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Medical students who have been newly accepted to our medical school have the opportunity to spend their summers as part of research projects. A group of faculty research mentors provide a range of research in which students can participate through the Medical Student Summer Research Program. View the mentors and their biosketches below - a description of their current research projects can be found on the research mentor page.

Name Research Area Research Location Project Type
Victor Huber
Website
victor.huber@usd.edu
605-658-6390
Vaccines: The Huber lab is working toward an influenza vaccine that will simultaneously stimulate immune responses against influenza viruses that circulate in pigs and in humans.  The goal of this vaccine effort would be to limit the interspecies transmission events that are often associated with influenza pandemics.  One potential project in the lab would study the true breadth of vaccine-induced immunity that can be achieved with these vaccines.
Lee Med building, Vermillion In person only
Victor Huber
Website
victor.huber@usd.edu
605-658-6390
Super-infections: Influenza virus infections can turn deadly when they are complicated by secondary bacterial pneumonia.  The Huber lab has recently identified an influenza virus protein that has the potential to modulate the severity of a bacterial superinfection.  One project in the Huber lab would be toward defining the impact of this viral protein on host immune responses within our super-infection model. Lee Med building, Vermillion In person only
Victor Huber
Website
victor.huber@usd.edu
605-658-6390
SARS-CoV-2: This project will evaluate the burden of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a susceptible host after natural infection, with emphasis on patients with cancer.  Specifically, we will characterize the quality of the immune response in this compromised host population and the effect of COVID-19 on cancer biomarkers that can be detected in serum Lee Med building, Vermillion In person only
Jose Pietri
Website
jose.pietri@usd.edu
605-658-6391
The available project focuses on elucidating the mechanisms by which insects sense and differentiate between distinct bacterial infections using a cockroach model. The student will learn and use quantitative real-time PCR to analyze expression of genes involved in the humoral innate immune response following infection with diverse bacteria. Knockdown of receptors hypothesized to be involved in the recognition of bacteria will be carried out to determine the role of these receptors in sensing specific bacteria and triggering specific immune responses.   Lee Med Building, Vermillion In person
Murat Sincan
murat.sincan@usd.edu
605-404-4261
Interested students can work on human phenotype ontology analyses that involve mapping of clinical concepts to HPO and identifying gaps and inconsistencies that could lead to improvements in computational phenotyping of patient data. 
Sanford Med Ctr, Sioux Falls In person or remote 
Murat Sincan
murat.sincan@usd.edu
605-404-4261
Genotype and phenotype data correlation studies including GWAS and PheWAS.  Sanford Med Ctr, Sioux Falls In person or remote  
Murat Sincan
murat.sincan@usd.edu
605-404-4261
 Automatic pedigree generation and relatedness analysis using population scale genomic data of Sanford Imagenetics and Sanford Biobank. Sanford Med Ctr, Sioux Falls In person or remote 
Murat Sincan
murat.sincan@usd.edu
605-404-4261
Rare disease and pathogenic mutation identification in population level genotype-phenotype dataset of Sanford Imagenetics and Sanford Biobank Sanford Med Ctr, Sioux Falls In person or remote 
Ashwani K. Singal, MD
Website
ashwani.singal@usd.edu
605-322-8535 and 605-400-6964
Retrospective data collection in biopsy proven and characterized NAFLD / NASH patients as part of ongoing multicenter consortium data collection. 
Avera Medical Group Liver Diseases, Plaza 3, Sioux Falls. In person or remote 
Ashwani K. Singal, MD
Website
ashwani.singal@usd.edu
605-322-8535 and 605-400-6964
Examining the National inpatient database for hospitalized patients with liver cirrhosis in the US to describe etiology specific prevalence and outcomes in the American Indian / Alaska Native individuals.  Avera Medical Group Liver Diseases, Plaza 3, Sioux Falls. In person or remote 
Ashwani K. Singal, MD
Website
ashwani.singal@usd.edu
605-322-8535 and 605-400-6964
Meta-analysis of published studies on primary liver cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with acute hepatic porphyrias.  Avera Medical Group Liver Diseases, Plaza 3, Sioux Falls.  In person or remote 
Arun Singh
Website
arun.singh@usd.edu
605-658-6320
There are fewer therapies for lower-extremity symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as gait dysfunction, abnormal balance and posture, and it will be difficult to find new treatments since the mechanisms are unknown. Our clinical assessments has also suggested a strong relationship between lower-extremity symptoms and cognitive deficits in PD. Therefore it is important to target both motor and cognitive network to improve lower-extremity symptoms.
 Lee Med building, Vermillion In person only
Arun Singh
Website
arun.singh@usd.edu
605-658-6320
In the first aim, we will record EEG from frontal regions using scalp electrodes during a motor-cognitive dual-task (repetitive lower-limb pedaling motor task with Simon reaction time cognitive task) in PD patients with and without FoG as well as age-matched controls. Here, we will test the hypothesis that frontal attenuated theta-band activity and amplified beta-band activity predicts lower-limb motor problem in PD patients with FoG. Lee Med building, Vermillion In person only
Arun Singh
Website
arun.singh@usd.edu
605-658-6320
In the second aim, we will deliver 4 Hz repetive transcrainial brain stimulation over the frontal region to normalize abnormal oscillations and to improve both cognitive and pedaling motor performances. Here, we will test the hypothesis that 4 Hz rTMS normalizes theta- and beta-band oscillations in the frontal region and improves speed of the lower-limb movement in PD patients with FoG.  Lee Med building, Vermillion In person only
Nathan Skelley
Website
Nathan.Skelley@SanfordHealth.org 
605-328-2663
The goal of this program is to have a publication and meeting worthy presentation by the completion of the summer program. I have dedicated research time but most of my time is filled with clinical responsibilities so students should expect to work unique hours, be available, and work independently on tasks once we discuss the necessary next steps in the project. It is beneficial if you have experience in CAD design and a basic understanding of 3-D printing and orthopedic topics. 

Some current projects:
-Developing and 3D printing plates and screws for ankle fracture fixation 
-Mechanical testing of biodegradable 3-D printed implants
-Cell viability study for desktop biologic printer
-Simulation training devices based around 3D printed models
-Patient education with 3-D printing.
-Creating NIH database of open-source 3D orthopedic designs.
Sanford-USD Med center or Sanford Health Research In person or remote
Henry Travers
sdobwan@icloud.com
605-359-2750
While a student may explore virtually any historical topic he or she wishes, a new project for 2021 is entitled: The Early Modern Fetus: An Evolution of Science, Rights and Health Care. This project will explore the historical development of concepts about fetal life including those from biology, theology, ethics and law. These explorations will then be used to understand current medical approaches to health care involving the fetus including in utero surgery, genetic manipulation and abortion.
Sioux Falls In person or remote
Henry Travers
sdobwan@icloud.com
605-359-2750
Students may also join the project Jesus and Hippocrates, a 5-part study for which parts 1 (introduction) and 2 (The Ancient Period) are complete. New research will focus on the timeframes from 1500 to 1800 and from 1800 to the present in a study of the relationship of Christianity to Hippocratic medicine. Sioux Falls In person or remote

How to Apply

The program is eight weeks long, from May 24-July 16, 2021, and has openings for eight students. Students receive a $5,000 stipend and the hosting lab receives up to $2,000 for supplies.

To apply, students need to choose a research mentor and submit an application to the Medical Student Research Committee. Applications are due April 16.

Apply Now

For more information contact the Medical Student Research Committee msrp@usd.edu.