College of Medicine / Research / Student Research Opportunities

Student Research Opportunities

There are various research opportunities available to FAU medical students during the summer and throughout the year. We have streamlined the process and created three platforms: fast track, regular and external. Explore the Mentors and Projects in each platform to learn about the different responsibilities.

FAST TRACK: An existing project with regulatory approvals in place.

Select a fast track below to read more:

Faculty Oversight: Dr. Joseph Ouslander
Program Contact: Dr. Gabriella Engstrom 561-297-3188,

Summer opportunities are available for FAU medical students interested in participating in research in the areas of geriatric medicine and gerontology. Potential projects are outlined and the students are guided to formulate research questions.  Students are expected to attend group meetings and present a poster on Research Day. Slots are available for up to 4 students. A half-time commitment for approximately 8 weeks is expected. Applications are due annually around Feb/March. 

Application coming soon!

Summer 2018 Projects


Project Title

Alison Kohn

30-Day Readmission Diagnoses in Older Adults Previously Admitted for a Diagnosis of Sepsis

Angelina Avdella

Associations of 30 Day Readmissions Following Hip Fractures in Patients 75 and Older

Florence Xiong

The Interplay Between Diabetes Mellitus and Dementia on Hospitalized Geriatric Patients

Hannah Mielke-Maday

Opioid use and fall risk in geriatric population

Jade Vorster

Outcomes of Falls Among Patients Age 75 and Older Admitted to a Community Teaching Hospital

Koushik Mantipraga

Incidence of hospital return in patients with de novo Metformin prescriptions

Manon Transkeau

Incidence and of De Novo Opioid Prescriptions at Discharge in  in High Risk Older Adults


Faculty Oversight: Dr. Janet Robishaw
Program Contact: Melanie Weiss 561-297-4557,

The Department of Biomedical Science (BMS) has summer research opportunities available for FAU medical students interested in a basic science and/or translational research experience. Students will be matched with a mentor, based on research interests. Students are expected to participate in journal club, give an oral presentation at program end, and present a poster on Research Day. Slots are available for up to 6 students. A full time commitment of approximately 40 hours per week for 8 weeks is expected. Students can explore the different areas of research on the CoM website. 

The following faculty have agreed to take medical students into the lab during the summer (some faculty may request prior lab experience):

Boca Campus

  • Dr. Janet Robishaw My research has the potential to directly impact clinical care, by focusing on two major challenges in genomic medicine: finding new disease genes and improving our ability to rapidly and accurately identify genomic variants that cause disease.
  • Dr. Jang-Yen (John) Wu: Translational research involved animal model and cell-based model for stroke, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
  • Dr. Larry Toll: Pain receptors and neuropeptides in the brain
  • Dr. Andrew Oleinikov: Malaria, vaccine development
  • Dr. Michael Lu: To participate in wet bench work ongoing in lab in prostate cancer signal transduction.
  • Dr. Marc Kantorow: Development and diseases of the eye
  • Dr. Jianning (Jenny) Wei: Neurodegenerative diseases, Huntington's disease, nerve regeneration
  • Dr. Ceylon Isgor: There are available opportunities in the laboratory to collect and analyze EEG electrophysiology data obtained from epileptic mice. The collection scheme tracks down mice that are susceptible to develop epilepsy before, at onset and as the disease progresses in severity in adult-onset epilepsy of unknown causes. Laboratory rodents are used as a model.
  • Dr. Xupei Huang: The students are expected to participate in ongoing research projects in the laboratory such as cardiomyopathy research. The following assays will be applied: PCR-based genotyping, cardiac protein identification using Western blotting and cardiac function measurement using echocardiography, etc.

Jupiter Campus

  • Dr. Randy Blakely: Synaptic regulation, signaling and plasticity
  • Dr. Henriette van Praag: Effects of exercise on brain function and behavior

Application coming soon!

Faculty Oversight: Dr. Charles H. Hennekens
Program Contact: Melanie Weiss 561-297-4557,

In collaboration with David L. DeMets, PhD, Halperin Professor, Univ of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, Robert S. Levine, MD, Adjunct Professor, Baylor College of Medicine & Marc A. Pfeffer, MD, PhD, Dzau Professor, Harvard Medical School, we will continue to provide oversight to enhance the scholarship and research in epidemiology of FAU CoM students, residents, and faculty.  Our goals include publishing collaboratively peer-reviewed, original research manuscripts and commentaries as well as preparing and presenting abstracts for local and national scientific meetings.  We have access to the CDC Wonder database as well as data from the Robert Wood Johnson County Rankings and Roadmaps, American Community Survey, Texas Tech University Exposome Project, and the Kaiser Health Foundation. A maximum of 4 slots are available for students. Application coming soon.

Faculty Oversight and Program Contact: Dr. Dawn Sherling 561-297-0123,

Socio-economically disadvantaged communities have higher rates of Diabetes Mellitus (DM) that have proven to be more difficult to control. With the assistance of FAU medical students, we will launch an intensive DM intervention at an underserved clinic in Palm Beach County, Florida in order to bring improved care and outcomes to a low-income, predominantly immigrant community. In doing so, we will also collect data on specific ethnic groups which may be presenting with DM with different risk factors than would usually be expected in a typical U.S. practice, in order to more effectively screen and treat these populations. A maximum of 3 slots are available for students. Note: Possible future track. This site will be updated once the track is ready to open.

Faculty Oversight: Dr. Janet Robishaw
Program Contact: Melanie Weiss 561-297-4557,

Recent technological advancements are improving our understanding of how genomic differences among patients affect their susceptibility to common diseases and treatment responses. In the near future, the practice of medicine will follow a more personalized approach utilizing the genomic characteristics of individual patients.  We have research opportunities available for students to work on a pilot project (e.g. undiagnosed familial disorder, cadavers) utilizing an established Variant Calling and Pathogenicity pipeline. 1-2 slots may be available.

Faculty Oversight: Dr. Nirmala Prakash 561-297-4393,
Program Contact: Alicia Rootes 561-297-4816,

The Office for Diversity and Inclusion (D & I) offers scholarship and research opportunities during the academic year as well as summer. Projects are determined collaboratively with D & I and community partners. Students may work independently, with a partner or in a small group. Time commitment is dependent on scope of project. Projects are varied and may involve leading Community-Based Participatory Research initiatives or analyzing data already collected. Project timelines and deliverables will be determined collaboratively.

Scholarship Topics include:

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)

  • Disability
  • Healthcare Careers Outreach Program (HCOP)
  • Intimate Partner Violence/Domestic Violence/Violence

  • LGBTQ+ Health


Academic Year projects may involve analyzing data from our outreach programs including HCOP and HCOP Bridge to Medicine or the medical student may propose an independent research project focused on a topic area of interest to them. Summer Research projects are available via COM’s Service Learning Program (SLP) for M2s. Select community organizations offer Summer Research to the medical students assigned to them for their fall semester SLP project. 

Community partners include:

  • American Association of Caregiving Youth
  • Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development
  • KidSafe
  • Palm Health Foundation
  • Stand Among Friends

Faculty Oversight and Program Contact: Dr. Ximena Levy 561-297-1348,

This track is designed to evaluate patient outcomes to bridge the gap between an infinite amount of treatment strategies available and the description of clinically and cost-effective treatments for substance abuse.  Students involved in this platform will develop simulation models that will allow them to evaluate interventions and treatment options before designing and conducting observational or experimental projects.  An additional objective of this research platform will be to integrate different disciplines available at FAU in order to conduct evaluations of the opioid addiction issues in our socio-demographic and economic environment based on decision analysis and real-world data. 2-4 slots may be available. Application coming soon.

REGULAR TRACK: New project formulated together by mentor and student. You can select a mentor but instead of working on an established project, perhaps you and the mentor have discussed a new idea/project, which requires additional set up than fast track projects.

  • Dr. James Galvin: Patient oriented research, secondary data analyses, clinical shadowing with training on specific research techniques. Max 3 slots available. Summer dates, flexible hours per week. Contact
  • Drs. Mandi Sehgal and JoAnn Bamdas: Qualitative review of Interprofessional Activities (SAGE Mentor Visits). Max 2 slots available, flexible dates and hours per week.  Contact
  • Dr. Rainald Schmidt-Kastner: We studied the optic atrophy gene, WFS1, in the retina (S-K et al. Exp Eye Res 2009) and carried out data-mining, including proteomics data, to link this ER-localized protein to mitochondrial functions. We have also shown that genes causing optic atrophy cause white matter degeneration in the brain. The present task is to generate a database of genes/proteins related to mitochondria-associated ER membranes, known as "MAMs", for the nervous system, to map optic atrophy genes to MAMs, and to isolate a specific aspect of mitochondrial function. Skills in PubMed searches and EXCEL required. Max 1 slot available, May start date, flexible end date and hours per week. Contact:
  • Dr. Naunihal Zaveri: Literature review, based on hypothesis-driven questions. Setting up small research projects, collecting journal articles, preparing summaries of findings, creating posters based on research methods to share results on Research Day on FAU campus or at local conferences. Max 2 slots available.  Flexible dates and hours per week. Contact:
  • Dr. Morgan Cooley (Social Work): My research focuses on understanding risk and protective factors related to foster parent and foster youth well-being and health, as well as how foster families function (e.g., relationships, communication, etc.). I utilize both quantitative and qualitative methods in my research. I am looking for assistance with writing academic research articles (literature reviews, discussion sections). There may also be an opportunity to help with other parts of the research process if the student is interested (e.g., research development, data collection, data preparation, or data analysis). Flexible dates and hours per week.  Contact
  • Dr. Daniel Kantor: For students interested in Neurology: I can be reached to help arrange the appropriate matching of students with mentors for writing articles, conducting research or clinical observerships. Max 10 slots available, flexible dates and hours per week. Contact
  • Dr. Thomas Genuit: Schedule a meeting with Dr. Genuit who will help students connect with Surgery Affiliate faculty.  Flexible dates and hours per week.  Contact Hillary Cohen at

EXTERNAL TRACK: Other project conducted at external academic site.  You will need to follow all training and regulatory requirements from the institution at which you are participating in research.

  • Research and Training Opportunities for Medical Students on AAMC website:
  • Cleveland Clinic Florida: Email Jill Anderson at:  Cleveland Clinic Florida offers medical students 2 different routes for doing research. Option 1- summer research done between M1+M2 year with dedicated time to research of up to a max of 40 hours a week for 8 weeks. The students can apply for research with Jill Anderson and ask for specific specialties and we will try to find them projects and physicians to work with.  Option 2- this is usually done with students who participated in summer research who wish to return or who wish to continue working on an unfinished project after the summer is always. Research done during the student’s white space or free time that has been approved by both the school and Cleveland Clinic.
  • Palm Beach County Medical Examiner Office: Dr. Michael Bell Max 4 students, 35-40 hrs per week. Students will be at a busy medical examiner office with research, preceptorship and clinical shadowing opportunities. Interesting cases provide students with an opportunity to present these cases in annual educational meetings or submit them to the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Autopsy Pathology Program. Students can add these experiences to their resume. Organized, hard-working candidates that write well and have an interest in pathology are preferred.
  • Delray Medical Center (Tenet): Dr. Ivan Puente (contact Dr. Alexander Fokin,, 561-495-3310).  Max 6 students, 8 weeks, 40 hrs per week, computer and lunch provided.  Students are involved in the trauma related clinical research projects. Besides data extraction, data analysis, graphics and tables preparation, abstract writing and poster composing, students are lectured on the principals of clinical research, manuscript preparation, reasoning skills, etc. Students are included as coauthors of the manuscripts and presentations at the professional meetings.
  • University of Miami School of Medicine: Dr. Savita Pahwa (contact Patricia Wahl,  Max 1 student, prefer 40 hrs per week for 6-8 weeks, lab work. Inflammation HIV/SIV and Aging. Studies are ongoing in non-human primate model to investigate changes in the immune system with advancing age. Animals young and old are given different vaccines and interventions aimed to reverse observed defects are tested. Studies include assessment of T cell/B cell/Monocyte interaction in blood and lymphoid tissue using flow cytometry for cellular phenotype and function, Elispot assays, and transcriptomics.  The student would work with a post-doc or graduate student involved in the research to understand principles, rationale and technical skills. Ontogeny of immunity: We are investigating infants born to HIV + pregnant women to include HIV infected and uninfected infants for development of the immune system over 48 weeks of birth.  Goal is to understand how HIV alters immune development and the impact of immunity on HIV reservoir formation.  In a related project we are investigating how time of treatment initiation impacts later immune development. As the children get older.  Participants are enrolled in Mozambique for newborn infants and in Europe and USA for older children.  The student would get a basic understanding of neonatal immunity and how this develops over time in presence and absence of ongoing HIV infection, and its relation to HIV reservoirs.
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Medical Student Summer Fellowship Research Program-application will be available on 12.10.18.
  • Harvard-Longwood Short-Term Research Training in Vascular Surgery-Additional program information is available at: Interested applicants are required to email Leena Pradhan-Nabzdyk, PhD, MBA ( by 1.15.19.
  • Vanderbilt School of Medicine Medical Student Research Training Program: Application deadline is 2.4.19
  • Massachusetts General Hospital Summer Research Trainee Program:  Application deadline is 1.25.19
  • NIDDK Medical Student Research Program in Diabetes and Obesity: Application deadline is 1.28.19
  • American Society of Hematology (ASH) Minority Medical Student award Program (MMSAP): Application deadline is 1.15.19. 
  • Bongiovi Medical and Health Technologies (BMHT)- What we do: BMHT has a proprietary algorithm for analyzing, improving, and getting more information out of sound in the audible range. Applications include biologic sounds (e.g., stethoscope), verbal communication (intelligibility), neural modulation, and virtual reality (VR). Topics of research that we are potentially looking at for the summer include cardiology, vascular (carotid), dysphagia, neuro (PTSD, anxiety, stroke), pulmonary, ENT (Eustachian tube disorders).  What you can expect: Students will work with physicians and engineers. They will participate in one or more of several phases of a study (depending upon the study):
    • Study design
      • How to formulate a clinical scientific question, and then design a study that can answer that question
      • Understanding the steps involved in creating a study
        • Site selection
        • Logistics
        • IRB
        • Consent
        • Patient recruitment
    • Equipment design (working with our engineers)
    • Data acquisition from test subjects
    • Data logging/entry and verification
    • Data analysis (human)
      • Analyze acoustic signals (using software)
      • Analyze the results
    • Artificial intelligence (AI) data analysis
    • Manuscript preparation
      It is anticipated that students will be co-authors on any manuscripts submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals, assuming they meet the journal’s active participation threshold.  Contact Dr. Daniel Weiss (CMO of Bongiovi and FAU COM affiliate faculty member) at 561-908-4015 (cell) if interested.
  • Coupet Quality Clinic, run by internist Dr. Sidney Coupet. Dr. Coupet is looking for medical students interested in helping him conduct both qualitative and quantitative studies of his community-based practice, in order to assess the impact of the direct primary care approach on his patients, his staff, and the system overall. This is an opportunity to analyze how innovation in healthcare practice is implemented and how to assess whether it is accomplishing what it sets out to do. Not only will this research help to better elucidate where the practice is doing well and where it can do more to provide patients value, it has the potential for publications of findings that can assist others who are adopting or may adopt such a model of care. With this approach being so new, there is not much research currently in existence. This, therefore, not only presents an opportunity to do research, but also provides students an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of something new in medicine. Through this research one can gain a better understanding of how, for example, QI projects can be done, both qualitative and quantitatively. Contact 4th year FAU medical student Naveen Maliakkal at if interested.
  • MD/PHD Program: Research to be done at Scripps. 

Coming Soon

Last Modified 1/23/19