MMRI is thrilled to welcome 19 undergraduate students to its highly esteemed 2024 Summer Fellowship program. For ten weeks, these Summer Fellows will study under MMRI’s principal investigators (PI) gaining invaluable scientific research experience, as well as with administrative executives, gaining insights into MMRI’s operational endeavors.

2024 Summer Fellows: (from left to right) Emily Hemstrought, Hope Garramone, Anna Zamperetti, Zhijie Han, Julia Sassower, Afomiya Kassie, Alexandra Volo, Gianna Frank, Reaghan Sassower, Mariah Foster, Raegan Weems, Richard Chen, Houze Li, Nay Linn, Alinur Jaboldinov, Dmytro Davydenko, Alexander Seeley, Rebecca Caruso and Owen Trela.


This rigorous and competitive program selects students based on academic excellence, innovative scientific project ideas and demonstrated drive.


“We are delighted to welcome our largest class to date into MMRI’s coveted Summer Fellowship program,” said Maria Kontaridis, Ph.D., executive director and Gordon K. Moe professor and chair of biomedical research and translational medicine at MMRI. “The halls of MMRI are bustling, and we look forward to seeing the culmination of their research experiences at the end of this program. This is a testament to our mission, which includes our commitment to training future generations of science and medicine.”


Throughout the program, the Summer Fellows will engage in hands-on research using cutting-edge methodologies, such as induced pluripotent stem cells and targeted drug delivery. They will also participate in professional development workshops covering topics like applying to medical and graduate schools, the scientific code of conduct and didactic lectures on various scientific disciplines. The program will culminate in a graduation ceremony on Friday, July 26, 2024, where the Fellows present their research to MMRI staff, colleagues, families and community members.


MMRI is proud of its legacy and the success of its fellows, with many moving on to top tier graduate schools, medical schools, pharmacy schools, veterinary schools and more. It has trained hundreds of aspiring scientists, many of whom have gone on to have diverse careers in research and medicine, some of which have been employed locally at local health systems, such as Mohawk Valley Health System, or nationally at organizations such as the Lupus Research Alliance. Many of these Summer Fellows have even returned to MMRI as postdoctoral fellows or research assistants, a true testament to the program’s success.



The 2024 MMRI Summer Fellowship program includes:


Maria Kontaridis, Ph.D.:

Rebecca Caruso, Bucknell University

Richard Chen, University of Michigan

Mariah Foster, SUNY Fredonia

Afomiya Kassie, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Nay Linn, Binghamton University

Alexandra Volo, Syracuse University


Chase Kessinger, Ph.D.:

Dmytro Davydenko, Davidson College

Raegan Weems, University of Florida


Zhiquang Lin, Ph.D.:

Gianna Frank, Syracuse University

Houze Li, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Jason McCarthy, Ph.D.:

Hope Garramone, Clarkson University

Alinur Jaboldinov, Hamilton College

Julia Sassower, Syracuse University


Tongbin Wu, Ph.D.:

Zhijie Han, Syracuse University

Raeghan Sassower, Binghamton University


Nathan Tucker, Ph.D.:

Emily Hemstrought, Nazareth University

Anna Zamperetti, Le Moyne College


Varun Balaji:

Alexander Seeley, Clarkson University


Millie Occhionero:

Owen Trela, St. Lawrence University


The 2024 MMRI Summer Fellowship Program was made possible thanks to the generous support from its sponsors, including:


  • M&T Bank / Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation
  • Drs. Atul and Amita Butala
  • UpMobility Foundation
  • Slocum-Dickson Foundation
  • Burrows Foundation
  • The Mele Family Fund
  • Mr. Gary T. Forrest
  • Utica Lodge #47 F. & A.M.
  • Sixth Masonic District Association of Manhattan, Inc.
  • R⸫W⸫ Walter R. Leong
  • The Give Back to Utica Fund/Steven H. Oram
  • Shakespeare Lodge #750 F. & A.M.
  • Alera Group


“We’d like to thank our program funders,” said Stephen F. Izzo, principal development officer at MMRI. “Without their support, MMRI could not have fielded one of its largest classes of Summer Fellows!”


Read more about the MMRI Summer Fellowship, here: