BLAISER Closing Ceremony Brings Kudos for Students, Mentors Alike

Program for closing ceremony of UA Health Sciences' 2018 Border Latino and American Indian Summer Exposure to Research (BLAISER) ProgramFour faculty members in the University of Arizona Department of Medicine participated as mentors in the Border Latino and American Indian Summer Exposure to Research (BLAISER) Program and were recognized Aug. 7 at the closing ceremony for the class of 2018 student participants.

The 20 students, mostly from the UA or Arizona State University, acknowledged their mentors and gave presentations on their research projects.

Video from ceremony, including student participant presentations can be viewed here.

The program for the event highlights not only the students and their mentors, but also features abstracts of presentations, speakers and their topics at the BLAISER Minority Health Disparities Lecture Series (June 4-Aug. 1), and a photo gallery.

View the program here:  2018-blaiser-closing-program-with-abstracts_v2_final_8.7.18.pdf

Department of Medicine Mentors

The mentors, their students and projects include:

  • Dr. Steve BlackMentor: Stephen Black, PhD, professor and director, Lung Vascular Pathobiology Program, UA Division of Translational and Regenerative Medicine – Student: Ferris Saad, Arizona State University – Project: “Pro-Inflammatory Effect of Calcium Channel TRPV4 Activation in Human Pulmonary Artery Endothelial Cells”


  • Dr. Jane MohlerMentor: Jane Mohler, RN, MSN, MPH, PhD, professor of medicine and pharmacy practice science, associate professor of nursing and public health, and associate director, UA Center on Aging – Student: Mattsue Cahue-Lopez, ASU – Project: “Association Between Depressive Symptoms with Physical and Cognitive Function in Healthy Young Adults”

  • Dr. Jil TardiffMentor: Jil Tardiff, MD, PhD, professor, UA Division of Cardiology, associate chair for research, UA Department of Medicine, Steven M. Gootter Endowed Chair for the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death, and member, UA Sarver Heart Center and BIO5 Institute – Student: Natalie Munguia, UA – Project: “Effects of Tropomyosin Mutations on Binding Affinity with F-Actin”


  • Dr. Jason YuanMentor: Jason X.-J. Yuan, MD, PhD, professor and chief, UA Division of Translational and Regenerative Medicine, and associate vice president for translational health sciences, UA Health Sciences – Student: Brooke Quinton, UA – Project: “Pathogenic Role of STIM2 in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension”

Other Projects of Interest

Several other projects had themes of interest to DOM faculty:

  • Mentor: Diego Martin, MD, PhD, chair, UA Department of Medical Imaging  – Students: Tomas Aramburu, Haverford College, Pa., and Luis Machado Niebla, ASU – Project: “Demographics of Fatty Liver Disease Using Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Biometrics”
  • Mentor: Fernando Martinez, MD, regents professor and director, UAHS Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center – Student: Eric Bayman, UA – Project: “Association Between Low Lung Function in Children and a Polymorphism in the ADAM19 Gene”
  • Mentor: Nathan A. Ellis, PhD, scientific director, UA Cancer Biology Research Program, and chair, Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program – Student: Jonathan Blohm, UA – Project: “Genotyping of Small Interstitial Copy-Neutral Loss of Heterozygosity (si-cnLOH) Events in Colorectal Cancer Patients”
  • Mentor: Heidi Hamann, PhD, associate professor, psychology and family medicine – Student: Sabrina Castillo, UA – Project: “Factors Associated with Appointment Adherence Among Cancer Patients”
  • Mentor: Martha Monroy, MA, rural programs manager, Arizona State Office of Rural Health, and REACH program director, UA Center of Excellence in Women’s Health – Student: Taylor Martinez, UA – Project: “Transportation Distance and Travel Burden Correlation with Diabetes in Rural Arizona Cities”

Dr. Ken RamosAnother department faculty member, Ken Ramos, MD, PhD, PharmB, was among presenters in the BLAISER Minority Health Disparities Lecture Series this summer. Dr. Ramos is a professor in the UA Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, director of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson’s MD-PhD Program and UAHS Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine, UAHS associate vice president for precision health sciences, and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. See the link at bottom of this page for more on the lecture series, including links to archived video of the lectures.

About the BLAISER Program

Led by the University of Arizona Health Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Jorge Gomez, MD, PhD, the BLAISER Program is strongly committed to attract students that represent the diverse population to biomedical research, expose them and make them sensitive to the health disparities in Southern of Arizona and the border region. This cutting-edge 10-week, undergraduate research experience provides an extraordinary laboratory training opportunity, pairing junior and senior level student-scholars with preeminent UA Health Sciences researchers. This is a premier research experience for undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds arming them with skills to make them competitive and successful in their pursuit of post-secondary education and research. Learn more at:

“BLAISER Lectures, Program Aim at Orienting Students toward Careers in Biomedical Research” (includes video links)| Posted June 15, 2018

Release Date: 
08/08/2018 - 4:15pm