Advanced Pathways to Research Program (A-PReP)

Students jumping up in the air

The Advanced Pathways to Research Program (A-PReP) is a research training program for doctoral-level professional health sciences students and early-PhD students interested in clinical and translational research. 

In addition to a mentored research experience, A-PReP students attend weekly seminars providing a grounding in translational research networking and presentation skills with some of the top researchers at the University. Students build camaraderie and learn from other students in the program while gaining valuable research and career development skills. The summer research experience culminates with a poster presentation at the CTSI Translational Science Symposium & Poster Session in September and the opportunity to win a travel award to present at a conference of the student’s choosing. A-PReP is an opportunity to take your research career to the next level.

Scholars will conduct original research under the direct supervision of a University of Minnesota faculty mentor active in clinical or translational research. With input and oversight by the faculty mentor, the scholar will work on a project related to the mentor’s ongoing research programs.

Three smiling people stand facing the camera. They are in a gymnasium and surrounded by bleachers and members of the local Hmong community.
Youssef Roman

2023 scholars

Former A-PReP Scholars


Hailey Baker, UMN Medical School (Duluth)
Mentor: Katy Kozhimannil, PhD, MPA, School of Public Health

Mario Bertogliat, UMN Medical School (Twin Cities)
Mentor: David Darrow, MD, MPH, Department of Neurosurgery, Medical School (Twin Cities)

Josué Collazo-Lopez, Ponce Health Sciences University
Mentor: Rene Pierpont, PhD, Pediatrics, Medical School (Twin Cities)

Mohamed Dabour, UMN College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Beshay Zordoky, MSc, PhD, Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)

Amanda Davis, UMN School of Nursing (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Sarah Hoffman, PHD, MPH, MSN, RN, Population and Health Systems, School of Nursing (Twin Cities)

Guldamla Kalender, UMN Medical School (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Alik Widge, MD, PhD, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical School (Twin Cities)

Doneila McIntosh, UMN College of Education and Human Development (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CFLE, Family Medicine and Community Health, Medical School (Twin Cities)

Moataz Mohamed, UMN College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Pamala Jacobson, PharmD, FCCP, Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)

Vineet Raman, UMN Medical School (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Elizabeth Rogers, MD, MAS, Medicine, Medical School (Twin Cities)

José Somohano-Short, Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine
Mentor: Britt Erickson, MD, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health, Medical School (Twin Cities)

Tou Thao, UMN College of Pharmacy (Duluth)
Mentor: Robert Straka. PharmD, FCCP, Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)

Lensa Toka, UMN Medical School (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Katie Loth, PhD, MPH, Family Medicine and Community Health, Medical School (Twin Cities)

Emily Walck, UMN Medical School (Duluth)
Mentor: Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Pediatrics, Medical School (Twin Cities)

Laylia Yang, Melendy Scholar, UMN College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Jeffrey Bishop, PharmD, MS, BCPP, FCCP, Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)


Jessica Barry, College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Mentor: Angela Birnbaum, PhD, FAES

Katherine Carosella, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Mentor: Kathryn Cullen, MD

Victor Corral, Medical School (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Hai Dang Nguyen, PhD

Lucas Kosobuski, College of Pharmacy (Duluth)
Mentor: Laura Palombi, PharmD, MPH, MAT, AE-C

Xintian Lyu, College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Ilo Leppik, MD

Rejowana Rouf, Medical School (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Chetan Shenoy, MBBS, MS

Jacquelyn Sertic, College of Education and Human Development
Mentor: Jürgen Konczak, PhD

Chowdhury (Tasnova) Tahsin, Medical School (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Manda Keller-Ross, PhD, DPT, PT

Srilakshmi (Prasanna) Vankina, Medical School (Twin Cities)
Mentor: Anne Blaes, MD

Weijie Zhang, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (Rochester)
Mentor: R. Stephanie Huang, PhD


Yingbo Huang, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: R. Stephanie Huang, PhD, Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy

Shray Malik, Medical School
Mentor: Chetan Shenoy, MBBS, Associate Professor, Cardiovascular division

Emmanuel Okematti, Medical School
Mentor: Christopher Streib, MD, Assistant Professor, Neurology

Saeun Park, School of Public Health
Mentor: Sarah Cusick, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics

Andrea Wiglesworth, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Kathryn Cullen, MD, Associate Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Zarin Rahman, Medical School
Mentor: Elizabeth Rogers, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics


Ibrahim Abdelgawad, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: Beshay Zordoky

Jenna Langer, Medical School - Duluth
Mentor: Catherine McCarty

Andres Lim, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: Jeffrey Bishop

Joshua Merickel, College of Veterinary Medicine
Mentor: Gerard O'Sullivan

Jennifer Nelson, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: Robert Straka

Siddhee Sahasrabudhe, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: Reena Kartha

Yuting Shan, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: Stephanie R. Huang

Jena Velji-Ibrahim, Medical School
Mentor: Noam Harel

Fan Wang, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: Melanie Nicol

Grey Wiebe, School of Nursing
Mentor: Sarah Hoffman


Parker Johnson, College of Pharmacy
Project title: Plasma alpha-synuclein as potential biomarker in Type 1 Gaucher Disease
Mentor:  Reena Kartha

Anita Kwashie, College of Liberal Arts
Project title: Neural Correlates of Cognitive Control
Mentor: Angus McDonald, III

Kathleen Miley, School of Nursing
Project title: Baseline gray matter pathology and correlates of cognitive impairment in the Community Based Cognitive Training in First Episode Psychosis Study
Mentor: Sophia Vinogradov

Kalpit Modi, Medical School
Project title: Patterns of cardiac replacement fibrosis in cancer cardiotoxicity
Mentor: Chetan Shenoy

Claire Park, College of Liberal Arts
Project title: The Role of Parent Stress and Neighborhood Variables in Child Executive Functioning
Mentor: Simone French

Michelle Patregnani, Medical School-Duluth
Project title: Severity of mental illness as a predictor for treatment outcomes in a trial of opioid versus non-opioid treatment
Mentor: Erin E. Krebs

Boguang Sun, College of Pharmacy
Project title: Using SNP frequencies for Very Important Pharmacogenes (VIPs) to Predict and Compare Algorithm-based Warfarin Dosing Recommendations Between Hmong and non-Hmong Asian Populations
Mentor:  Robert J. Straka


Megan Conlon, Medical School Duluth
Project title: Can inclusion criteria of Mindful Movement be modified to include individuals with disabilities?
Mentor: Roni Evans, DC, PhD

Aileen Scheibner, College of Pharmacy
Project title: Preparative Regimen Exposure-Response Relationships in Nonmyeloablative Stem Cell Transplants: Correlative Pharmacokinetics
Mentor: Pamala Jacobson, PharmD, FCCP


Rosemary Fister, School of Nursing
Project title: Identifying Homelessness in a Community Health Center
Mentor: John Song, MD, MPH, MAT

Luis Ortega, Medical School
Project title: Latino Parent-Child Relationships and Substance Use
Mentor: Michele Allen, MD, MS


Ali Alhadab, College of Pharmacy
Project title: Optimize Sertraline Therapy in the Treatment of HIV-associated Cryptococcal Meningitis
Mentor: Richard Brundage, PharmD, PhD

Laurel Davis, College of Education and Human Development
Project title: Mental Health Outcomes Among Youth with Incarcerated Parents in Minnesota
Mentor: Rebecca Shlafer, PhD

Colleen Doyle, College of Education and Human Development
Project title: Understanding the Health Effects of Early Life Stress: Individuals
Mentor: Megan Gunnar, PhD

Amy Feng, Medical School
Project title: Myocardial Repair Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Tri-Lineage Tissue-Engineered Patches
Mentor: Jianyi Jay Zhang, MD, PhD

Ghada Elnashar, College of Pharmacy (Melendy)
Project title: Characterization of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Type 1 Gaucher Disease
Mentors: James Cloyd, PharmD and Reena Kartha, PhD

Hyunjoon Kim, College of Pharmacy
Project title: Developing Effective Immunotherapy Agents for Treating Bladder Cancer
Mentor: Thomas Griffith, PhD

Alex Loeks-Johnson, Medical School
Project title: CRISPR-Cas9 Bacterial Endonuclease System to Induce Gene-correction of a Mutation in the Plakoglobin Gene in Patient Stem Cells
Mentor: Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD

Natalie Schmitz, College of Pharmacy
Project title: Analyze the Baclofen Concentration Data and Estimate Pharmacokinetic Parameters, including Cmax, Tmax, AUC, and Oral Bioavailability using WinNonLin (Pharsight) software
Mentor: James Cloyd, PharmD

Natalie Schwehr, School of Public Health
Project title: Model an Adaptive Treatment Policy for Adults with Relapse-remitting MS (RRMS)
Mentor: Karen Kuntz, ScD

Kathryn Thomas, Medical School
Project title: Assessing Cardioprotection with Pharmacological Pre- or Post-conditioning Agents in an Acute Surgical Model
Mentor: Paul Iaizzo, PhD

Ya-Feng (Jay) Wen, College of Pharmacy - Duluth
Project title: Develop a Genomic-based Drug Selection Strategy to Select Patients with HU who are Better Candidates to have Better Clinical Responses to Allopurinol
Mentor: Robert Straka, PharmD


Erin Casey, Institute of Child Development
Mentor: Rebecca Shlafer
Project title: Understanding Extended Visitation in Minnesota's Women's Prison

Dorothy Curran, Medical School
Mentor: Michele Allen
Project title: Parent-Training Program's Effects on Youth's Smoking Susceptibility: Exploring a Dose-Response Relationship

Benjamin Eidenschink, Medical School
Mentor: Julia Davydova
Project title: CRaD vector delivery of NIS-Mediated Radioiodine

Elizabeth Jarrett, Medical School
Mentor: Iris Borowsky
Project title: The relationship between adolescent self-perception of weight, mental health, and social protective factors

Brett Kistner, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: Angela K. Birnbaum
Project title: The Clinical Significance of Anti-Epilepsy Concentration Fluctuations & Co-Medication Type on Outcome Measures in Elderly Nursing Home Residents

Gregory Laffen, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: Robert J. Straka
Project title: Investigating the Genetic Determinants of The Uricosuric Action of Fenofibrate

David Matson, Medical School
Mentor: David W. Polly
Project title: Effect of osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture

Benjamin Otopalik, Medical School
Mentor: Kelvin Lim
Project title: Transcranial direct current stimulation as a novel therapy for medication

Kinjal Sanghavi, College of Pharmacy
Mentor: Pamala Jacobson
Project title: Genetically guided dosing of tacrolimus in kidney transplant recipients

Robert Sjoholm, Medical School
Mentor: John Song
Project title: Respite Care: Effects on the Perceived Health and Health Care Utilization


Racheal Harlos
Mentor: Susan Everson-Rose
Project Title: Factors mediating depression and cardiovascular disease risk in middle-aged woman by race

Ashley Hasti
Mentor: Mindy Kurzer
Project Title: Green Tea and Reduction of Breast Cancer Risk

Sarah Hoffman
Mentor: Cheryl Roberston
Project Title: Karen Refugees: Health Correlates of Trauma Exposure

Angela Jeong
Mentor: Ling Li
Project Title: Prenylated proteins as therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s Disease

G. Mauricio Mejia Ramirez
Mentor: Simone French
Project Title: Evaluation of visual information for childhood obesity prevention in Latino Americans

Malek Okour
Mentor: Richard Brundage
Project Title: Correlations between biomarkers and therapeutic outcomes: Application to mycophenolic acid and kidney transplantation

Rebecca Pulk
Mentor: Pamala Jacobson
Project Title: Effect of the POR*28 variant on tacrolimus troughs in kidney transplant recipients

Youssef Roman
Mentor: Robert Straka
Project Title: Analysis of single nucleotides polymorphisms (SNPs) in Hmong population and hyperuricemia

David Satzer
Mentor: Aviva Abosch
Project Title: Relationship between deep-brain stimulation electrode location and electrical current delivery

Dane Schaleben-Boateng
Mentor: Michele Allen
Project Title: Promoting educator‐student connectedness and positive youth development in Latino, Somali and Hmong youth

Joyce Trost
Mentor: Teresa Kimberley
Project Title: Electromyography impairment in patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Anthony Wiseman
Mentor: Pamela Jacobson
Project Title: Relationship between clinical outcomes and pharmacokinetic measures, activity measurements and genotypes in patients receiving RIC HCT


Elizabeth Aby
Mentor: Jerrold Vitek
Project Title: Clinical Assessment of the Reliability and Feasibility of ParkinTune in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Programming

Gina Danielson
Mentor: L'Aurelle Johnson
Project Title: The Effect of Obesity and Development on Hepatic Drug Metabolism

Alicia Gunterus
Mentor: Jatinder Lamba
Project Title: The Effect of CD20 Polymorphism on Rituximab Response in CLL Patients

Krista Johnson
Mentor: James Cloyd
Project Title: A study comparing blood and plasma assay methods for measurement of topiramate concentrations

Suresh Kumar Agarwal
Mentor: James Cloyd
Project Title: A Meta-Analysis of the Absorption Characteristics of Diazepam Following Alternative Routes of Administration for Acute Repetitive Seizures

Susan Lee
Mentor: Ruby Nguyen
Project Title: Comparing Diagnostics of OB Ultrasounds in Obese Minority Women

Craig Meyer
Mentor: Pamela Schreiner
Project Title: Self-reported depression and discrimination and brain tissue volume

Sara Moran
Mentor: Mark Kirstein
Project Title: Oxaliplatin and OSI-906 in the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

Adam Nelson
Mentor: Pamela Jacobson
Project Title: The Pharmacogenetics that Effect Mycophenolate Pharmacokinetics

Sarah Parker
Mentor: Bruce Blazar
Project Title: Characterization of Distinct iPS Cells for Potential Therapy in Hurler Syndrome
LeeAnna Pederson

Mentor: Robert Straka
Project Title: Consideration of Genetic Variations of UGT2B7 and APOE Genes Within the Pharmacogenomics for Hypertriglyceridemia in Hispanics Trial

Gina Piscitello
Mentor: Susan Everson-Rose
Project Title: How psychosocial stressors such as hostility, anxiety, anger, discrimination, and depression differ in the way they affect progression of paw and adiposity in African-American women versus non-Hispanic Caucasian women

Casey Sautter
Mentor: Chandy John
Project Title: Health Problems of International Adoptees

Faduma Sharif
Mentor: Kola Okuyemi
Project Title: Factors that Contributed to High Retention Rate in Quit Smoking Study in Homeless Population

Liz Yang
Mentor: Mark Kirstein
Project Title: Administration Sequence of OSI-906 and Gemcitabine in Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer


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