MD-PhD Dual Degree Program

Main Content

Current MD-PhD Students

Jacob Pruett (M4)

Undergraduate Degree/Field of Study: Chemistry with Biochemistry Emphasis

Undergraduate Institution: The University of Southern Mississippi

Field of Study/Interests:  Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Sodium-Glucose Cotransporters, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Endocrinology

PhD Program: Cell and Molecular Biology

PhD Mentor: Licy Yanes Cardozo, MD

Honors/Awards: A. Wallace Conerly Scholarship; Nathan Solomon & Irene Oransky-Solomon Medical Student Award First Place at the Southern Regional Meeting 2021 for the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation; Research Day Awardee at University of Mississippi Medical Center Research Day 2021; Virendra B Mahesh Award of Excellence in Endocrinology at Experimental Biology 2020; Endocrinology & Metabolism Section Research Recognition Award at Experimental Biology 2021; Best Oral Presentation: Southeast Medical Scientist Symposium 2019; Kidney STARS Travel Grant (2021 and 2019); Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA); Gold Humanism Honor Society

National/Local Committee Membership/Leadership Positions: Subcommittee member of the Trainee Advisory Committee for the American Physiological Society – Endocrine and Metabolism (E&M) Section (2021-Present); Chair of AOA Research Award Committee (2019-2020); Co-Chair of GHHS Mini-Projects Committee (2019-2020).

Published Papers as MD-PhD Student:

  • Pruett JE, Torres Fernandez ED, Everman SJ, Vinson RM, Davenport K, Logan MK, Ye SA, Romero DG, Yanes Cardozo LL. Impact of SGLT-2 Inhibition on Cardiometabolic Abnormalities in a Rat Model of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021;22(5):2576.
  • Yanes Cardozo LL, Huffman AM, Pruett JE, Romero DG. Androgens and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Sex Hormones. 2021 Mar 2. IntechOpen.
  • Yanes Cardozo LL, Rezq S, Pruett JE, Romero DG. Androgens, Kidney and COVID-19: An Opportunity for Translational Research. American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology 2021;320(2):F243-F248
  • Yanes Cardozo LL, Rezq S, Pruett JE, Garla VV, Romero DG. Androgen Excess in Women and the Respiratory System. Sex-Based Differences in Lung Physiology. 2021:405

Funded Fellowship Application: National Institutes of Health F30 Fellowship: “Impact of SGLT-2 Inhibition on the Cardiometabolic Profile of PCOS”

Interests/Hobbies: Traveling; learning about languages; Spanish; reading; video games

Katheryn Lett

Katheryn Lett (G3)

Undergraduate Degree/Field of Study: B.S. Chemistry

Undergraduate Institution: The University of Alabama

Field of Study/Interests: My research focuses on exploring and identifying novel roles of coilin, the Cajal Body marker protein. My medical specialty interest is pediatric hematology/oncology.

PhD Program: Cell and Molecular Biology

PhD Mentor: Michael Hebert, PhD

National/Local Committee Membership/Leadership Positions: American Physician Scientist Associations Mentor for Undergraduate Students

Published Papers as MD-PhD Student:

  • Lett KE, Logan MK, McLaurin DM, Hebert MD. Coilin enhances phosphorylation and stability of DGCR8 and promotes miRNA biogenesis. Mol Biol Cell. 2021 Oct 1;32(20):br4.
  • Logan MK, Lett KE, Hebert MD. The Cajal body protein coilin is a regulator of the miR-210 hypoxamiR and influences MIR210HG alternative splicing. J Cell Sci. 2021 Jun 15;134(12).
  • Monroe JD, Moolani SA, Irihamye EN, Lett KE, Hebert MD, Gibert Y, Smith ME. Cisplatin and phenanthriplatin modulate long-noncoding RNA expression in A549 and IMR90 cells revealing regulation of microRNAs, Wnt/β-catenin and TGF-β signaling. Sci Rep. 2021 May 17;11(1):10408
  • McLaurin DM, Logan MK, Lett KE, Hebert MD. Molecular determinants that govern scaRNA processing by Drosha/DGCR8. Biol Open. 2020 Oct 26;9(10)

Interests/Hobbies: quilting, kayaking, playing volleyball

Edwards Shelley Rae.jpg

Shelley Rae Edwards (G2)

Undergraduate Degree/Field of Study: Neuroscience & Cognitive Studies

Undergraduate Institution: Millsaps College

Field of Study/Interests: My research investigates the clinical efficacy, abuse liability, and respiratory effects of novel opioid compounds in search of improved treatments for pain.

PhD Program: Neuroscience

PhD Mentor: Kevin Freeman, PhD

Honors/Awards: A. Wallace Conerly Scholarship

National/Local Committee Membership/Leadership Positions: American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) Co-Chair of Partnerships Committee, Undergraduate student mentor, Discovery Curriculum Committee Member, Physician Scientist Interest Day for Underrepresented Students Event Planning Committee Member

Published Papers as MD-PhD Student:

  • Dos Santos E Santos C, Welch BA, Edwards SR, et al. Immune and Metabolic Biomarkers in a Rodent Model of Spinal Cord Contusion. Global Spine J. 2022;12(1):110-120. doi:10.1177/2192568220950337

Funded Fellowship Application: National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse) F30 Fellowship "Behavioral Pharmacology of Injury Restricted Fentanyl Analogues."

Interests/Hobbies: House Plant Enthusiast, Amateur carpentry/Home Improvement, Furniture Restoration, Balloon Animal Twisting

 Sarah Boone

Sarah Boone (M1)

Undergraduate Degree/Field of Study: Microbiology/Bacteriology

Undergraduate Institution: Mississippi State University


Garner Fincher (M1)

Undergraduate Degree/Field of Study: Biology, Chemistry Minor

Undergraduate Institution: Millsaps College

Madeline Griffin

Madeline Griffin (M1)

Undergraduate Degree/Field of Study: Pharmaceutical Sciences

Undergraduate Institution: University of Mississippi