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2021 APSA Northeast Regional Conference

January 9-10, 2021


Engaging Breakout Sessions

  1. Skip Brass (University of Pennsylvania MD/PhD)

  2. Dianne Soprano (Temple MD/PhD)

  3. Scott Waldman (Jefferson MD/PhD)

  4. Myles Akabas (Einstein MD/PhD)

  5. Andrea Cox (Johns Hopkins MD/PhD)

  6. Olaf Andersen (Tri-Institutional MD/PhD)

  7. Mike Atchison (University of Pennsylvania VMD/PhD)

  8. Bethany Cummings (Cornell DVM/PhD)

  9. Rory Todhunter (Cornell DVM/PhD)

MD-PhD and VMD/DVM-PhD Admissions

Learn what you need to apply to MD-PhD and VMD/DVM-PhD programs from program directors in the area.


January 9, 4:00 pm

  1. Catherine Brinkley (UC Davis)

  2. Adriana Petryna (University of Pennsylvania)

  3. Carla Keirns (University of Kansas)

  4. Sara Manning Peskin (University of Pennsylvania)

  5. Utpal Sandesara (UCLA)

  6. Caroline Hodge (Penn MSTP)

  7. Sara Rendell (Penn MSTP)

Physician Scientists in the Social Sciences

Explore potential careers in the humanities and social sciences using physician scientist training.


January 10, 1:45 pm

  1. Peter Klein (Internal Medicine, Penn)

  2. Caroline Sokol (Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital)

  3. Jay Mehta (Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

  4. Jeanine Ronan (Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

  5. Andrew Nowalk (Pediatrics, UPMC)

  6. Eduardo Leonardo (Psychiatry, Columbia)

  7. Melissa Arbuckle (Psychiatry, Columbia)

  8. Geoff Aguirre (Neurology, Penn)

  9. Sarah Beck (Veterinary Pathology, Johns Hopkins)

  10. Susan Erdman (Comparative Medicine, MIT)

  11. Taku Kambayashi (Pathology, Penn)

Research-Track Residency Admissions

Hear about residency admissions in general and about specific specialties.


January 9, 4:00 pm

  1. Chris Coughlin (CMO, Rubius)

  2. Tal Zaks (CMO, Moderna)

  3. Aimee Payne (Co-Founder, CabalettaBio)

  4. Nicola Mason (PennVet)

  5. Garrett Coyan (Cofounder and CMO, Neoolife)

Physician Scientists in Industry

Follow in the footsteps of physician scientists who have established themselves as leaders in industry.


January 10, 1:45 pm

  1. L. Tiffany Lyle (Purdue)

  2. Allison Bean (University of Pittsburgh)

  3. LaTasha Crawford (University of Wisconsin)

  4. Marcus Goncalves (Cornell)

Physician Scientists in Academia

Discover the diverse set of opportunities available to you as a physician scientist in academia.


January 10, 1:45 pm

  1. Elizabeth Bhoj (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

  2. Vijay Bhoj (University of Pennsylvania)

  3. Gwendolyn Sowa (University of Pittsburgh)

  4. Corrine Kliment (University of Pittsburgh)

Work-Life Balance

Realize that you CAN have it all, including clinical practice, research, extracurricular activities, and family.


January 10, 1:45 pm


Saturday, January 9, 2021








Introductory Comments

Keynote: Dr. Sunil Singhal

Keynote: Dr. Patricia Conrad


Keynote: Dr. Vanessa Northington Gamble

Student Lightning Talks

Breakout Sessions

  1. MD-PhD & VMD/DVM-PhD Admissions

  2. Research-Track Residency Admissions

Sunday, January 10, 2021








Introductory Comments

Keynote: Dr. Katherine High

Breakout Sessions (2 rotations)

  1. Physician Scientists in Industry

  2. Physician Scientists in Humanities & Social Sciences

  3. Physician Scientists in Academia

  4. Work-Life Balance


Student Lightning Talks

Keynote: Dr. Xilma Ortiz Gonzalez

Ending Remarks and Poster/Lightning Talk Prizes

Keynote Speakers


Physician Scientists with diverse career trajectories


Surgeon Scientist


Dr. Sunil Singhal, MD

University of Pennsylvania

Department of Thoracic Surgery

Dr. Sunil Singhal is the Director of the Center for Precision Surgery at the Abramson Cancer Center and an Associate Professor in surgical research at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2007, Dr. Singhal founded the Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory with the goal of creating novel treatment protocols for cardiothoracic disease, including mesothelioma and other lung and esophageal cancers. Advancements from his lab include the creation of TumorGlow®, a contrast dye capable of staining tumor cells in the lung to aid in tumor resection. His work in intraoperative tumor imaging is well funded by the National Cancer Institute. He was recognized by America’s Top Doctors in 2017.

Dr. Patricia Ann Conrad, DVM, PhD

UC Davis

Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology

Dr. Patricia Ann Conrad is a Distinguished Professor and the Associate Dean for Global Programs at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Additionally, she co-directs the University of California’s system-wide Global Health Institute. Taking a One Health approach to research, her career highlights include discovery of tick-transmitted parasites of humans and dogs in the western USA, novel in vitro cultures of Neospora parasites which ultimately led to a vaccine, and identification of causes of brain disease in threatened California sea otters that led to protective legislation. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and American Association for the Advancement of Science.



Veterinary Scientist


Public Health Expert

Vanessa Northington Gamble.jpg

Dr. Vanessa Northington Gamble, MD, PhD

George Washington University

Medical Humanities and American Studies

Dr. Vanessa Northington Gamble is a University Professor of Medical Humanities and American Studies at  George Washington University. She attended Penn for her physician-scientist training and completed her PhD  in the history and sociology of science. At the University of Wisconsin, she designed one of the first courses  examining the history of medicine and public health through the lens of race. She chaired the Tuskegee Syphilis Study Legacy Committee which resulted in an apology from President Clinton on behalf of the US government. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Katherine High, MD

Spark Therapeutics

President and Head of Research and Development

Dr. Katherine High is an emeritus professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a leader in gene therapy for hemophilia and retinal dystrophy. She pioneered studies that led to one of the first Food and Drug Administration approvals of a gene therapy for genetic disease in the United States. She is a Howard Hughes Investigator, elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-founder of Spark Therapeutics. She serves on the Board of Directors for CRISPR therapeutics.



Industry Leader


Pediatrician Scientist


Dr. Xilma Ortiz Gonzalez, MD, PhD


Division of Neurology

Dr. Xilma Ortiz Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Her lab studies mitochondrial dysfunction in rare pediatric neurodegenerative disorders. Accomplishments from her lab’s work include the first human model of Adenine Nucleotide Translocase 1 Deficiency cardiomyopathy using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells and the first characterization of autophagy defects in TBC1 Domain-Containing Kinase Encephaloneuronopathy from the Boricua mutation. Dr. Ortiz-Gonzalez was awarded the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation’s Kelsey Wright Award for Excellence in Mitochondrial Medicine, as well as the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists (CAMS).


Breakout Sessions


About the Penn APSA Chapter and the 2021 APSA NERC

3400 Civic Center Blvd

Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Penn APSA Chapter supports all medical students interested in physician scientist careers by hosting diverse educational, mentorship, and networking events. Our 2021 conference, originally intended for 2020 but pushed to early 2021 because of COVID-19, showcases the dynamics of diversity in physician scientist training. We hope you realize the endless possibilities available to you with physician scientist training and develop mentorships that you will nurture for the rest of your life. Welcome!

About Us





2021 APSA NERC Organizing Committee

Our Sponsors


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