Education / Training

MMRL Postdoctoral Program

The Postdoctoral Research Training Program, the most extensive of the four programs, provides an opportunity for scientists and physicians from all over the world to spend a period of one to several years as postdoctoral research trainees or fellows. Many graduates of this program have gone on to become eminent scientists and physicians the world over.

MMRL Predoctoral Program

The Predoctoral Research Training Program is administered in affiliation with SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse, New York. Students are awarded a Ph.D. degree upon successful completion of their course work at the SUNY Health Science Center and their research work at the MMRL.

MMRL Summer Fellowship Program


The Summer Fellowship Program, initiated in 1960, provides an opportunity for students of biology, physiology, molecular biology, chemistry, medicine and other life sciences to participate in research under staff guidance. The ten week program is designed to educate, instill scientific curiosity and guide our youth in making their career decisions. The program is open to undergraduate, graduate and medical students.


The Masonic Medical Research Laboratory (MMRL) is a not for profit basic biomedical research institute located in Utica, N.Y. As the only major biomedical research facility in the greater Utica and Mohawk Valley area, the MMRL has long considered it an important responsibility to provide a Summer Fellowship Program for interested students. The Summer Fellowship Program was initiated in 1960 to provide an opportunity for gifted and talented students of the life sciences to experience the operation of a scientific research institute, to gain an appreciation for how scientific problems pertaining to medical diseases are approached and handled, and to experience first hand the scientific method with all its rigors and disciplines. The program is designed to educate, instill scientific curiosity and prepare and guide our youth in making career decisions.


Students who have completed at least one year of undergraduate coursework in the biosciences will be given priority for the program. The selection is made by a committee consisting of the preceptors participating in the program and will be based on the application material, i.e. school transcripts and letters of recommendation. Foreign applicants must be eligible for a J1 visa or equivalent.

Training Period

The training period will be ten weeks in duration starting on May 27, 2014 . Working hours will be 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday.


Stipends may be provided to students on a need basis. The number of stipend positions is limited by the availability of support for the program provided through grants from state and federal agencies, as well as foundations and local business concerns.


Applications and all supporting material must be received no later than March 1st.

Program Description

The Masonic Medical Research Laboratory was established in 1958 as a basic medical research facility. Since its inception, it has gained international prominence for its achievements and contributions to science and medicine. The MMRL’s current focus is in the areas of: Experimental Cardiology, Molecular Genetics and
Molecular Biology.

The Laboratory is also an educational institution and resource center with close ties to SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse, Syracuse University and Utica College. The MMRL offers four educational programs: Summer Fellowship Program, Undergraduate Study, Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Research Training Programs.


The MMRL has long considered it a responsibility to provide a Summer Fellowship Program to students in our local community. Recent projections of significant shortages of medical researchers by the turn of the century have heightened the need for programs such as this in which students can become acquainted with research and the opportunities available in the biomedical sciences. This brief exposure to a research environment will hopefully foster a continued interest in science and or medicine.

The MMRL generally receives 40 to 50 applications for the Summer Fellowship Program each year from students nationwide. More than 400 students have participated in the Summer Fellowship Program over the years. Many have subsequently earned their Ph.D. or M.D. degrees and approximately 40% have pursued scientific research or teaching careers. Greater than 80% of our undergraduate summer fellows have pursued a graduate education in the biomedical or biophysical sciences after graduation from college. A number of students have gone on to become eminent scientists and physicians worldwide.


The Summer Fellowship Program generally includes 5 to 10 fellows. Initially, each fellow will be asked to observe the ongoing research projects and become familiar with the methodologies techniques and procedures in use. Students will then be assigned specific duties in order to become more integrally involved in the experimental work. When appropriate, usually during the second summer, the students may be encouraged to undertake an independent research project of his/her choice. The preceptors and postdoctoral fellows will serve as consultants and will provide close guidance and daily input. The program offers training in several disciplines including: tissue electrophysiology, cellular electrophysiology, molecular genetics and molecular biology. The students should indicate their preference in the application. However, each discipline has limited slots and the final decision will be determined by the MMRL Education Officer and staff.


Students are encouraged to observe experiments in laboratories other than those to which they are assigned.

Training Period

The training period will be ten weeks in duration starting on May 27, 2014.


During the first week of the program, one or two daily seminars or lectures will be scheduled. Each presentation will be devoted to a report of research in progress or to a topic related to work in which the students are engaged. These sessions will be presented by the staff and will be geared to the level of understanding of the fellows. Attendance is mandatory and questions are encouraged. Seminars may be followed by an open discussion about the program as a whole or a general discussion about career opportunities in the biosciences and how best to pursue a research or teaching career. A weekly journal club will be held and involve the discussion of a paper presented by one of the summer fellows who will chose and prepare the article under the advise of his/her tutor.

The MMRL hosts visiting scientists from throughout the world. Fellows are invited to attend these seminars and participate in the question and answers sessions that follow.

In addition, fellows may be offered the opportunity to attend seminars at surrounding educational institutions.


No formal coursework is required, but fellows will be expected to read the scientific literature and participate in discussions about published articles or textbook material.


Each fellow’s progress will be continuously monitored by his/her immediate preceptor through daily interaction, and by the Program Director and other preceptors through the student’s participation and feedback at the weekly seminar series. Each fellow will also be required to make an oral presentation at the end of the program to the other students, staff and their respective sponsors.

Benefits Derived

After completion of the program, students will have gained a sense of how research studies are carried out in a range of fields that deal with current concerns in medical science. They will have at their disposal knowledge and experience in physiological, biochemical and pharmacological methodologies and a sense of the state of-the art in each area. More importantly, they will be better prepared to make important career decisions.

Summer Fellowship Program Staff


Charles Antzelevitch, Ph.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A., F.H.R.S.

Executive Director and Director of Research – MMRL
Gordon K. Moe Scholar
Professor of Pharmacology at Upstate Medical
University, Syracuse

Hector Barajas, Ph.D.

Research Scientist – Molecular Genetics and Experimental Cardiology

Matthew Betzenhauser, Ph.D.

Research Scientist – Experimental Cardiology

Alexander Burashnikov, Ph.D.

Research Scientist – Experimental Cardiology

Jonathan Cordeiro, Ph.D.

Summer Fellowship Program Director
Research Scientist – Experimental Cardiology

Jose Di Diego, M.D.

Research Scientist – Experimental Cardiology

Dan Hu, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Scientist – Experimental Cardiology

Vladislav Nesterenko, Ph.D.

Research Scientist – Experimental Cardiology -(Mathematical Modeling)

Michael Xavier Doss Jesudoss, Ph.D.

Research Scientist – Stem Cell Research and Genomics

Brian Panama, Ph.D.

Research Scientist – Experimental Cardiology

Serge Sicouri, M.D.

Research Scientist – Experimental Cardiology

Research Assistants

Elena Burashnikov
Gabe Caceres
Mayurika Desai
Robert Goodrow
Judith Hefferon
Sravani Kollu
Ryan Pfeiffer
Jackie Treat
Yuesheng Wu

Important Dates

2014 Dates

Deadline For Receiving Application Forms
and Supplemental Materials : March 1 , 2014

Program Begins: May 27 – Aug 1, 2014


Download the Application



Slocum-Dickson Foundation
Utica Lodge 47, F. & A.M.
Bredablick Lodge 880, F. & A.M.
Dr. Ashok and Shilpa Patel
Theodore Max, M.D.
Drs. Atul and Amita Butala
Excellus BC/BS
Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Cortese

MMRL Mentoring Program

1. Click here for BOCES Regional Program for Excellence

2. Click here for BOCES Shadowing Program

3. Click here for Young Scholars Program

4. Click here for Mohawk Valley Young Engineers

The labratory is committed to providing education and training to basic scientists and clinical researchers.
Masonic Medical Research Laboratory
2150 Bleecker Street • Utica, NY 13501 • Tel: 315-735-2217 • Fax: 315-735-5648