Summer Student Research Program -- Alumni Information

Alumni Spotlights:


Summer Student: Alexis Vicks

Mentor: Heather Burris, MD, MPH

Training Period: Summer 2016

During her time at Boston Children's Hospital Summer Student Program, Alexis Vicks studied genetic indicators of preterm birth under Heather Burris, MD, MPH. This research led to a published peer-review article in Current Epidemiology Reports. In addition to being a trainee of the Summer Student Program, Vicks is a Medical Student at University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

Vick, A. D., & Burris, H. H. (2017). Epigenetics and Health Disparities. Current Epidemiology Reports,4(1), 31–37. http://doi.org/10.1007/s40471-017-0096-x

Summer Student: Inbar Yamin

Mentor: Pankaj Agrawal, MBBS, MMSc/strong>

Training Period: Summer 2016

Inbar Yamin participated in the Summer Student Program in 2016. She studied the use of genomic information during the newborn period under Pankaj Argawal, MBBS, MMSc. As a result of this research an article was published in Genetics in Medicine. In addition to participating in the Summer Student Program, Inbar is completing her Medical Degree at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Wojcik, M. H., Schwartz, T. S., Yamin, I., Edward, H. L., Genetti, C. A., Towne, M. C., and Agrawal, P. B. (2018). Genetic disorders and mortality in infancy and early childhood: Delayed diagnoses and missed opportunities. Genetics in Medicine. doi:10.1038/gim.2018.17

Summer Student: Nabgha Farhat, MD

Mentor: Ellen P. Grant, MD

Training Period: Summer 2015

As a Summer Student, Nabgha Farhat, MD studied spatio-temporal patterns of cortical folding in human fetal brains under Ellen P. Grant, MD. This research led to a publication in Cerebral Cortex. Since studying at Boston Children's Hospital, Nabgha completed Medical School at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and is now a Pediatric Resident at the University of Chicago.

Tarui, T., Madan, N., Farhat, N., Kitano, R., Tanritanir Ceren, A., Graham, G., Gagoski, B., Craig, A., Rollins, C., Ortinau, C., Iyer, V., Pienaar, R., Bianchi, DW., Grant, PE., Im K. (2017). Disorganized Patterns of Sulcal Position in Fetal Brains with Agenesis of Corpus Callosum. Cerebral Cortex, 28(9), 3192-3203. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhx191

Summer Student: Erin Alyssa Straw Paul, MD

Mentor: Karen Puopolo, MD, PhD

Training Period: Summer 2008

Dr. Paul earned her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, after participating in the Harvard Newborn Medicine Summer Student Program. Currently Dr. Paul is a Pediatric Cardiology Fellow at New York-Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia and Cornell. She carried out her residency at Cornell during which time her research focused on attitudes among doctors and nurses toward management of newborns with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and the changes in those attitudes overtime. In collaboration with Thomas Starc, MD, MPH, she conducted a survey of CUMC doctors and nurses on their opinions of treatment options for newborns with HLHS. The results of which were presented at Eastern Society for Pediatric Research. Since then Dr. Paul's efforts in research have been rewarded with two awards. Firstly, the Andrew Kind Research Award in 2015, where, as principal investigator her research focused on cardiac magnetic resonance imaging error correction in pediatrics and congenital heart disease patients. The goal was to provide more patients with access to valuable test and improve the care of pediatric MRI studies. Secondly, in 2016, Dr. Paul was awarded the Matthew's Hearts of Hope Award, with a project titled "Assessment of Subclinical Myocardial Dysfunction Using Speckle Tracking Echocardiography in Young Children with Obesity." Her work has resulted in first-author papers recently published in Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiology in the Young.

Summer Student: Yana Pickman, MD

Mentor: Marco Ramoni, PhD

Training Period: Summer 2003

Dr. Pikman earned her Medical Degree magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School, and was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship. She has gone on to become an Attending Physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children's Hospital, and is an Instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition, Dr. Pikman holds a Hematologic Malignancy Genomics Tumor Board Leader Position. Her current research efforts focus on using genomic, genetic and proteomic approaches to develop new therapies for hematologic malignancies, to perform necessary pre-clinical studies with new therapies, as well as to develop assays for measuring biological markers that can be used in early phase clinical trials. Her research lies at the interface of the laboratory and the clinic in order to translate her laboratory findings to patient care. As a result, Dr. Pikman was awarded the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Young Investigator Award. This has been followed by six more funded projects for which she in principal investigator, including the Boston Children's Hospital Faculty Career Development Fellowship and Translational Research Program Pilot Grant, the Leukemia Research Award from the Lauri Strauss Foundation, the International Award for Research in Leukemia from the Lady Tata Memorial Trust, and the Wong Family Award in Translational Oncology from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In addition to these accomplishments, Dr. Pikman is currently supported by a Child Health Research Center K12 grant, and her research has recently resulted in first-author papers published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine and Clinical Cancer Research.

Summer Student: Ann Ramsey Dahlberg, MD

Primary Mentor: Gary Silverman, MD, PhD

Training Period: Summer 2002

>After her participation in the Harvard Newborn Summer Student Research Program, Dr. Ramsay completed her medical training at Harvard Medical School. She is currently Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Hematology/Oncology department of the University of Washington. Her clinical expertise involves pediatric stem cell transplant with a focus on cord blood transplant and leukemia. Whilst working as a research associate in the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutch in 2003, Dr. Dahlberg was awarded the Hope On Wheels' Hyundai Hope Grant to support her research focusing on decreasing life-threatening infections in patients with high-risk leukemias. Since then Dr. Ramsay has become Assistant Member of the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutch, with her research focusing on cord blood transplant, ex-vivo expansion of cord blood progenitor cells for clinical application and supportive care. During this time she has received funding from the National Cancer Institute for Pilot Phase II Trial studying how well giving an umbilical cord blood transplant together with cyclophosphamide, fludarabine phosphate, and total-body irradiation (TBI) works in treating patients with hematologic disease, for which she is principal investigator. Her recent research has resulted in one first-author publication in Blood, and contributed to others in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet Hematology.

Student feedback about the program

Graduation
  • "The Program did a good job introducing us to the full spectrum of newborn medicine by showing us what occurs in normal delivery and care, as well as special circumstances in the NICU and Infant Follow-Up."
  • "I really enjoyed that both research and clinical work were the focus of this Program. I now have a better understanding of the clinical practice of neonatology and the direction in which neonate research is going."
  • "The Program is a fantastic mix of clinical experience and research experience."
  • "Most of my peers in other programs were solely exposed to either research or clinics. That was what I thought was so great about this Program. The research was intense; however, I also got clinical exposure in a field of medicine that most medical students don't see until residency. The clinical exposure added an extra dimension to an already abstract experience, allowing us to see why the research we were taking part in was so important."
  • "The research was intense, and I was able to complete a project which is something I have never done before."
  • "I loved the case presentations every Wednesday, the shadowing opportunities, the binder chock-full of information…everything! It was all so well organized and put together, and I learned so much!"
  • "Loved the clinical aspect of the Program! I really enjoyed the weekly conferences and all the learning that took place."
  • "I always had an interest in pediatrics, but I had never been exposed to neonatology. This Program has helped me learn more about neonatology and I now consider it a field to pursue in the future."
  • "The Program has exposed me to other areas of pediatrics, such as developmental pediatrics, that I would like to pursue. Also, it has sold me on Boston as a place to train."
  • "Before this Program I was still deciding if I should apply for an M.D. or Ph.D. However, after this Program, I realized how much more I enjoy the clinical setting and how the M.D. path is definitely one that I should pursue."
  • "This Program has given me tremendous exposure to the field of neonatology. With that exposure and first hand experience, I will be more able to make an informed career decision when the time comes."
  • "This Program solidified my interest in pursuing a career in pediatrics and especially in engaging in clinical research."
  • "Through my experiences with the SSRP, I know now that I want to pursue a career as pediatric research physician, and spend the rest of my life caring for children."
  • "My research project coupled with clinical experiences with my mentor have sparked my interest/passion for neonatology, and I am looking forward to the direction this takes me."
  • "I really enjoyed meeting the other summer students and learning about their work; as well, it was enjoyable working in teams on cases and learning from other students' knowledge and skill sets."
  • "I really enjoyed the autonomy I received during the program's duration. I was able to meet with my post-doc and work with him to essentially design experiments from scratch. That aspect of the program was irreplaceable."

Let us know where you are now

  • To help keep us up-to-date on your educational and professional plans and accomplishments, send us an email to let us know where you are now, and what path your career has taken since your participation in the Summer Student Research Program (newbornsummerstudentprogram@childrens.harvard.edu).