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Yoelkys M

- Research Program Mentor

MD/PhD candidate at Tufts University


Microbiology and Infectious disease, the social determinants of health for infectious diseases, sustainable healthcare interventions, engineering bacterial to be beneficial to humans


I first became interested in medicine while I was in high school and I discovered a passion for biology and research. Being able to ask a question, coming up with a method to answer the question, and finding an answer has been a joy for me even during the later stages of my career. While I had a passion for science, I also wanted to apply science to help people through medicine. I ended up deciding to combine both my desire to help people and my love for research and pursuing a MD/PhD. During my time in medical school I explored the field of infectious diseases and how these disease have a significant impact on certain populations. This has lead me to complete my graduate training in microbiology to incorporate my interest in public health into my science. Outside of school I enjoy reading fantasy novels, camping, hiking, and spending time with friends. While school has kept me busy for a large time, I strive to leave some time in the week open for free time and relaxation since I view this as an important part of maintaining momentum in the long road of my career. As part of this I have been part of book clubs, go camping every summer, and make an effort to schedule time with friends in the fall for things such as apple picking. I was born in Florida but have come to enjoy the fall.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Intersection of infectious disease and social economic status

While pathogens do not discriminate who they infect, it has been demonstrated that certain groups of people are at much higher risk of being infected by pathogens than others. It is thought that certain social factors such as zip code, race, and income are string indicators of whether or not someone will become infected by a disease and more importantly will die from an infection. These factors have been referred to as social determinates of health. For this project, we will pick a pathogen of interest, a virus such as Covid or a bacteria such as Tuberculosis and examine the predictive factors that lead to someone being both infected or suffering life long consequences from these often curable diseases

Genetic engineering of bacteria

Bacteria are often used in many aspects of human life. They have been modified for use in foods such as cheese and yogurt as well as for the production of essential medicines such as insulin for people with diabetes. This has been largely done by the genetic modification of these bacteria to have a function that is helpful for us. In this project we will look into an example of a currently used bacteria and how it was modified to be beneficial and then design a method to modify a bacteria to be beneficial in some other ways such as climate change, medicine, or food and agriculture. There are many ways we can use bacteria and viruses to our benefit if we understand the genetics behind them

Coding skills


Languages I know


Teaching experience

During my time in graduate school I have mentored students on many different levels. This has included student in a high school IB biology class while they developed a project and I mentored them throughout the school year to see these projects through. I have also been a mentor for both medical students in classroom settings as well graduate students as they work on projects in a wet lab environment



Williams College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2014)
Tufts University
MD/PhD Doctor of Medicine and of Philosophy candidate

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