Diary of an MSTAR Student
Diary of an MSTAR Student

The MSTAR Program encourages medical students to consider a career in academic geriatrics by providing summer research and training opportunities. Follow these students as they journey through new experiences in the lab, classroom, and clinic.  Click here to read entries from previous years.

Diary of an MSTAR Student: Julianna Ricco

Aug 8
9:43 am

Diary of an MSTAR Student: Julianna Ricco View MoreBACK

Posted by Gemma Martinelli

Julianna Ricco

Home Institution: Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

MSTAR Site: Johns Hopkins University

I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to explore geriatrics through the MSTAR program. Currently in my last week of the program at Johns Hopkins, I look back on my summer and wish I had more time to learn and enjoy being with the great people I have met here. However, I carry forward with me a rejuvenated passion for medicine, especially in working with older adults.

On my first day arriving on campus, I was informed of all the clinical opportunities we could schedule. As the weeks went by, I was able to work with a diverse set of geriatricians in a variety of settings. I am impressed at the number of opportunities that exist in this field and the dedication and enthusiasm that each of the doctors I shadowed exuded. Through these personal experiences and the didactic lectures we were given, I was able to contemplate and appreciate the multidisciplinary approach that is necessary in the care of older people.

Part of the appreciation that I gained during this time took form in the fact that there is still so much that is unknown about the process of aging. The ability to work with a mentor and contribute even a small amount to research on the physiologic impacts of aging felt powerful. I spent my summer under the supervision of Dr. Sean Leng, a pioneer of research on the aging immune system. We are examining longitudinal changes in immune cell profiles for women over 70 and exploring correlations of these findings to changes in health status (frailty, inflammatory markers, etc). There is still more work to do, but I am excited to see what can be gained from our data.

On top of the educational clinical time and research experience, I feel like I have another awesome community of support here to guide me going forward into the future of medical school and beyond if I ever need it. I am happy to now be a part of the Johns Hopkins family.