General UCSF Medical Education News

Long-Term Student Research and Faculty Mentorship Celebrated at 2022 Inquiry Symposium & Awards Ceremony

 |  By Cora Palmer
The 2022 Inquiry Symposium & Awards Ceremony was held virtually.

The 2022 Inquiry Symposium & Awards Ceremony was held virtually.

The 2022 Inquiry Symposium & Awards Ceremony was an opportunity for graduating medical students to share their Deep Explore and Yearlong research projects via small group presentations. These faculty mentored long-term research projects immerse students in substantive scholarly exploration of a topic related to human health.

UCSF Presidential Scholar, Camara Jones, MD, PhD, MPH, delivered this year’s keynote titled, “Towards the Science and Practice of Anti-Racism”. Dr. Jones’ remarks focused on the need for a sustained national campaign against racism and the necessary skills for social justice warriors.

Inquiry Curriculum Director, Rita Redberg, MD, MS, noted, “The unique events of the last few years have underscored the critical role research and scholarship contributes to advancing health worldwide from addressing systemic racism in medicine to pushing forward biomedical vaccine discoveries. This explore symposium is the culminating event for our Inquiry Curriculum, but we hope it's the start of a long career of discovery and innovation.”

Five students were awarded the Dean’s Prize in Yearlong Research and five students were selected to receive the Dean’s Prize in Deep Explore. Dean’s Prizes are awarded twice annually to medical students who demonstrate outstanding scholarship and research during Summer Explore and long-term research terms. Finalists are selected based on submission of a one-page abstract, letter of nomination, and successful presentation to the faculty review committee. 

Dean’s Prize in Yearlong Research Finalists:

Carmel Aghdasi
Pediatric Psoriasis: Characteristics of a Cohort at UCSF Spanning Two Decades
Mentor: Kelly Cordoro, MD, Professor, Dermatology

Ryan Badiee
Superior Long-Term Appearance of Strip Craniectomy Compared to Cranial Vault Reconstruction in Metopic Craniosynostosis
Mentor: Jason Pomerantz, MD, Professor, Surgery

Leslie Charondo
Multidisciplinary Faculty’s Perceptions in Gaps in Current Laparoscopic Simulation Curricula in a Changing Training Landscape
Mentor: Hueylan Chern, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery 

Amity Eliaz
Evaluating the Impact of Language Concordance on COVID-19 Contact Tracing Outcomes Among Spanish-Speaking Adults in San Francisco Between June and November 2020
Mentor: Mike Reid, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine

Nicholas Thomas
Identifying therapies for a rare subtype of sarcoma
Mentor: Ross Okimoto, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine 

Dean’s Prize in Deep Explore Finalists:

Leslie Chan
Bone density in carriers of BRCA 1/2 mutations after salpingo-oophorectomy: A prospective longitudinal cohort study
Mentor: Vanessa Jacoby, MD, MAS, Professor, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Reproductive Sciences

Alan Kong
Thrombospondin-1 is Synaptoprotective in a Retina Explant Model
Mentor: Yvonne Ou, MD, Associate Professor, Ophthalmology

Joshua Norman
AFP-L3 and DCP Biomarkers Predict Early HCC Recurrence after Liver Transplant
Mentor: Neil Mehta, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine

Megan Pendleton
Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) Medical Education within UCSF Preclinical Curriculum
Mentor: Sally Graglia, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine

Derek Ponce
The Clinical Impact of 3D Printing in Congenital Heart Disease
Mentor: Shafkat Anwar, MD, Associate Professor, Pediatrics

videos of student awardees' presentationsPosters from the 2022 Inquiry Symposium

2022 Inquiry Curriculum Long-Term Mentor Awards

The Inquiry Curriculum recently announced the 2022 Long-Term Mentor Award winners at the Inquiry Symposium for Class of 2022. This award honors faculty mentors who have shown dedication to nurturing leaders, innovators, advocates, and researchers and have partnered with students to complete long-term research projects, between 12 weeks to 12 months or longer. Nominated by students, this year’s five faculty awardees represent the diversity of scientific inquiry and exemplify a commitment to student scholarship, advocacy, and scientific rigor.

The UCSF School of Medicine and Inquiry Curriculum leadership gratefully acknowledge the contributions each of this year’s Inquiry Curriculum mentors made to training our students to generate new knowledge as 21st Century Physicians. Learn more about Inquiry Awards for UCSF Faculty and Students.

2022 Long-Term Mentor Awardees

Following are excerpts from student nominations for each of this year’s five faculty mentor awardees.

Dr. Auerswald


Collette Auerswald, MD, MS, Professor, Community Health Sciences
Mentee: Emiliano Lemus Hufstedler (Class of 2022)
Project Title: Introducing the concept of “Systems Literacy:” How structural violence in service provision affects the health of transgender youth experiencing homelessness

Dr. Auerswald is the mentor who has, by far, found the delicate balance between allowing mentees to have autonomy in their own their work and providing direct oversight and advising. Dr. Auerswald allowed me to build a dream study – community-based research in my own community–and acted as an incredible ally to both trans people and BIPOC communities in supporting me to develop a study truly rooted in my trans BIPOC communities’ values. She further supported me in applying for the numerous funding sources that were necessary to bring my dream to fruition – awards that have been very important in my advancement as a researcher and toward residency. – Emiliano Lemus Hufstedler

Dr. Bongiovanni


Tasce Bongiovanni, MD, MPP, Assistant Professor, Surgery
Mentee: Maria Castro (Class of 2022)
Project Title: Increased Morbidity and Mortality Among Patients with Limited English Proficiency After Traumatic Injury

Witnessing the compassion, dedication, and expertise [Dr. Bongiovanni] provided to all her patients confirmed my interest in pursuing surgery. She then assisted me in preparing my residency application materials, connecting with letter of recommendation writers, and selecting beneficial sub-internships. Yesterday I learned that I matched into general surgery, and I truly believe a major contributor to this accomplishment was Dr. Bongiovanni. She empowered me to believe in myself and invaluably supported me to the finish line. – Maria Castro

Dr. Gundling


Katherine Gundling, MD, Clinical Professor Emerita, Department of Medicine
Mentee: Stephen Ettinger (Class of 2022)
Project Title: TERA: The Targeted Emissions Reduction Agreement at UCSF

Because of her mentorship, my general interest in climate change advocacy has transitioned into what will be a core part of my career and life for decades to come. She particularly deserves this award not just for the impact she’s had on me personally, but the impact that she’s had on many within the school of medicine. I am not the only one that she’s devoted so much time and energy to mentoring; not the only one who’s seen their names published and projects succeed because of her close and tireless mentorship. - Stephen Ettinger

Dr. Kotwal


Ashwin Kotwal, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine
Mentee: Dallas Mindo-Panusis (Class of 2023)
Project Title: Disparities in Advance Care Planning Among Older U.S. Immigrants in a Nationally Representative Sample

Under his guidance, I am succeeding in my degree program; had my research selected for presentation during the Presidential Poster Session at the 2022 American Geriatrics Society (AGS) conference (the highest award for a poster); and—with his letter of recommendation—was selected as the recipient of the 2022 AGS Clinical Student Research Award. Dr. Kotwal held the door open to research and mentorship and invited me in. My success would not be without Dr. Kotwal’s exemplary mentorship and his willingness to meet me at my level and allow me to lead at my pace. - Dallas Mindo-Panusis

Dr. Ou


Yvonne Ou, MD, Associate Professor, Ophthalmology
Mentee: Alan Kong (Class of 2022)
Project Title: Thrombospondin-1 is Synaptoprotective in a Retina Explant Model

Dr. Ou has continually found ways for me to share my research to both get feedback and to improve my resume as I approached residency application season. I was able to turn my Deep Explore project into an abstract for a conference, and while working with Dr. Ou these last four years, I have published three first-author articles and have another set of articles that are under review. As a student who came into medical school without any publications, Dr. Ou has not only helped me realize my full potential, but she has also shown me that I enjoy the scientific process, especially writing. – Alan Kong