Eleven Undergraduate Students Participate in Research Program at Einstein
Designing a mini-gene, testing how cells communicate and developing a new line of therapies to fight fungal infections—it’s all part of the summer fun for 11 Yeshiva University undergraduates participating in an advanced biomedical research program at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Called the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and directed by Dr. Victoria Freedman, assistant dean of biomedical studies, the program has drawn 53 students in total from a variety of colleges and universities to engage in cutting-edge scientific studies, mentored by Einstein’s faculty. Each student is placed in a research laboratory in his or her field of interest and works closely with graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Group seminars and workshops throughout the summer give participants a broad overview of the many types of research conducted at Einstein and provides them with techniques and strategies to become better scientists. In August, the students share their work as part of a poster session.
“The aim of the SURP program is to provide each student with the opportunity to experience the many rewards and challenges of biomedical research,” said Dr. Barry Potvin, a professor at Yeshiva College and visiting professor in the cell biology department at Einstein who oversees the selection process. “It is hoped that some will decide to include research in their future career plans and that they will apply for admission to Einstein’s MD, PhD, or MD/PhD degree programs.”
The 11 YU students are clustered into three programs. Eight students—Amishav Bresler, Ariel Caplan, Irving Levine, Ariel Peleg, Daniel Rosen and Menachem Spira of Yeshiva College and Elisa Karp and Miriam Steinberger of Stern College for Women—were awarded scholarships through the Roth Scholars Program, funded by the Ernst and Hedwig Roth Institute of Biomedical Science Education at YU. In addition, Faygel Beren and Jordana Schneider were chosen as part of the University Summer Research Scholars Program, which is supported through the Provost’s Office. Nancy Shilian is participating through the Stern Einstein Research Connection (SERC), a program created by Stern alumni to provide funding for a Stern freshman or sophomore to perform scientific research during the summer. Each program provides students with a stipend and on-campus housing.
“I enjoy the responsibility of running my own experiments,” said Jordana Schneider, a biology and psychology major from West Hempstead, NY, who is working in Dr. Jeffrey Seagall’s lab in the department of anatomy and structural biology. “So far I’ve learned countless new techniques and procedures that have opened my eyes to the wonders of scientific discovery. Over the course of the summer I hope to broaden my horizons and fine-tune my skills so that I can add value to my lab’s research efforts.” Schneider hopes to attend medical school in the future.
For Elisa Karp, a biochemistry and mathematics major from Fair Lawn, NJ, the program’s emphasis on individual responsibility and self-growth was equally important. “My favorite thing about this program is the opportunity to work in a graduate lab where I am trusted to conduct independent research as a colleague, not just a student,” she said. Karp is working in Dr. Matthew J. Gamble’s lab in the department of molecular pharmacology and plans to pursue an MD while continuing in research. “I really like this lab because it involves many techniques of basic science research,” explained Karp. “I have also been given a really interesting project to work on—creating a mini-gene.”
Daniel Rosen, a biology major from Teaneck, NJ, was impressed by the potential implications of his research in Dr. Joshua Nosanchuk’s infectious diseases laboratory for people afflicted by dangerous fungal infections. “My work has given me the opportunity to learn about and develop a novel line of therapies,” said Rosen, who also plans to pursue an MD “I am interested by the practicality and applicability of my research—my work will eventually help patients suffering from potentially lethal fungal infections.”