Mary M. Petzke, Ph.D., is Appointed Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research
Mary M. Petzke, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology and immunology and the founding director of the Summer Trainees in Academic Research (STAR) Program, has been appointed assistant dean for medical student research.
Dr. Petzke previously served as director of medical student research and is the assistant course director for the medical microbiology course in the School of Medicine (SOM).
In her new role, she will continue to support research mentoring for medical students and direct the biomedical research area of concentration in the M.D. program. Dr. Petzke is responsible for significantly increasing opportunities for medical students to participate in mentored biomedical research; reviewing student and faculty evaluations of research mentorship; aligning research opportunities to the curriculum; and enhancing campus-wide awareness of research opportunities.
Under her guidance, Medical Student Research Forum submissions increased by 128 percent, surging from 32 presentations in 2015 to 73 in 2019 and submissions conducted under New York Medical College (NYMC) faculty mentorship increased to sixty-one percent last year, a dramatic increase from 2014, the first year of tracking this information, when only 36 percent of the submissions were conducted under NYMC mentorship. As faculty advisor for the Area of Concentration in Biomedical Research and for the Research Subcommittee of the SOM Student Senate, she helped initiate the popular lunchtime bi-monthly Medical Student Research Seminars where medical students share their research projects in conjunction with student specialty interest groups.
“The School of Medicine is full of bright, motivated students and leading-edge faculty researchers, and my charge is to foster connections between these two valuable assets. Integrating our medical students into our research enterprise benefits the College, but also develops critical thinking and communication skills that often translate into better patient care. A substantial number of medical schools now require their students to engage in scientific inquiry and research experience is a key component for residency placement in certain specialties,” said Dr. Petzke. “I find it extremely gratifying when I am able to empower students with the resources to identify a project that fully engages their interests or to help transform their research findings into a scholarly product.”
Dr. Petzke, who joined the NYMC faculty in 2010, will continue to serve on the STAR steering committee and continue her research on the immunopathogenesis of bacterial infections, especially Lyme disease, with a specific focus on mechanisms of immune evasion.
“Dr. Petzke is one of our faculty stars. She is a seasoned educator and mentor and has significantly enhanced both the organization and management of our medical student research program since being appointed to this role,” said Jennifer L. Koestler, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education.