Briana Macedo '22 Spearheaded Virtual Summer Research Program
COVID-19 has disrupted research across the country and many of the summer programs that students rely on to learn, grow and gain mentorship. This summer, through her involvement in the American Physician Scientist Association, Briana Macedo '22 spearheaded the organization's first Virtual Summer Research Program.
The VSRP program’s mission is to support individuals who are traditionally underrepresented in science and medicine who have been disproportionately affected by the ongoing pandemic. Briana's goal was to facilitate research relationships between individuals and institutions with the aim of increasing diversity in the MD/DO-PhD pipeline. The team reached out to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), Midwestern Colleges and many other national institutions such as SNMA (Student National Medical Association, which focuses on the needs of black medical students). Through APSA, Briana was able to reach nearly 1,000 applicants. With the help of Anthony Hein (Class of ’22), Briana designed a computer program that would automatically pair applicants to registered mentors based on their interests and skills. Through the VSRP team’s outreach to many universities and institutions, they were able to support 150 applicants to lab groups and mentors. The VSRP program also included additional programming such as journal clubs hosted by MD-PhD students, interactive sessions with professionals in the field, and social hours with MD/DO-PhDs in SNMA and FGLIMed.
Furthermore, Briana also created a Resource Packet for her peers to continue learning useful research skills over the summer months. Jackson Lab partnered with VSRP to support 100 other students to take the prestigious Jackson Laboratory: Human and Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: The McKusick Short Course. The VSRP team was also able to secure stipends for several applicants through the support of another partner program, the Penn Center for Global Genomics and Health Equity.
Briana is a BSE Computer Science major with potential certificates in Engineering Biology as well as Quantitative and Computational Biology. As a future physician-scientist and lover of biology, the MOL department has been central to her journey. She is hoping to grow Princeton's APSA Chapter (for which MOL's Dan Notterman is the faculty advisor) in the fall.