Reach New Heights in Summer Research Programs
From left, FDSRP student
Kristen Regini, mentors Rebecca Baron and
Laura Fredenburgh, and student Joel
A typical day in the lab for Joel Begay, a BWH summer
research student and rising junior at Colorado College, revolves around cells -
from creating an environment in which they can grow to evaluating exactly what
happens when they do.
He thrives on the detailed, exact nature of the work.
"I am the type of person who likes to be organized and work
in an environment that requires a lot of attention," said Begay, who has been
working in the Pulmonary
and Critical Care Medicine Division. "With cells, you have to be careful
with the timing of everything. It sounds
tedious, but I really enjoy it."
Begay is here as part of the Four
Directions Summer Research Program (FDSRP), one of two summer research programs
hosted annually by BWH's Office for Multicultural Faculty Careers (OMC) in the
Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (CFDD). Established in
1994, FDSRP is geared toward college students who are committed to improving
the health of Native American communities. The second program, Summer Training
in Academic Research and Scholarship (STARS), was established in 2008 and
provides similar opportunities for underrepresented minority undergraduates and
first-year medical students.
During these 8-week programs,
students work on research projects under the mentorship of BWH faculty members.
The programs foster the interests of the students as they consider future
careers as physicians, scientists or other health care professionals. Students
also participate in educational and training seminars designed to enhance their
professional and academic development and introduce them to careers in
Begay and Kristen Regini are two of
this year's nine FDSRP students. Begay, a member of the Navajo tribe from
Shiprock, New Mexico, has been assisting Laura Fredenburgh, MD, and
post-doctoral fellow Margarita Suarez Velandia, MD, by looking at how the cells
of a rare type of lung disease, called lymphangioleiomyomatosis
(LAM), behave under different mechanical conditions. Regini, a member of
the Tule River Yokut tribe in Central California, is a student at San Diego
State University and is researching the effects of Surfactant protein-D in sepsis with Rebecca
Baron, MD, and post-doctoral fellow Miguel Pinilla, MD.
"I've valued the time I've spent
with my mentors," said Regini. "They have taught me the importance of diligence
and curiosity in research."
Jaclyn Muñoz, a senior at Cornell
University and one of this year's 14 STARS students, is conducting research in
the lab of Vijay K. Kuchroo, DVM, PhD, in the Center for Neurological Diseases.
She is studying T cell differentiation, and specifically, why
a certain cell surface receptor is important for the onset of type one
"After applying for many summer
research opportunities, I chose STARS because of the quality of patient care
that the Brigham provides," said Muñoz, who plans to attend medical school and
someday care for underserved communities.
At right: STARS student
Kyle Burton with
his mentor, Cynthia
Kyle Burton, a rising junior at
Howard University, was drawn to the Brigham because of its prestige in
transplant surgery, an area in which he would like to specialize. He has
enjoyed working on Alzheimer's disease research in the STARS program alongside
Cynthia Lemere, PhD.
"The students gain invaluable experience
that will help guide their future education and career choices while setting up
professional and social networking at BWH," said Lemere. "The lab members
have the pleasure of working with bright, motivated young people who bring
energy and positivity to the lab. And, importantly, the research is moved
Both programs will conclude as the
students present their research findings. STARS students will present on Tuesday, Aug.
7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bornstein Amphitheater. FDSRP students will present on Wednesday, Aug.
8, in the Shapiro Breakout Room, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. For more
information, contact the CFDD at BWHCFDD@partners.org, or call 617-525-7646.