Skip to Main Content

Yale University-Mayo Clinic CERSI

2020-2021 CERSI Scholars

Yale University


Victoria Bartlett

Doctorate of Medicine Candidate (2022), Yale School of Medicine
Project Title: Physical Activity, Atrial Fibrillation Episodes, and Patient-reported Symptoms: an analysis of personal digital device data from patients undergoing catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation

Victoria Bartlett is a medical student at the Yale School of Medicine. Her research interests include the use of real world data and health technology to generate medical evidence. Her CERSI Scholars project aims to characterize associations between physical activity and recovery from atrial fibrillation ablation procedures using personal digital device data. Victoria first developed an interest in health technology and innovation while working in management consulting before medical school.


Christopher N. Cross, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Yale Cancer Biology Training Program, School of Public Health
Project Title: Public Health Implications for African Americans in Real-World Clinical Trials

Dr. Cross is a population geneticist with expertise in policy and non-profit development. During the 113th Congress, he completed a year on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Science Fellow to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Prior to joining Yale, he completed a PhD-level internship with BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc. in U.S. Regulatory Policy and Patient Engagement. His passion lies in using scientific research to understand and address the etiology of population health disparities. Dr. Cross is the Founder and Managing Director of Cross River Strategies.


Meera Dhodapkar

Doctorate of Medicine Candidate (2023), Yale School of Medicine
Project Title: Characterizing the Evidence Supporting Supplementary New Drug Approvals and New Biologics Licensing Applications for New Indications from 2017-2019

Meera Dhodapkar is a current MD candidate at Yale School of Medicine whose interests lie in health and drug policy research. She developed an interest in drug policy while pursuing her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in Public Policy, with a concentration in Health Policy, where she was before coming to Yale. Her previous research experiences range from basic science to health policy and health outcomes research. She hopes to bring her diverse research experience to her current project, which aims to describe the characteristics of pivotal efficacy clinical trials supporting supplemental new drug and biological licenses approvals for new indications.


Tristan Furnary

Master of Public Health Candidate (2021), Yale School of Public Health
Project Title: Exploring the Potential Role of Acetaminophen in the Developmental Origins of Autism Spectrum Disorder via a Stem Cell Model

Tristan Furnary is a graduate student at the Yale School of Public Health. His research interests center around the role environmental factors play in the developmental origins of disease. In particular, he is interested in the neurological abnormalities associated by prenatal exposure to non-prescription drugs and environmental toxins. His CERSI Scholars project aims to utilize a stem cell model to assess the genomic effects of acetaminophen on early fetal development. Doing so may offer some understanding as to why maternal use of acetaminophen has been epidemiologically associated with increased risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in offspring. In the future, Tristan hopes to attend medical school before conducting clinical research as a practicing pediatrician.


Aaron Long

Doctorate of Medicine Candidate (2022), Yale School of Medicine
Project Title: Evaluating Clinical Trial Evidence for Single-enantiomer Drugs Based on Existing Racemic Drugs

Aaron is a medical student at the Yale School of Medicine. He studied biomedical engineering as an undergraduate and became interested in regulatory research in medical school. His research interests include how clinical trial results are presented in biomedical literature and understood by providers and patients. His current project focuses on chiral switching, a practice in which an existing racemic drug (a mixture of two mirror image enantiomers) is introduced as a new single-enantiomer formulation. The goal of the project is to evaluate the scope of clinical trial evidence available on the benefits of these new drug formulations. In the future, Aaron hopes to incorporate similar research into his practice.

Mayo Clinic


Paul Jacobs, BS

Post-Baccalaureate Student, Mayo Clinic
Project Title: Computational Modelling of MRI Heating from Passive Medical Implants at 7T

Paul is currently a student in the Mayo Clinic’s Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP). He became interested in working with medical devices at Drexel University while involved in several engineering focused internships. His primary research interests reside in the application of electromagnetics in medicine and studying ways to improve current imaging techniques. His primary research project involves determining if passive medical implants are compatible with new clinical high field strength MRI scanners through the use of computer simulations. Once finished as a PREP student, Paul plans on pursuing his research goals at the graduate level within a biomedical engineering program.


David H. Jiang, BA

Associate Health Services Analyst, Department of Health Services Research
Project Title: Enhancing FDA Regulation of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Devices and Algorithms

David Jiang is an Associate Health Services Analyst in the Department of Health Services Research. His research interests lie at the intersection of health policy, delivery, and law. His current research projects include analyzing the distribution of cost of healthcare utilization in the United States and the adverse patient outcomes of high deductible health plans. His CERSI Scholars project aims to study by what standard the artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) software as a medical device (SaMD) are evaluated, and what quality matrices of testing, trials, and data are used to justify and approve an AI/ML SaMD.


Montserrat Lara-Velazquez, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic Florida
Project Title: Study of SERPINA3 as a Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarker for Prognosis and Treatment Response in Patients with Glioblastoma

Dr. Lara-Velazquez is finishing the doctoral portion of the MD-PhD track from the PECEM program from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She is being trained by Dr. Hugo Guerrero-Cazares and Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa in the Neurogenesis and Brain Tumors Laboratory at Mayo Clinic Florida. Her research is focused in the effects of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) on the malignancy of glioblastoma (GBM) cells. More specifically, she investigates the role that molecules in the CSF can have in the regulation of GBM-cells dispersal, and the molecular pathways by which cancer cells can respond to boost cell migration. Her CERSI Scholars project will study the CSF responsive factor-SERPINA3 and its potential role as therapeutic target and biomarker for GBM. Dr. Lara-Velazquez wants to pursue a clinical residency in neurosurgery. In the future, she plans to stablish her own laboratory in neuro-oncology to educate the future generations of neurosurgeon-scientists.


Stephanie Zawada

Predoctoral Student, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Project Title: Blockchain Application Feasibility in Telehealth for DSCSA Compliance

Stephanie Zawada is a predoctoral student and dean's fellow at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Her research focuses on the development and translation of predictive artificial intelligence applications, shuttling secure and interoperable SaMD (Software as a Medical Device) technologies from the modeling phase through clinical validation and into the marketplace. Before Mayo Clinic, she was a consultant for one of Forbes' Most Promising AI Companies (AI 50) and a health policy fellow at a top D.C. think tank, where her recommendations informed the development of telemedicine provisions in the first COVID-19 relief bill.