Research Internship Summer 2023

GMU Center for Biomedical Science and Policy

Center for Biomedical Science and Policy Twitter/X

High School and College Student Internship: Data Analytics for Elite Young Scholars – Biology and Medical Science Experience

Internship Summary

This Young Scholars Research internship is designed for Elite High School Students and Undergrad Students, who are interested in pursue their study and/or career in the fields of biology or medical science with emphasis on advanced data analytics. You will work with our esteemed GMU faculty members on a specific team project. The team will consist of about 3 to four members of both high school and undergraduate students. The project will be assigned to the students at the beginning of the internship based on the preference indicated by the students prior to the internship. Final papers produced during the program will be published on the center website ( as well as in the proceedings of the student conference.

Internship research projects:

Project 1: Racial & Sex Disparities in Lupus & Transplant Outcomes

Project 2: Optimal Immunosuppressive Regimen for Pediatric Liver Transplant Recipients

Project 3: Geographical and Familial Factors in Engagement of Advance Directives

Project 4: Gut Microbiome and Kidney Transplant

Project 5: Regional and Seasonal Variation of Cyanotoxins

Project 6: Kidney Sales and Trafficking

Project 7: Viruses and Host Membranes

View details of the research projects.

Student Conference

Conference Proceedings.

Project 1: Racial & Sex Disparities in Lupus & Transplant Outcomes (Best Research Award)

Project 2: Optimal Immunosuppressive Regimen for Pediatric Liver Transplant Recipients (Best Teamwork Award)

Project 3: Geographical and Familial Factors in Engagement of Advance Directives (Best Speaker Award)

Project 4: Gut Microbiome and Kidney Transplant (First Prize Winner)

Project 5: Regional and Seasonal Variation of Cyanotoxins (Best Power Point Presentation Award)

Project 6: Kidney Sales and Trafficking (Second Prize Winner)

Project 7: Viruses and Host Membranes (Third Prize Winner)

Course Directors

Dr. Jim Olds is University Professor of Neuroscience and Public Policy at George Mason University. He served from 2014-2018 as head of the Biological Sciences Directorate at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), responsible for an annual budget of $750M. Olds’ former directorate funds the majority of non-biomedical research at America’s research institutions. While there, he was also NSF lead for President Obama’s White House BRAIN project, deputy lead for NSF on Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot and co-chaired the White House Life Sciences Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council. Prior to his time at NSF, Olds was the Director of George Mason University’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, Chair of the Molecular Neuroscience Department and the Shelley Krasnow University Professor of Molecular Neuroscience. Olds received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Michigan and his BA in chemistry from Amherst College.

Dr. Naoru Koizumi is Professor of Public Policy and Associate Dean of Research & Grants in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. She specializes in medical policies, particularly in the fields of organ transplantation and the end-stage kidney and liver diseases. Her research focuses on the applications of various quantitative methods such as biostatistics, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), simulation and mathematical optimization to analyze various clinical and policy questions related to organ transplantation and other chronic disease treatments. Her projects funded by NIH and NSF include simulations and optimizations of organ allocation (NIH-R21) and bed allocation in a mental health system (NIH-R21 & R01), simulation of slum expansion in India (NSF) and mathematical analysis of illicit kidney trade networks (NSF). Koizumi completed her first doctoral program in Regional Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Her second PhD (2005) is in Environmental and Preventive Medicine from Hyogo College of Medicine, Japan.

Additional Project Advisors

Dr. Nadine Kabbani is an Associate Professor of Systems Biology and the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience. Here research interest centers on discovery of mechanisms underlying brain disease with an emphasis on cholinergic signals in cells.

Dr. Ali Andalibi Senior Associate Dean in the College of Science and a Chief Scientific Officer at the Center for Infectious Disease Research. He is a molecular biologist and geneticist by training, with a very broad, multidisciplinary background that includes nearly three decades of research into the genetics and molecular mechanisms of metabolic and inflammatory diseases.

Dr. Megumi Inoue Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, College of Health and Human Sciences. Her research focus is primarily on older adults with declined health who are vulnerable to losing autonomy and dignity. She brings her extensive clinical experience as a social worker and a registered nurse to her understanding of the research field.

Project Advisors and Leads

Dr. Meng-Hao Li is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at George Mason University’s Center for Biomedical Science and Policy. His expertise lies in health informatics and e-health policy, where he adeptly employs text mining, machine learning, and network analysis to address his research inquiries. Dr. Li completed his PhD at George Mason University in 2022 and was honored with the Joseph L. Fisher Public Policy Award. With a collaborative spirit, he has engaged with over 20 scholars, resulting in the publication of more than 30 research articles. Dr. Li’s involvement extends to national health databases, including N3C, HCUP, and UNOS, which collectively encompass data from over 10 million patients and hundreds of millions of records.

Meng-Hao Li wearing glasses while standing outside.

Dr. Mehdi Nayebpour, Managing Director of Virginia BioAnalytics, received his PhD in Public Policy from Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University in 2022. His research focuses on personalized medicine, particularly in the field of kidney transplantation. His efforts aim to expand and advocate the practice of personalized medicine for the betterment of minorities who are in need of kidney transplant.

Mr. Patrick Baxter is a Public Policy PhD Candidate and Graduate Research Assistant at the Schar School of Policy and Government with nine years’ experience as a practicing quantitative researcher. His current research focuses on domestic healthcare policy, and his dissertation centers around CMS inpatient evaluation methodologies. He has contributed to research on organ transplantations and other chronic disease treatments, ChatGPT sentiment, vehicle safety, identifying drug trafficking networks, government partner selection and emergency relief management since attending Schar. He has lived and worked in various countries over his career, including Malawi, Rwanda, Indonesia, Mozambique, and the US. During this time, he assisted on a broad set of poverty alleviation research topics. These include household financial welfare, agricultural input adoption, family planning, maternal health, rural teacher retention, tax collection, and community conflict resilience.

Patrick Baxter sitting inside while wearing a gray blazer and blue shirt.

Mr. Zifu Wang is currently dedicated to his Ph.D. in the field of geographic information science at George Mason University. Zifu has been working as a graduate research assistant at the NSF Spatiotemporal Innovation Center, a collaborative effort involving GMU, Harvard, and UCSB. Zifu has published more than 10 research articles in the domains of data mining, social media analysis, cloud computing, big data computing, and natural language processing. He is presently engaged in an investigation of the illicit kidney trade network through the analysis of news media data. Additionally, he oversees the management of a computing cluster, encompassing cloud computing, big data platforms, and High-Performance Computing (HPC) platforms.

Zifu Wang smiling while wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and red tie.