Student Researchers | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
TTUHSC students walking through Lubbock campus courtyard.

Summer Student Researcher

Students work for 10 weeks during the summer, learning research skills and conducting laboratory studies.  Students typically begin their 10-week internship on the fourth week in May, completing the last week of July.  The focus is to provide students with hands-on experience in investigator-initiated research. The program provides an opportunity for interns to conduct serious research and develop applied research skills.  Upon completing the program, students will be equipped with solid skills and experience that will better enable them to successfully pursue graduate studies in biomedical fields. 

Medical Student: Joey Almaguer

GIA Mentor: Dr. Josh Lawrence

Joey Almaguer explored the new concept that liver dysfunction (i.e. through alcoholic liver cirrhosis, hepatosteatosis, chronic liver fibrosis, and/or hepatitis C virus) accelerates the homeostatic collapse of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) availability, contributing to brain ATRA insufficiency and an accelerated cognitive decline in human AD. 

Medical Student:  Seham Azzam

GIA Mentors: Drs. Maria Manczak and Volker Neugebauer

Sesham Azzam studied mitochondria dysfunction in the cortex tissue from post-mortem brains of control group, MCI and AD patients from Kentucky Brain Bank. She analyzed expression of mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial dynamics genes and determined the function of mitochondria.

Medical Student: Benjamin Johnson

GIA Mentors:  Dr. Volker Neugebauer, Linda Yin and Divya Burugu

Benjamin Johnson investigated if cognitive deficits seen in AD models can be mitigated by injecting elements of the transsynaptic signaling complex into brain regions where deficits  are detected.  Following injection, a series of behavioral assays was to investigate beneficial effects of the injection.  Expression of genes and proteins associated with the transsynaptic signaling complex were measured.  These experiments allow the assessment of changes and rescue strategies at different disease stages in AD models. 

Medical Student: Mohammad (Max) Pourghaed

GIA Mentor:  Dr. Josh Lawrence

Max Pourghaed examined the role of Vitamin D deficiency in depression, co-morbidities, and health disparities among a cohort of participants in Project Frontier.