Kidney Technology Development Research Education Program
The NIH-funded UVA Nephrology undergraduate training program (supported by NIDDK grant 1 R25 DK124918) will provide an immersive research and education experience for technology-oriented undergraduate students to participate in cutting-edge research in kidney diseases to generate innovative solutions for promoting kidney health.
Mark D. Okusa, MD, FASN Division Chief and CIIR Director Division of Nephrology
P.O. Box 800133
UVA Health System
Charlottesville, VA, 22908
Overview and Target Audience
The VA K-TUTOR program will provide a rich environment to inspire and recruit young talent to foster innovative solutions to benefit the 40 million people in the US with kidney diseases. The VA K-TUTOR will be a partnership of the UVA Division of Nephrology, UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science, UVA College of Arts and Sciences, and Virginia Tech School of Engineering to recruit and train undergraduate students for identifying problems in kidney research and finding novel solutions.
Merrill is a rising third-year at the University of Virginia, double majoring in English and Cognitive Science. She has researched interactions between the lung and the kidney for the past year in Dr. Swiatecka-Urban’s lab. She is excited to explore new projects and learn more about clinical treatments through this program. In her free time, Merrill also serves as News Editor for the Cavalier Daily and is involved in the Outdoors Club, Tri Sigma Sorority, and running.
Brian is a rising 4th-year at Virginia Tech majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, with a minor in Computer Science and Mathematics. As a child, Brian accompanied his parents to work; his mother worked as a dental hygienist, and his father worked as a computer engineer. As such, Brian had always been familiar with the medical and engineering world. Thus, he found a niche in biomedical engineering and chose to pursue this career, focusing on data science and medical devices.
Kayenat is a rising third-year student at the University of Virginia from Northern Virginia studying biomedical engineering and pursuing a minor in computer science. She is very excited to look at issues within nephrology through an engineering lens and apply data-driven reasoning to improve clinical outcomes. Kayenat enjoys spending time with family and friends outside of school, running, and painting.”
Saumya is a rising third-year student in the College at the University of Virginia majoring in Global Public Health and minoring in Computer Science. She is interested in focusing on preventative care and learning about diseases. Her other activities include the Cavalier Daily, The University Judiciary Committee, and research with the Connelly Lab. Outside of academics, Saumya enjoys representing South Asian Americans as Miss India Maryland, volunteering at the local animal shelter, and spending time with the people she cares about.
Samantha is from Waynesboro, Virginia, and is a rising third year studying statistics at the University of Virginia. She has been working in Dr.Erdbrügger’s Lab and presented her findings at the International Society of Extracellular Vesicles in Seattle. Last summer, she volunteered as a licensed nurse assistant at Camp Holiday Trails, a camp for children and teens with medical needs. She likes to bake, run, and spend time with her horses in her free time. She hopes to continue her passion for kidney research and attend medical school.
Hamada is a rising 3rd-year at Virginia Tech majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, with a minor in Science, Technology, and Society. During his childhood in Iraq, he enjoyed developing records on various animal species, which paved his track in the Gifted Secondary School of Baghdad. Later, in Charlottesville High School, he became interested in 3D modeling, texturing, and animation and developed proficiency in software like 3Ds Max, AutoCAD, and Substance Painter. After exploring the branches of BME, he’s currently most interested in Tissue Engineering and Biomimicking; he aims to research the intricate workings of biological systems such as cell machinery and vascularization. He’s thrilled to spend this summer with teammates and mentors, facing challenges, and being well-equipped to achieve exciting developments in kidney research!
Isaac is a rising fourth-year student at the University of Virginia pursuing a BS in Biomedical Engineering, and an accelerated ME in Systems Engineering. His academic interests include computational modeling and systems analysis of diseased states of the human body and science and technology policy. His other involvements include the Clark Scholars Program, Policy Internship Program, and Engineering Student Council. In his free time, Isaac enjoys running, swimming, and spending time with friends and family.
Meghan is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is a rising third year at the University of Virginia studying biomedical engineering. Aside from her academics, she plays on the women’s club basketball team, is a member of Delta Gamma sorority, and assists in research at UVA. In the future, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in either biomedical engineering or medicine.
Trinity is a third-year at the University of Virginia, majoring in Biology and minoring in Bioethics. She is interested in disease research and how genetic diseases vary from person to person. She is excited to learn more about nephrology through the VA K-TUTOR Program. After college, she plans on pursuing her PhD in Biology to continue her love of research. In her free time, you can find her volunteering with her sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho, or painting outside.
Molly is a Northern Virginia native rising fourth-year at UVA, majoring in biomedical engineering. She is very excited to have this incredible opportunity to participate in cutting-edge nephrology research and to make the world a little bit brighter through biomedical engineering. Her particular interests are in tissue engineering, biocompatibility, and immunology. Outside of school, she enjoys talking with others, swimming, running, and making horrible puns (not kidneying).
Autumn is a rising fourth-year at the University of Virginia, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She has always had a keen interest in research, specifically related to the human body and how it works. She has structured her educational goals to match her interests, beginning with her application and acceptance into the Governor’s Health Science Academy at Cosby High School. She is looking forward to learning from and working with instructors, mentors, and peers during the VA Kidney-Tutor Research Program. Autumn enjoys spending time with friends and family in her spare time and serving her community through various programs. In the future, she would like to pursue a career in the medical field.
Jackson is a Cincinnati, Ohio native and sophomore at Virginia Tech majoring in Biomedical Engineering. He loves playing and watching sports, tasting different teas, and exploring new places! Jackson’s future goals include studying human kinetics, inventing devices designed for injury prevention. He is passionate about being part of the fight against cancer.
Kaleigh is majoring in biomedical engineering and Spanish from Virginia Tech. She was born and raised in Ashburn, Virginia. She is a member of the Society for Women Engineers, Order of the Engineer, and Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. She is also an ambassador for the biomedical engineering and mechanics department, helping recruit new students to the major. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Ashwin is a rising fourth-year Biomedical Engineering student at UVA on the pre-med track. His research interests are diabetes and the use of biomaterials technology to create artificial therapies. In the future, Ashwin wants to attend medical school and possibly become a cardiologist. In his spare time, Ashwin enjoys making music, playing basketball, and watching basketball.
Marissa is a Northern Virginia native and rising third-year at UVa studying biomedical engineering. She is extremely excited to have this incredible opportunity to be a part of cutting-edge nephrology research. Outside of school, she is a volunteer EMT with the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad, an avid baker, and a self-taught amateur crochet-er. In her free time, you can find Marissa hammocking around Grounds, walking her sister’s dog, or hiking in the Shenandoah!