And the Winner Is…

29th Annual Student Research Week a Success


Student researchers were in the spotlight at the 29th Annual Student Research Week March 7-10. The event hosted and organized by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences students showcased the next generation of biomedical researchers and their work.

This year’s theme was “Molecular Neuroscience and Systems: From Nucleotides to Networks.”

“Our theme aimed to broadly capture how the nervous system works by connecting complex neural circuitry to small-scale effectors,” said Jeremy Thompson, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences student and event chair.

Thompson said this year’s keynote speakers were distinguished national and international speakers who presented their discoveries. Student Research Week keynote speakers were Jon H. Kaas, Ph.D., aDistinguished, Centennial Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University, and Susan A. Slaugenhaupt, Ph.D., the scientific director of the Mass General Research Institute (MGH).  She also is a professor in the Department of Neurology at MGH and Harvard Medical School, an investigator in the Center for Human Genetic Research at MGH and the Elizabeth Riley and Dan E. Smith, Jr. MGH Research Scholar.

At the annual Student Research Week banquet, both speakers were presented their own Oscar at the Academy Awards-themed event. Both Kaas and Slaugenhaupt encouraged the students to take pride in their field as scientists. Slaugenhaupt stressed the importance of communicating their research with non-academic audiences. Kandis Wright, Student Research Week Banquet committee chair and Graduate Student Association (GSA) president along with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences office and GSA officers organized the banquet that raised more than $6,000 for student scholarships.

“From the silent auction to ‘naming the award-winning Oscar’ to surprising each speaker with their very own science Oscar award, the banquet was student-run and a lot of fun,” Wright said. “We had a great time sharing a meal, entertaining for and networking with all of the students, faculty and staff that attended. It was a huge success and we thank everyone for their support.”

More than 244 students presented their research during Student Research Week. Student Research Week committee included Thompson, Antonia Stuebler, Kellsie Beasley and Ty Whisenant.

"This year's Student Research Week was a great success,” Thompson said. “This was our biggest event yet, and we had fantastic presentations from students and our distinguished speakers."

Student Research Week Winners

Upper Level Doctoral Students

First: Jeremy Thompson

Second: Monish Makena

Third: Derek Fleming


First- and Second-Year Doctoral Students

First: Taylor Letbetter

Second: Bojana Ristic

Third: Riccay Elizondo


Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Masters Category

First: Clayton Wagner

Second: Megan Waterman

Third: Kristen Russell


Undergraduate Researchers

First: Robin Greer

Second: Oscar Wu


Residents and Fellows

First: Kelly Ratheal

Second: Jessica Gray

Third: Coby Robins


Third- and Fourth-Year Medical Students

First: Jessica Turner

Second: Patrick Marquardt

Third: Nadia Jamil


First-and Second-Year Medical Students

First: Austin Lunney

Second: Kelly McIntyre

Third: Quynh Pham


Dr. Lorenz Lutherer Clinical Research Award

Quynh Pham


Undergraduate Nursing

First: Rebecca Metzler and Shannon Shulak


School of Nursing Evidence Based Practice Division

First: Nicole Bobbie

Second: Stephanie Wilks

Third: Samantha Gooss


Interprofessional Education Division

First place: William Sessions


Scholarships and scholarship winners include:

Department of Urology: Ty Whisenant

Department of Surgery: Derek Fleming

Department of Internal Medicine: Dattesh Verlekar

Department of Anesthesiology: Alejandro Aquino

Department of Public Health: Jessica Smith

Department of Psychiatry: Clarissa Ramirez

Graduate Student Association: Hannah Zhao-Fleming, Bala Purna Meenakshi and Mina Ahmadi

F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health: Jeremy Thompson

Dr. Hemachandra Reddy Scholarship: Mina Shahmohammadi


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Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, (806) 743-2143.

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, originally a part of the School of Medicine, became a separate school in 1994 to coordinate the training of biomedical scientists.

A small student body, a diverse faculty and a low student-faculty ratio are factors that promote learning and encourage interaction between students. These unique factors create a highly competitive environment for students applying each year.