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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.

Due to the limitations of in-person gatherings due to COVID-19, we are working on getting research projects that can be done remotely or online. Below are some opportunities for those types of research projects. This is a fluid situation, and we will try to keep this list current as much as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Name Research Area Research Location
Matthew Barker
Matthew.Barker@avera.org
Retrospective study of patients who have never had prolapse surgery and a look at 7-10 year outcomes.  
Lisa McFadden
Lisa.mcfadden@usd.edu
Suicidal comorbidities with drugs of abuse in South Dakota patients who use the ER from 2017-2018.  
Dan Rath
Dan.Rath@usd.edu
 Independent study in geriatrics  
Jewel Shepherd
Jewel.Shepherd@usd.edu
Determining factors associated with COVID-19. Particularly, how the virus manifested among different age groups, localities, ED use, primary visit, symptoms, travel, social activities, zip code and the rate of spread across the South Dakota.
 
Henry Travers
Henry.Travers@usd.edu
Historical research: The Christian Influence on Hippocratic Medicine, 450 BCE to the Middle Ages  

Victor Huber

Lab Website

Victor.Huber@usd.edu

The Huber lab studies host immune responses against influenza viruses as they relate to vaccine-induced immunity and susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections.

Project #1: Vaccines: One potential project in the lab would be to perform a vaccine study with 2 distinct vaccine candidates, as we determine the true breadth of vaccine-induced immunity that can be achieved with these vaccines.

Project #2: Super-infections: 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, Vermillion

Victor Huber

Lab Website

Victor.Huber@usd.edu

Hepatitis C Virus in American Indian population. Current project - Build patient panels using ICare data-gathering program to identify patients needing follow-up. We are also looking to integrate our panels with primary care physicians.  Varies

Keith Weaver

Keith.Weaver@usd.edu

Bacterial toxin-antitoxin systems

Project # 1: Localization of the wild-type and mutant toxins within the bacterial cell. We have successfully introduced an immunological epitope tag onto our toxin and plan to try to localize this tag using advanced immunofluorescence techniques in collaboration with a lab at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. We also have a bank of mutants with altered function that we will also localize.

Project #2: Determine the role of the toxin-antitoxin system in modulating mannitol transport and metabolism. The toxin-antitoxin system is located between two operons encoding mannitol transport systems. We have determined that one system is required for mannitol transport while the other performs a regulatory function to make sure that the transporter is expressed only when sufficient mannitol is present and no more efficiently used carbon sources like glucose are available. We hypothesize that the toxin-antitoxin system plays are role in this complex regulatory system. The student will assess gene expression and mannitol usage in toxin-antitoxin system mutants.

 Lee Med, Vermillion

How to Apply

The program is eight weeks long, from May 26-July 17, 2020, 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 17.

Apply Now

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