Three Rensselaer undergraduate students—Mohsin Jawed ’16, Mattie Rosi-Schumacher ’15, and Dongbo Yang ’16—have earned a place in the 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. As such, they are among the first to benefit from the partnership that Rensselaer and Mount Sinai announced last year.
The affiliation agreement signed by Rensselaer and Mount Sinai in May 2013 creates an alliance that combines Rensselaer’s strength in engineering, data science, high performance computing, and technological entrepreneurship with Mount Sinai’s expertise in biomedical research and clinical care. The partnership is expected to offer significant opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and researchers at both institutions and, ultimately, to result in discoveries that advance human health.
Jawed, Rosi-Schumacher, and Yang are among 22 fellows selected for SURP, a 10-week program that begins June 9. SURP fellows are matched with a Mount Sinai faculty mentor and gain hands-on experience in a cutting-edge biomedical research laboratory. The fellowship includes free housing and a stipend.
This is just one example of the educational and research crossover opportunities made possible by this exciting partnership. We look forward to expanding a range of research, educational, and entrepreneurial activities with Mount Sinai, which will benefit students and faculty at both institutions and society at large.”—Jonathan Dordick
The program is reserved for outstanding undergraduates who plan to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. or Ph.D. and typically attracts students from the nation’s top research institutions.
The selection process is highly competitive, and Rensselaer students must meet the same rigorous standards as other applicants. However, because of the affiliation with Mount Sinai, some SURP slots are designated specifically for Rensselaer students.
According to Jonathan Dordick, vice president for research and Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, no other institution has a similar arrangement with Mount Sinai.
“This is just one example of the educational and research crossover opportunities made possible by this exciting partnership,” he said. “We look forward to expanding a range of research, educational, and entrepreneurial activities with Mount Sinai, which will benefit students and faculty at both institutions and society at large.”
All three Rensselaer SURP fellows are majoring in biology and have taken advantage of undergraduate research opportunities at the Institute.
Jawed, who is pursuing a joint B.S.-M.D. through the accelerated physician-scientist program, has been involved in research focused on analytical and organic chemistry and chemical engineering. His work explores guanosine-based G-quadruplexes or “G-gels,” their role in prebiotic RNA polymerization, and potential drug delivery applications. At Mount Sinai, he will join a bioengineering lab and work on cardiac tissue engineering.
Rosi-Schumacher, who plans to pursue an M.D. and to integrate research into her medical practice, has worked on two different projects in Dordick’s research lab. The first focused on the microbial biosynthesis of natural rubber. The second involved using lytic enzymes to selectively and safely kill pathogenic bacteria. At Mount Sinai, she will work in the Dudley lab, engaged in translational and biomedical informatics research to address challenges in systems medicine.
Yang, who intends to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in cancer research, is a member of the Cancer Cell Biology Group in the Department of Biological Sciences. At Rensselaer, he has been investigating atypical interactions between a lung cancer cell line and a normal fibroblast cell line. At Mount Sinai, Yang will be involved in cancer biology research.
In addition to research experience, SURP fellows gain an insider’s perspective on Mount Sinai graduate programs and academic life. Fellows attend weekly seminars, participate in department and work-in-progress meetings, and present their research during the SURP Fellows’ Research Day.