Chancellor Johnson Announces 5 SUNY Students Selected for Prestigious National Institutes of Health Medical Research Scholars Program

June 21, 2019

Largest Group Ever to Represent SUNY Since Program’s Inception in 2012-13

SUNY Has Second Largest Number of Scholars in Year-Long Program that Begins in July

Albany – Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson today announced that five medical students from The State University of New York’s academic medical centers were chosen to participate in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP).

The group is the largest one to represent SUNY since the NIH launched the program in the 2012-13 academic school year. SUNY has the second largest number of participating students this year, second only to the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western University, which will have six students in the program. In all, the NIH chose 50 medical students from around the country for the MRSP.

"The selection of these five SUNY students demonstrates our system’s growing strength as a research institution and a leading force for innovation and discovery," SUNY Chancellor Johnson said. "I am enormously proud of these students, who will represent SUNY at the NIH. The experiences they receive will prepare them for careers in medical research that may one day lead to life-changing discoveries. Congratulations to all five as they embark on an exciting year as NIH research scholars."

"SUNY’s commitment to research in medicine and public health is greatly strengthened by the participation of our students in this elite NIH program," said Grace Wang, PhD, Senior Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development. "I’d like to congratulate all five students on being chosen for this highly selective opportunity, which will certainly enhance their skills as physicians and researchers."

The five students come from three SUNY academic medical centers and are:

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo:

  • Esha Chebolu, of Watertown, NY, a fourth-year medical student

SUNY Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, NY:

  • Daniel Lichtenstein of Highland, NY, a fourth-year medical student
  • Christina Marcelus, of Spring Valley, NY, a fourth-year medical student

SUNY Downstate Medical, Brooklyn, NY:

  • George Mo, of Manhasset, NY, a fourth-year medical student
  • Alex Wang, of Holbrook, NY, a fourth-year medical student

The year-long research training program, which begins in July, is an opportunity for medical, dental, and veterinary students to take time away from their university studies to conduct basic, clinical, or translational research on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD. Scholars choose their mentors from 350 full-time NIH investigators, who then help the students determine their research projects.

Since the program’s inception, SUNY has had 18 participants in the MSRP. The scholars take classes, participate in seminars and lectures, and do clinical teaching rounds at the NIH Clinical Center. They also present their research to the NIH community and at national and international professional conferences.

The MRSP is supported by the NIH and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. More than 310 students have completed the MRSP program since it began in 2012.

About SUNY Health

SUNY Health encompasses four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, the state’s only college of optometry, and 25 other campuses dedicated to health professions and services. Together, SUNY Health graduates more than 10,000 health professionals every year, including one of every three medical school graduates, one of every three nursing graduates, and one of every five dentists in the state. SUNY Health serves more than 1.3 million patients a year and produces groundbreaking biomedical and health sciences research and innovation. We play a critical role in creating the future of healthcare and medicine in New York State, across the country, and around the world.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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