(June 2023) – The Henry G. Steinbrenner Scholars Program is a 10 week immersive, competitive, funded, research-driven summer internship seeding the future of neuroscientifically informed care and cure efforts. This year, eight scholars entered the program and are already well on their way to producing, and then defending, their projects at the program’s culminating final research day competition.
Antonella Mini, working with faculty mentor Roberta Brambilla, Ph.D., is conducting her project on the role of astrocyte TNF-R2 in tract myelination in multiple sclerosis. Dhilani Premartne, advised by Patrick Ganzer, Ph.D., is examining the impact of spinal cord injury on cardiovascular and autonomic anatomy after SCI. Iliana Uribbe, under the supervisions of David McMillan, Ph.D., is comparing upper extremity functional assessments in adults with tetraplegia. Karolina Euqueres, in the laboratory of Brian Noga, Ph.D., is contributing to a project on limb muscle activity during targeted deep brain stimulation in tetraplegia. Kristiina Kinnunen, under Eva Widerstrom-Noga, Ph.D., initiated a study on self-reported effect of cannabis and cannabinoids on pain and pain pharmaceutical use in adults with SCI. Lakshmi Singh, with Coleen Atkins, Ph.D., is investigating whether inhibition of neutrophils improve behavioral outcomes after traumatic brain injury. Nitya Anne, also with Dr. Brambilla, is examining the role of astrocyte TNF-R2 in synaptic proteins multiple sclerosis. Shweta Shah, in the laboratory of Jae Lee, Ph.D., is working on fibroblasts and the fibrotic scar to characterize the type and location of fibroblasts in spinal cord tissue following injury.
Along with their immersive laboratory research experiences, the scholars also rise through programming such as the thrice weekly lectures, career development fairs, and professional mentoring. Applicants to the program go through a multi-step selection process involving multiple administrators and a panel of Miami Project faculty. This year, in a happy accident, all scholars happened to be women and the program director (Dr. McMillan) and coordinator (Maria Chagoyen) used this opportunity to convene an ad hoc panel mentoring session with the committee members of The Miami Project’s Mary Bartlett Bunge Distinguished Women in Cell Biology Lecture Series, a lecture series endowed by our very own Dr. Bunge.
Stay tuned for news on the scholar’s final research day later in the summer, after which the participants will continue their development as is proven from previous years. In the short time since last year’s Steinbrenner Scholars Program ended, two of the program’s graduates have received word of acceptance into medical school on scholarship and one is currently spending a semester at sea.