Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR)

Translational Science

Joan W. Berman, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pathology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology


Medical students interested in translational research as part of the SOAR program will have the opportunity to examine mechanisms of both normal and aberrant cellular and molecular processes, as well as the pathogenesis of specific diseases.  The student will learn how to develop and address a scientific question, and will perform “hands on” bench work as part of a dynamic, interdisciplinary team. There will also be opportunities to interact with other scientists in the student’s chosen area of interest both within and outside Einstein/Montefiore by attending lectures, conferences and scientific meetings.

Areas of research available include neuroinflammation, cognitive impairment, cancer, stem cell biology, development, aging, genetics, and immunology, to name a few. Specific disease processes to be studied include, but are not limited to, breast cancer, prostate cancer, head and neck cancers, Infectious Diseases, AIDS, NeuroAIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, and other autoimmune diseases, autism and Alzheimer’s disease. In vitro and in vivo models as well as human tissues, fluids and clinical data will be used depending upon which project is selected. The student will have the opportunity to understand his/her work in the context of the normal or disease process being examined.

Students will identify a laboratory with guidance from the SOAR executive committee. The Principle Investigator (PI) of that lab will become the student’s mentor, advising her/him in all aspects of the research as well as about how to be a successful and productive member of the scientific community. The student will also work closely with other members of the lab, being trained in state of the art techniques, approaches, design of experiments and data analyses. The student will have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of training, including lab meetings, journal clubs and individual meetings with the PI. As a result of this research, the student and the PI will prepare a manuscript for submission to a peer reviewed journal with the student as first author.

All SOAR Translational Science students will meet monthly with all other SOAR participants to discuss findings, hone oral and written presentation skills, and to learn how to evaluate and present published papers. They will also have the opportunity to attend grant writing sessions. There will be a school wide Medical Student Research Symposium at which they will share their work and be honored at a reception.

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