Office of Communications & Media Relations

NIH Clinical Center News Release

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Molly Freimuth

NIH seeks applicants to year-long medical research scholar program

NIH seeks applicants to year-long medical research scholar program
James Dickey, a MRSP 2020-2021
scholar from the Medical College
of Georgia at Augusta University,
works in the lab at the NIH Clinical
Center on COVID-19 samples as
part of a longitudinal evaluation
of host pathogen interactions during
SARS CoV-2 infection.


The National Institutes of Health is accepting predoctoral applicants for the 2021-2022 Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) through Jan. 8, 2021. The research training program allows medical, dental, and veterinary students to pause their formal studies to live and conduct basic, clinical, or translational research work on the campus of NIH in Bethesda, Maryland for one year.

The current class of 51 scholars in the 2020-2021 cohort began their MRSP fellowship virtually in July then arrived at the NIH campus in August.

The NIH Medical Research Scholars Program is one of the most important programs in our nation today in preparing medical, dental and veterinary students to become the clinician-investigators of tomorrow. We are honored that these students are here to advance their training and look forward to highly qualified applicants for next year,” said Thomas R. Burklow, M.D., director of the MRSP. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the need for skilled physician-scientists. The 2020-2021 MRSP cohort is answering the call while participating in the program in the midst of extremely challenging times. These Scholars are adding to the rich legacy of past MRSP research accomplishments while paving the way for future classes.

The MRSP received 146 applications for the 2020-2021 class. Learn more about the current scholars:

  • The 51 participants consist of 49 medical, one dental, and one veterinary students.
  • The participants represent 42 U.S.-accredited universities.
  • The class consists of seven second-year and 44 third-year students.
  • Sixty-one percent of participants are female.
  • There are 15 under-represented minority participants.

The selected participants receive mentored training and will conduct research in areas that match their personal interests and research goals. For example, several students are currently conducting research in longitudinal evaluation of host pathogen Interactions during SARS CoV-2 infection, investigation of cortical and muscle activation patterns during gait in cerebral palsy, DNA repair in human cancer-prone genetic diseases, cardiometabolic disease prevention in minority populations and much more.

The training experience forms the core of the program and allows these future clinician-scientists to carry out research across the full spectrum of science in the interest of improving public health. The scholars work with an advisor who provides guidance on creating a career development plan and on selecting an NIH research mentor. Mentors are fulltime NIH investigators with basic, clinical or translational research programs. Over the course of the academic year, MRSP scholars participate in courses, journal club seminars, a structured lecture series and clinical teaching rounds. They also present their research to the NIH community and at national and international professional conferences.

The MRSP is supported by the NIH and other partners via contributions to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. More than 419 students have completed the MRSP program since its initiation in 2012.

View our 2020-2021 scholars:

  1. Rachel Acree, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles
  2. Matthew Adan, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City
  3. Simran Arjani, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark
  4. Rajit Banerjee, University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, Ohio
  5. Henry Berns, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Athens
  6. Jean-Paul Bryant, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  7. Cristina Contreras Burrola, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  8. Amisha Dave, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington
  9. James Dickey, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, August
  10. Allison Distler, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington D.C.
  11. Maureen Farrell, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia
  12. Haidn Foster, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  13. Ashley Gallagher, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark
  14. Veronica Gray, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk
  15. Stephanie Guang, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  16. Nitasha Gupta, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
  17. Ashley Hadjis, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond
  18. John Hancock, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City
  19. Austin Hoke, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill
  20. Mahdieh Hosseini, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia
  21. Jack Jeskey, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (Bradenton Campus), Bradenton, Florida
  22. Jennifer Jess, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing
  23. Anas Khan, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham
  24. Nabila Khondakar, SUNY, Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine, Brooklyn, New York
  25. Allison Kumnick, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  26. Vijay Letchuman, University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Medicine
  27. Pashayar Lookian, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska
  28. Wenting Ma, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western University
  29. Victoria Maglaras, SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, New York
  30. Justin McCallen, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
  31. Diana Nwokoye, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington D.C.
  32. Erika Ortiz Chaparro, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine
  33. Jeunice Owens-Walton, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, Augusta
  34. Sriram Paravastu, University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Medicine
  35. Nidhi Patel, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  36. Casey Paton, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York
  37. Christian Peoples, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia
  38. David Peprah, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  39. Emmanuel Quaye, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
  40. Sheridan Reed, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing
  41. Shahyan Rehman, Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  42. Marisa Salazar, Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, Scottsdale, Arizona
  43. Veronica Santana-Ufret, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit
  44. Evan Selzer, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
  45. Gauri Shastri, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
  46. Sarah Silverstein, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark
  47. Ulana Stasula, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana
  48. Meron Teklu, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago
  49. Elizabeth Theng, University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Medicine
  50. Cheyenne Williams, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  51. Keval Yerigeri, Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine, Rootstown


About the NIH Clinical Center: The NIH Clinical Center is the world’s largest hospital entirely devoted to clinical research. It is a national resource that makes it possible to rapidly translate scientific observations and laboratory discoveries into new approaches for diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. Over 1,600 clinical research studies are conducted at the NIH Clinical Center, including those focused on cancer, infectious diseases, blood disorders, heart disease, lung disease, alcoholism and drug abuse. For more information about the Clinical Center, visit:

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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