M.D./Ph.D. Program

Kathy McDonough, Ph.D., Program Director 

The MD/PhD program graduated its largest class in May with three students matching in Pediatrics, two in Medicine, one in Surgery, one in Pathology and one in Family Medicine. We also had four students start their PhD program this July – Nazary Nebeluk with Dr. Tim Foster (Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology), Tony Tzeng with Dr. Carmen Canavier (Cell Biology and Anatomy), Robert Fuchs with Dr. Eric Lazartigues (Pharmacology), and Zachary Stielper with Drs. Nick Gilpin and Patricia Molina (Physiology).  

The former L1 class will finish a summer rotation in July and hopefully decide on a laboratory/department in which to complete the PhD. The L1 class consists of Katelyn Beiter and Mirandy Li, who performed their summer research in the School of Public Health; Nicholas Fried and Kristina Larter, who worked in the Department of Genetics; Hunter Hidalgo in Pharmacology; and Phaethon Philbrook in the Cancer Center. In addition we have accepted a new L2 into the program – David Odenheimer who did his summer research in the Neuroscience Center; welcome David.  

We will welcome our new MD/PhD students at our monthly forum on August 31st. The new L1s are Brittany Foret, Jacob Meariman, Joshua Schwartzenburg and Nathan Sharfman. Brittany has been working in a laboratory here this summer and Nathan had worked at LSUHSC for a year as a research technician before starting medical school. The L1s will attend a seminar series in the fall to begin their quest for a department and advisor with whom they will do their doctoral research.  

Our current MD/PhD students are doing very well. Just some of their accomplishments include: Vince Maffei, working with Drs. Chris Taylor and David Welsh, published an interesting article “Biological Aging and the Human Gut Microbiota” with co-authors from both LSUHSC and Tulane; Vivian Jaber published two articles with Dr. Lukiw and Yuhai Zhao one of which is titled “Secretory Products of the Human GI Tract Microbiome and Their Potential Impact on Alzheimer’s Disease: Detection of Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in AD Hippocampus”; Jeffrey Wang, who works with Dr. Hamid Boulares, received a fellowship award from the American Heart Association and Allyson Schreiber presented her research, “Predator Odor Stress Activates Corticotropin-Releasing Factor (CRF) Neurons in Rat Brain” with her co-authors Dr. Nick Gilpin and Adrienne McGinn at the Volterra Alcoholism and Stress: A Framework for Future Treatment Strategies meeting in Italy this summer.  

We have a new website page for the MD/PhD program – check it out. It includes updates on the paths that our past graduates have taken since completing their training at LSUHSC. https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/mdphdupdates/.