Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR)

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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

$4,220 total for 8 weeks

Project PI:
Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, Sealy Center on Aging Director

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 experiences 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, to attend weekly meetings, where didactic applications and career issues are discussed and to attend local geriatrics seminars. They also attend kickoff and capstone group sessions.

Faculty Mentors

Elena Volpi, MD, PhD
Daisy Emery Allen Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine
Director of The Claude Pepper Older American Independence Center
Soham Al Snih, MD, PhD
Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences
Director, Masters of Science in Health Professions
Jacques Baillargeon, PhD
Professor, Director of Research, Correctional Managed Care
Brian Downer, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences
Erin Hommel, MD
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine
James S. Goodwin, MD
Professor, George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair of Geriatric Medicine
Yong-Fang Kuo, PhD
Professor and Director, Office of Biostatistics
Liz Lyons, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition and Metabolism
Kyriakos Markides, PhD
Professor & Director, Annie and John Gnitzinger Professor of Aging Studies, Department of Preventative Medicine and Community Health
Neil Mehta, PhD
Associate Professor, Preventive Medicine & Community Health
Andrew J. Murton, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Shriners Hospitals for Children
Monique Pappadis, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences
Mukaila Raji, MD, MS, FACP
Professor and Director, Division of Geriatric Medicine
Edgar Gnitzinger Distinguished Professorship in Aging
Program Director, Geriatric Medicine Fellowship
Blake Rasmussen, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition & Metabolism
Associate Director, Lloyd and Sue Hill Professor of Healthy Aging
Associate Dean for Research, School of Health Professions
Associate Director, Center for Recovery, Physical Activity & Nutrition
Rafael Samper-Ternent, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Geriatric Medicine
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
P. & S. Kempner Distinguished Professor in Health Disparities
Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Sealy Center on Aging
Professor, Preventive Medicine & Community Health
Director, WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center on Aging and Health
Huiwen Xu, PhD, MHA
Assistant Professor, Preventive Medicine & Community Health
Tse-Chuan Yang, PhD
Associate Professor, Preventive Medicine & Community Health