 2018 Heart Allocation Policy Change” at the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) Annual North American Meeting in October. The project grew out of his Summer Research Project, completed under the guidance of William Parker, MD.

Tecora Turner, MS2, was accepted to the National Medical Fellowships (NMF) FARE Diversity Scholars program. The program is designed to provide mentorship and financial support to graduate-level students of color interested in food allergy research and community engagement. The 10-month program offers spots to just six scholars each year.

Gary Wang, MS3 had a manuscript accepted for publication (Jan. 2023) in the Bridging the Gap: Transforming Medical and Social Care for Diabetes supplement of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The manuscript, "Improving Diabetes Care Through Population Health Innovations and Payments: Lessons from Western Maryland," was a product of his Summer Research Project under the guidance of Marshall Chin, MD, MPH. Wang also published a paper in October entitled “The Role of Social Biases, Race, and Condom Use in Willingness to Prescribe HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis to MSM: An Experimental, Vignette-Based Study" in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. View the paper here.

Sabrina Wang, MS3, published a paper entitled “Can Alternative Payment Models And Value-Based Insurance Design Alter The Course Of Diabetes In The United States?” in Health Affairs in July. The manuscript, written under the guidance of Elbert Huang, MD, can be reviewed here, and the Health Affairs briefing Sabrina did alongside other authors from the issue can be viewed here.