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Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR)

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The MSTAR is supported by a partnership between the Sealy Center on Aging and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health at UTMB. Students enrolled in the MSTAR program benefit from an enriching experience in aging-related research and geriatrics with the mentorship of top experts in the field. Participation in the program has led many physicians-in-training to pursue academic careers in aging, ranging from basic science to clinical and health sciences research. The long-term goal of the program is to increase the number of established physician investigators and clinicians who pursue research in high-priority areas related to aging.


1st-year medical students interested in aging research

Intensive 8 weeks over Summer break

$4,400 total for 8 weeks

Project PI:
Mukaila A. Raji, MD, MS, FACP, Director, Division of Geriatric & Palliative Medicine, Edgar Gnitzinger Distinguished Professorship in Aging

Trainees gain:

  • individualized research experience under a sponsoring mentor
  • a structured didactic experience that is directly linked to student research projects
  • opportunities to interact with potential role models and peers efforts to build a sense of identity and membership for participants
  • a positive and rewarding experience in aging research
  • a chance to obtain research credits for their participation


During the summer experience, trainees are expected to spend the majority of their time at UTMB on their research project, attend weekly meetings, where didactic applications and career issues are discussed, and attend local geriatrics seminars. They also attend kickoff and capstone group sessions.

Faculty Mentors

Soham Al Snih, MD, PhD
Assistant Dean for Doctorate Foundational Curriculum and Professor
Department of Population Health and Health Disparities
Director of the Rehabilitation Sciences PhD Program
Jacques Baillargeon, PhD
Professor and Chair, ad interim
Department of Epidemiology
Abbey B. Berenson, MD, PhD
The Ruth Hartgraves MD Chair in Obstetrics & Gynecology
Professor, Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics
Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health
Brian Downer, PhD
Lloyd and Sue Ann Hill Professorship in Healthy Aging
Associate Professor, School of Public and Population Health 
Erin Hommel, MD
Associate Professor
Vice Chair for Quality Improvement
Associate Residency Program Director
Internal Medicine - Geriatrics
James S. Goodwin, MD
Professor, George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair of Geriatric Medicine
Yong-Fang Kuo, PhD
Don W. and Frances Powell Professorship in Aging Research
Professor and Chair, Department of Biostatistics & Data Science
Liz Lyons, PhD, MPH
Grace Bucksch Gnitzinger Distinguished Professor in Aging, Interim Chair, and Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition, Metabolism and Rehabilitation Sciences
Kyriakos Markides, PhD
Professor, Annie and John Gnitzinger Professor of Aging
Editor, Journal of Aging and Health
Neil Mehta, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Public and Population Health
Andrew J. Murton, PhD
Division Chief of Surgical Sciences
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery
Monique Pappadis, MEd, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Public and Population Health
Mukaila Raji, MD, MS, FACP
Professor and Director, Division of Geriatric Medicine
Edgar Gnitzinger Distinguished Professorship in Aging
Parimal Samir, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Giulio Taglialatela, PhD
Lawrence J. Del Papa Distinguished Chair in Neurodegenerative Disease Research
Professor and Vice Chair for Research
Department of Neurology
Director, Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Randall J. Urban, MD
Professor, Division of Endocrinology
Vice President and Chief Research Officer
Vice Dean, Clinical Research in the School of Medicine
Stanley Watowich, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Rebecca Wong, PhD
Sheridan Lorenz Distinguished Professor in Aging and Health
Professor, Department of Population Health and Health Disparities
Interim Associate Dean for Research, School of Public and Population Health
Director, WHO/ PAHO Collaborating Center on Aging and Health
Associate Director, Claude Pepper Older American Independence Center, and the Sealy Center on Aging
Huiwen Xu, PhD, MHA
Assistant Professor, School of Public and Population Health