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The graduates from 2024 standing on the rooftop of the medical building with their faculty advisors
Valerio Rasi, Zach Grese, Jess Bourque, Emily Cybulla and Meghan Murray, 2024 graduates of the M.D./Ph.D. program. Best wishes for each of you. Your dedication and compassion will make a difference for so many. Congratulations!
Headshot of Alexander Piening

Congratulations to Alex Piening, Ph.D., for two recent publications. First, "Obesity-related T cell dysfunction impairs immunosurveillance and increases cancer risk" found in Nature Communications.

The second paper, "Overall survival in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma treated with concomitant systemic therapy and stereotactic body radiation therapy or systemic therapy alone"  was in collaboration with the Department of Radiation Oncology and was the basis of my trip to the 2023 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress in Madrid, Spain.


Lou Vinarcsik defending her dissertation in the Health Care department
Lou Vinarcsik, M.D./Ph.D trainee, defended her dissertation in the health care ethics department on May 15 and her committee unanimously voted to pass her with distinction! Vinarcsik is excited to get back to patient care in June and is determined to find a spare minute every now and then to keep writing. 
Alex Piening celebrtates a successful dissertation defense with faculty and colleagues
Congratulations to Alex Piening, Ph.D. Piening successfully defended his dissertation titled: "Obesity-related T cell dysfunction impairs immunosurveillance and increases cancer risk” under the direction of Ryan Teague, Ph.D. Piening will rejoin medical school as a third-year student in June. 

A group of students that are a part of the MD / PhD celebrating their match during bowling
An image from our M.D./Ph.D. program Match Day bowling celebration. Congratulations on your new adventures Zack, Jess, Valerio, Meghan and Emily. We are so excited for you!

Headshot of Zach Griese
Congratulations to Zachary Grese, M.D., Ph.D. Zack is excited to be staying at SSM Health/ΘνΓΓΙη School of Medicine where he matched in psychiatry.

Headshot of Meghan Murray
Meghan Murray, M.D., Ph.D., Match Day!
It's a bittersweet moment for Meghan as she completes the last of her night shifts in the SSM Health/ΘνΓΓΙη Hospital emergency department. She will be starting the psychiatry residency program at Washington University in Saint Louis this summer. Congratulations!

Headshot of Jessica holding her match day sign
Congratulations to Jessica Bourque, M.D., Ph.D., Jess matched into her first choice at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Internal Medicine/Stanbury Physician-Scientist Pathway!

The MD / PhD candidates gathered on the staircase for a group photo

β€œSkills on Working in Diverse Teams” was the theme for the third annual M.D./Ph.D. Retreat. Our trainees engaged in community team building and individual exercises with special highlighted activities led by M.D./Ph.D. students, Emily Cybulla and Lou Vinarscik. Our retreat provided a constructive, enjoyable learning experience for our M.D./Ph.D. students while continuing to form positive community relationships.

A group photo of both of the new MD/ PhD candidates

Please welcome our two newest M.D./Ph.D. trainees, JJ Adler and Yasser Hussaini. We are excited to have you in the program and look forward to your successes.


Picture of M.D. / Ph.D. graduate Michelle Bach with her family
Congratulations to our newest 2023 M.D. Ph.D. graduate, Michelle Bach and her family. Michelle will be attending Emory University -PSTP Psychiatry. We wish you nothing but the best!

From left are Stella Hoft, G3, ΘνΓΓΙη SoM APSA Co-President; Emily Cybulla, M4, ΘνΓΓΙη APSA Travel Grant Awardee; Ren Ernst, M4, ΘνΓΓΙη APSA Travel Grant Awardee; Poorva Sheth, M1, ΘνΓΓΙη APSA Travel Grant Awardee; Elisabeth DeMarco, G2, ΘνΓΓΙη SoM APSA Co-President. Launch SlideshowFrom left are Stella Hoft, G3, ΘνΓΓΙη SoM APSA Co-President; Emily Cybulla, M4, ΘνΓΓΙη APSA Travel Grant Awardee; Ren Ernst, M4, ΘνΓΓΙη APSA Travel Grant Awardee; Poorva Sheth, M1, ΘνΓΓΙη APSA Travel Grant Awardee; Elisabeth DeMarco, G2, ΘνΓΓΙη SoM APSA Co-President.

ΘνΓΓΙη was well-represented at the recent joint meeting of the American Physician Scientist Association, American Society for Clinical Investigation, and Association of American Physicians. Students from the M.D./Ph.D. program, M.D. program, and undergraduate APSA members had a great time connecting with and learning from peers, presenters, and attendees. 

Headshot of Michelle Bach

Congratulations to our  M.D./Ph.D. student, Michelle Bach, M.D., Ph.D., for matching Psychiatry PSTP at Emory University. Michelle's plan is to continue research by focusing on public trust and patient experiences of neuromodulation.


headshot of Alexander Piening
Congratulations to Alex Piening, third-year M.D./Ph.D. student, for his first authorship paper. β€œThe goal of this study was to identify the impact of immunotherapy on COVID-19 immunity in previously vaccinated cancer patients. After analyzing antibody and T cell responses before and after immunotherapy, we found that immunotherapy did not significantly alter humoral or cellular immunity to SARS-CoV-2. These results provide immunological data that support other clinical studies demonstrating the safety of COVID-19 vaccination in cancer patients receiving systemic therapies.”

Group photo of M.D. / Ph.D. residents during their group retreat
In August, M.D./Ph.D. students attended a day and a half retreat, "Navigating Diverse Career Paths”. The retreat kicked off with a presentation by Dr. Christine Jacobs and conversations with other faculty members.  A keynote speaker, panel discussions on different M.D./Ph.D. career paths and activities were key aspects of the retreat as well as building community within the program.  

Headshot of Jess Borque
Jessica Bourque, Ph.D., successfully defended her dissertation entitled "Life and Death of Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells" in June. She will miss the Hawiger lab but is excited to return to the medical school as a M3 in July.

Zack Grese standing in fron of his disertation posted on a wall

Zachary Grese, Ph.D., successfully defended his dissertation "The role of RNA-binding in TDP-43 liquid-liquid phase separation and function” via Zoom in May. He will miss Dr. Ayala's lab but is excited to continue medical school​ as a third-year student in June. Congratulations.


Picture of Meghan Murrany standing infron of a screen projection with her dissertain defense presentation

Meghan Murray, Ph.D., successfully defended her dissertation, β€œSynthetic Ligands Targeting R.o.R. and R.E.V.-E.R.B. To Treat Inflammatory and Metabolic Diseases” in May. Meghan will return to medical school in June as a third-year student. Congratulations, Meghan.


Valerio Rossi celebrating, holding a sheet cake with the words "Congratulations Valerio" iced on the top of the cake
 Congratulations to Valerio Rasi, Ph.D., on his successful dissertation defense β€œMechanistic Investigations of Granzyme A-mediated T.B. Protective Effects” under the direction of Dr. Hoft, Valerio will rejoin medical school as a third-year student in June. 

Catherine Cai

Congratulations to Catherine Cai on matching to New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center-NY.

Catherine says, "I am simply elated to be moving to one of the best cities in the world to train at one of the best hospitals in the country. The M.D./Ph.D. journey is a long and often lonely one, but it makes Match Day that much sweeter for us. I am grateful for my family here in the M.D./Ph.D. program and for the support I received from the School of Medicine."

Best of luck for a bright fulfilling career.


Nick Steinauer on beach at sunset

M.D./Ph.D. candidate Nick Steinauer successfully defended his dissertation "Role of the Hematopoietic Corepressor CBFA2T3 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia" in April, under the mentorship of Jinsong Zhang. He is excited to begin his M3 year of medical school in June.


Stephen Grote, Ph.D. outdoors with family.

Stephen Grote, Ph.D. successfully defended his dissertation, "Neuronostatin: a Novel Factor in Glucose Counterregulation" on April 15 via Zoom call. He will be returning to medical school as an M3 in June.


Daniel standing in a garden with a friend wearing sunglasses.

Daniel Pike successfully defended his dissertation: "Neutrophil-Derived Bioactive Lipids in Sepsis" in April. He loved working in the Ford lab and will miss being a part of it, but he is excited to start the next chapter in his training and rejoin medical school in June.


Kevin Bockerstett, Ph.D., defending his dissertation shown in lab.

Congratulations to Kevin Bockerstett, Ph.D., for successfully defending his dissertation "The Role of Inflammation in Gastric Carcinogenesis." via a Zoom call during the COVID-19 crisis. Kevin will rejoin medical students as an M3 student to finish his training as a medical student.


Ananthi Rajamoorthi, Ph.D.

ΘνΓΓΙη School of Medicine Virtual Match Day 2020. Congratulations to Ananthi Rajamoorthi, M.D., Ph.D., on matching to her first choice at New York Presbyterian Children's Hospital/Columbia University Pediatric Physician- Scientist Program. Best wishes for an exciting future.


Congratulations to our newest 2019 MD.Ph.D. Graduates, left to right, Kostia Malley University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine- Internal Medicine, Anit Behera University of Chicago Medical Center- Neurology, Dr. Jane McHowat (MD/PhD Program Director), Dr. Andy Lechner (MD/PhD Program Director Emeritus), Andrew Jones  Barnes- Jewish Hospital- Internal Medicine, Ray Kreienkamp, St. Louis Children's Hospital- Pediatrics.
Congratulations to our newest 2019 M.D./Ph.D. graduates, left to right, Kostia Malley University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine - Internal Medicine, Anit Behera University of Chicago Medical Center - Neurology, Dr. Jane McHowat (M.D./Ph.D. Program Director), Dr. Andy Lechner (M.D./Ph.D. Program Director Emeritus), Andrew Jones Barnes - Jewish Hospital - Internal Medicine, Ray Kreienkamp, St. Louis Children's Hospital - Pediatrics.

Nick Steinauer, M.D./Ph.D. student in Dr. Zhang's lab,

Nick Steinauer, M.D./Ph.D. student in Dr. Zhang's lab, recently published a paper in Blood Advances. Congratulations. Steinauer, N., Guo, C., Huang, C., Wong, M., Tu, Y., Freter, C. E., & Zhang, J. (2019). Myeloid translocation gene CBFA2T3 directs a relapse gene program and determines patient-specific outcomes in AML.


In the News

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