Our team supports you!

To learn more about our office and team members and our mission, please click the following link!

Meet the Team

Words from Former Scholars…

“My name is Alexandra Vaiana (formerly Sharp). I am currently a 5th year neuroscience PhD candidate in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program at UT Health San Antonio. I was a part of the 2010 Inaugural Scholar class in the Voelcker Biomedical Research Academy (VBRA). When I look back at the time I spent in the VBRA, I realize how much my experience shaped my future and current career. First and foremost, I was immersed in a field of medicine that I was not fully aware existed at the time. I thought to have a career in medicine, you had to be a clinician, but I quickly learned how much fun it is to be a scientist. The program confirmed what I love so much about science, such as designing experiments, asking questions, and ultimately being on the edge of discovery. Voelcker gave me a window into this very exciting new world that I would not have been able to experience elsewhere. For example, as a high school senior, my mentor took me to Washington, D.C. with his lab to present my research from the program. It was inspiring, and I was hooked. My experiences in Voelcker allowed me to realize my dream to be a scientist, but not just in vision. My mentors wrote letters of recommendation and helped prepare me for my interviews. They truly gave me opportunities that allowed me to be successful even after my time in the VBRA had concluded. And yes, while Voelcker prepared me for my career, it also connected me with friends that I am still in contact with 10 years later. I am so thankful for everyone I met in Voelcker, and the experiences I had. This program is special, and it is all attributed to the wonderful and passionate people that are ahead of it. They have truly given students like me a once in a life-time opportunity that has made me who I am today.” – Allie Vaiana

“When I look back on the experiences that paved the way for my career in medicine, the singular, most important experience is my time spent as a scholar in the VBRA. I was fortunate enough to have participated in the VBRA summer programs twice: first as a high school student, and again as an undergraduate. Prior to participating in the high school summer program, I knew that I enjoyed the biomedical sciences, but did not have much experience, as I attended a small school with a limited science department. During those three summers, I worked at the Barshop Institute researching a drug called Rapamycin and its effects on aging. I realized that I was fascinated by disease processes that affected the human body, and used to resources and networking experiences gained as a VBRA scholar to help me apply to a 7yr BS-MD program partnership between UTSA and UTHSA. I can say with confidence that my participation in the VBRA summer program is what allowed me to stand out as an applicant and gain admission into this unique medical program. I am currently completing my 4th year of medical school at UTHSA, and I know that I would not be here today without the VBRA.” – Brianna Bal

Scholar Spotlight

  • In March of 2024, Scholar Rashmi Basu, from the Cohort of 2022, won the first place award at the the Texas State Science fair in the Translational Medcial Sciences Category. Congratulations, Rashmi!



  • In April 2024, at the VIVA Science event held at the Witte Museum, 3 scholars won first, second and third place in the high school poster category. Respectively, they are Ariana Chaudhary, Julia Kazunas, and Rashmi Basu. Congratulations, ladies!

Upcoming events

    There are no events at this time. Please check back later.