March 24, 2023, noon to 5:00 p.m.


Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA  24016

  • The oral presentations will be held in-person in the M203 auditorium
  • The poster presentations will be held in-person in Riverside 4 in rooms G101 and G102

Contact info

Leslie LaConte leslie.laconte@vt.edu


Nine members of the class of 2023 will give oral presentations as a culmination of their four-year research projects. In addition, poster sessions will be held for all members of the class.

Attendees may watch the livestream below for the research mentor award, oral presentations, and student awards at the times indicated in the below schedule.  


The Research Mentor Award, Oral Presentations, and Student Awards will be presented via Livestream. If you have any questions during a student presentation, please post them in the comments section on YouTube.


  • 12-12:50 p.m. - Poster session 1 (Riverside 4, G101 and G102)
  • 1-1:20 p.m. – Presentation of Research Mentor Award (M203)
  • 1:20-2:00 p.m. – Oral presentations group 1  (M203)
    • Ultrasound-Guided Histotripsy for Canine Brain Tumor Ablation through a Biocompatible, Sonolucent Cranial Implant
      Maya Langman (Mentor: Eli Vlaisavljevich, PhD)
    • Investigating the Role of Cx43 mRNA Localization on Protein Translation Regulation during Hypoxia
      Ellen Shrontz (Mentor: James Smyth, PhD)
  • 2:00-2:20 p.m. - Rapid fire presentations group 1 (M203)
    • Biomechanical Comparison of Arthroscopic Suprapectoral Biceps Tenodesis Pull-out Strength: A Novel Technique
      Kendal Carter (Mentors: John Tuttle, MD and Vincent Wang, PhD)
    • Pericyte Heterogeneity Identified by 3D Ultrastructural Analysis of the Microvessel Wall
      Kyle Nolan (Mentor: John Chappell, PhD)
  • 2:30-3:20 p.m. – Poster session 2 (Riverside 4, G101 and G102)
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. – Oral presentations group 2 (M203)
    • A Mixed Methods Approach to Informing the Development of a Lifestyle Modification Program for Endometrial Cancer Survivors: a RE-AIM-Based Brainwriting Premortem
      Katie Brow (Mentors: Shannon Armbruster, MD, MPH and Samantha Hardin, PhD)
    • Ultrastructural Effects of Modulating Calcium Handling in the Cardiac Intercalated Disc
      Kathryn Hardin (Mentors: Steven Poelzing, PhD and Greg Hoeker, PhD)
    • Development of a Model for the Simulation of and Participant Performance Evaluation in Opioid Overdose Response and Naloxone Administration
      Allison Strauss (Mentor: Sarah Parker, PhD)
  • 4:30-4:50 p.m. - Rapid fire presentations group 2 (M203)
    • Interactions Between Connexin 43 and β-tubulin Isotypes in Glioma Stem Cells
      Chukwuemeka Uwakaneme (Mentor: Samy Lamouille, PhD)
    • Histotripsy for the Treatment of Uterine Leiomyomas: A Feasibility study in ex vivo Uterine Fibroids
      Tony Anzivino (Mentors: Eli Vlaisavljevich, PhD and Christopher Reynolds, MD)
  • 4:50-5:00 p.m. – Awards
Loading player for https://video.vt.edu/media/1_csdf5fmu...

[Sarah Parker]: The research mission of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is actually one of the things that attracted me to being part of both the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and the School of Medicine. I love that there is dedicated time and effort put forth for our students to engage in substantial research projects, skills around critical thinking, around curiosity, around how to look into the literature, how to critically evaluate method. All of those skills will serve our students going forward.

[Rebekah Sayre]: Sarah is amazing because she balances being very academic and very inquisitive while also having just like a calming, fun presence to be around. I have never not looked forward to meeting her with research, even when I had bad news.

[Allison Strauss]: Having somebody who's always available, always open for feedback gives you great suggestions herself, is able to help guide you and some of those questions that are unknown. Or as a medical student, we may not know how to navigate them. I always felt like I could go to her with any issue that kind of arose, and she was just always so willing to work through them.

[Merly Konathapally]: She's really been a great mentor and leader in that sense of showing me how to collaborate with others and then also how to be a woman in academic medicine or in academic research.

[Sarah Parker]: What I want the students to take away more than anything is the sense that research, no matter what you do, comes from a place of curiosity, and that that curiosity can serve you really well in a lot of different realms of your life.

[Allison Strauss]: So much of research in our curriculum here at VTC, a lot of the success of it is based off how involved your mentor is and how much they're invested in helping progress your project. And I feel really thankful that I ended up with Dr. Parker as my mentor and affiliated with her lab for the past four years.

[Merly Konathapally]: She cares a lot about me as a student and a person first, and so I've been really appreciative that she encourages independence, but is always there kind of supporting us as well.

[Rebekah Sayre]: Pushing her students to really be the best researchers they can be, and also kind of the best versions of themselves. I think that's what everybody wants in a mentor. So I just got very lucky that she happened to be mine.

[Sarah Parker]: To be even just a small part of this really intense period of time in their lives where they're learning so much. It's just it's absolutely humbling. It makes me so pleased to think about them building on this foundation from the VTC School of Medicine and the difference that they're going to make in many, many lives going forward. It's actually the highlight of what I get to do on a day to day basis. I could not be more proud of these students.

[Rebekah Sayre]: Who gradually said to Dr. Parker, You totally deserve this.

[Merly Konathapally]: I'm super grateful to be in your lab.

[Allison Strauss]: I really appreciate all that you've provided me, both in professional and personal development over my time in medical school.

[Rebekah Sayre]: It has definitely made me a better medical student and a better researcher, and I think a better person overall.

[Allison Strauss]: You're so deserving of this Research Mentor of the Year award.

[Rebekah Sayre]: So thank you so much.

Statement about accessibility and accommodation

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is committed to creating an inclusive and accessible event. All virtual events will have automated captions. Recorded events will have edited captions available soon after the event. If you desire live captioning or a sign language interpreter, please contact the organizer two weeks before the event. 

For in-person events, the main VTCSOM building at Riverside 2 is wheelchair accessible from the elevators inside the parking garage. Blind or visually impaired users may need assistance finding the elevators under the building, or using the stairs in front of the building.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to attend an in-person event, please contact the organizer of the event. All reasonable accommodation requests should be made no less than 2 weeks before the event. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.