USD Medical Student Recognized for Biomedical Research

Photo of USD Sanford School of Health student, Yuan Sharleen. USD Sanford School of Medicine student Sharleen Yuan.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Sharleen Yuan, a student at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, was one of five student winners for a presentation delivered at the national American College of Physicians’ conference in San Diego, California.

Yuan’s research project titled “The Mechanisms of NMDAR-Dependent Long-Term Potentiation in Nociceptive Synapses,” examines pain pathways with potential alternative approaches to opioid use. Although Yuan began her research while pursuing a Ph.D. at USD in Biomedical Neuroscience, this project was part of the Medical Student Summer Research program. After completing her Ph.D. degree, Yuan entered medical school at USD.

“Sharleen is an excellent researcher who understands the connection between basic biomedical and clinical research,” said Brian Burrell, Yuan’s research advisor at USD’s Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences.

Yuan is a graduate of Stevens High School in Rapid City, South Dakota and expects to graduate from USD’s Sanford School of Medicine in 2018.


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News