Summer MSTAR Scholars Push UA’s Total to More Than Three Dozen Since 2007

American Federation for Aging Research logoFour University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson students were awarded Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program scholarships from the American Federation for Aging Research this past summer to participate in geriatrics research at medical institutions across the country.

The program is supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a unit of the National Institutes of Health. Applicants compete for Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program logoapproximately 100 scholarships at National Training Centers — that include: Harvard, Johns Hopkins, New York University, UCLA, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, University of North Carolina (UNC) and UT San Antonio—supported by the NIA.

The UA participants for Summer 2019 were Surbhi Patel, Meera Kapadia, Michael DiCaro and Kayla R. Darris—all are second-year med students and members of the Class of 2022.

UA MSTAR Scholars | Summer 2019

Surbhi Patel Patel Surbhi

“My mentor's name is Courtney Lyles, PhD (UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations/Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital). She is an associate professor at UCSF. I worked on a qualitative analysis looking at isolated older adults' attitudes on social connectedness and technology.”

Meera Kapadia Meera Kapadia

“My name is Meera Kapadia and I am an incoming second-year medical student (MS2) at UA COM - Tucson. My mentor's name is Dae Hyun Kim, MD (Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center). The project I am working on is regarding the prognostic implications of cognitive assessment in recovery after transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). We are hoping to help better clinical care and decision making for clinicians that are deciding whether their older adult patients should undergo TAVR.”

Michael Dicaro Michael DiCaro

“Participating in the Boston MSTAR program was the best possible experience I could have asked for during the summer between my MS1 and MS2 years. The program allowed me to take on my own project and gain valuable experience at one of the world's best research institutions. My mentor’s name is Ariela Orkaby, MD, MPH (Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and VA Boston Healthcare). My project involved exploring the link between frailty and heart failure outcomes, which connects my interests in cardiology, geriatrics, and clinical research. We will be submitting the final version of the manuscript to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.”

Kayla Rebecca Darris Kayla Darris

“My mentor is Brian Diekman, PhD (Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Thurston Arthritis Center, UNC). Our project is the role of cellular senescence in osteoarthritis, and the viability of Dasatinib and Quercetin as a treatment for both the prevention of OA, and destruction of senescent chondrocytes in aged mice knees.”

Mindy Fain, MDTheir UA institutional mentor for the MSTAR awards is Mindy Fain, MD, chief of the UA Division of Geriatrics, General Internal Medicine and Palliative Medicine, co-director of the UA Center on Aging, the Anne and Alden Hart Endowed Chair in Medicine and a professor of medicine and associate professor of nursing.

In all, 37 UA medical students have won MSTAR scholarships over the past dozen years—29 from the UA College of Medicine – Tucson and eight from the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. All were mentored by Dr. Fain. There were no MSTAR Scholars from COM – Phoenix in the past year.

For past MSTAR Scholars from the University of Arizona, see the articles below.

“Two UA Med Students Headed to Harvard, Johns Hopkins This Summer for Geriatrics Studies” | Posted May 1, 2018
“Two Tucson Med Students Bring UA Scholarship Awards in Aging Research to Thirty in a Decade” | Posted April 28, 2017

Release Date: 
09/16/2019 - 10:00pm