A team of four MSUM undergraduates — Bioscience majors Kayla Mehrer, Asma Mohammed, Andrea Schaefer, and Nick VanRaden mentored by Biosciences professor Adam Stocker — was awarded second place in the Mayo Clinic’s annual IMPACT competition. The team submitted a proposal earlier this semester detailing their hypothesis explaining what may be the mechanistic link between binge alcohol drinking, addiction, and the function of the neuroimmune system. Their proposal was selected as one of 10 finalists from the hundreds of proposals submitted by teams at Universities across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Earlier this month they gave an oral presentation of their proposal at the IMPACT symposium in Eau Claire, WI. Their silver medal award was based on their written proposal and oral presentation.

Two other teams of students from MSUM also submitted proposals and presented posters at the IMPACT symposium. Ritu Pandey and Ngim Sherpa were a team also mentored by Dr. Adam Stocker; Kathleen Edzards, Nick Marshall, and Logan Spooner were the other team mentored by Dr. Sumali Pandey.

Teams from MSUM have been rather successful in the IMPACT program over the past few years. A team from MSUM won the competition last year (2019) and a team from MSUM was a finalist in 2016. Dr. Adam Stocker also mentored both of these teams. MSUM has had at least one team compete each year since 2016.

The IMPACT program (Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies) is an undergraduate program sponsored by Regenerative Medicine Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic Office of Applied Scholarship and Education Science.