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Rebecca Tenner, Inaugural Recipient of the Levy CIMAR’s Undergraduate Summer Internship

Fall 2022 Featured Trainee:

Rebecca Tenner

  • Rising Senior at Tufts University’s Undergraduate School of Arts & Sciences working with the Levy CIMAR’s Alysse Wurcel, MD
  • Inaugural recipient of the Levy CIMAR Undergraduate Summer Internship for Underrepresented Groups in Science and Medicine

Rebecca Tenner is a rising senior at Tufts University’s School of Arts & Sciences working toward degrees in Biology and Community Health—a double major that has fostered her appreciation of the intersectionality of medicine and society as well as her passion for public health advocacy. Her interest in infectious diseases started in Summer 2021 while working with Dr. Nir Osherov, a Professor of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine. There, she assisted Dr. Osherov and team in antibiotic analyses of the fungi Aspergillus fumigatus spore viability and associated Minimum Inhibitory Concentration for various antibiotics. Rebecca’s experience taught her about the importance of addressing antimicrobial resistance and provided her with the academic and professional tools needed to continue her research. In April 2022, Rebecca earned the Tufts’ Class of 1947 Victor Prather Prize, a recognition reserved for undergraduate students who have demonstrated excellence in scientific research, enthusiasm for the pursuit of knowledge, and a dedication to scholarly achievement.

In June 2022, Rebecca became one of two just students to receive the inaugural Levy CIMAR Undergraduate Summer Internship for Underrepresented Groups in Science and Medicine and accompanying scholarship to support her summer research. She joined the Levy CIMAR’s Dr. Alysse Wurcel, an infectious diseases clinician and health services researcher at Tufts Medical Center, whose work focuses on improving healthcare for individuals who have been systematically marginalized and minoritized by the healthcare system, including people who use drugs and people who are incarcerated. Rebecca’s project with Dr. Wurcel addresses the lack of existing literature regarding the implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) in jails and prisons.

In addition to the Levy CIMAR Internship, Rebecca received the competitive Tufts Undergraduate Summer Scholar Program Grant to support her work. Her over all research goal this summer was to initiate a mixed-methods evaluation of barriers and facilitators of implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs in jails and prisons in Massachusetts.  Rebecca worked to develop qualitative tools for data collection. Her review of current ASP literature facilitated the development and piloting of interview guides to be used to conduct qualitative semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in carceral systems—groups and individuals whose influence can impact antibiotic practices in jails and prisons. Rebecca also performed data analysis on a dataset of antibiotic prescriptions in the jails. She has submitted two abstracts resulting from her data analysis thus far, and she will attend IDWeek, the national conference for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, in October 2022.

Dr. Wurcel was awarded the Tufts Springboard grant to broaden the research evaluation to more New England jails and prisons. Rebecca is excited to continue her work with Dr. Wurcel throughout her final undergraduate semesters, where she will complete her data collection of qualitative interviews and conclude the data analysis for her projects.

Upon graduation, Rebecca plans to relocate to Latin America, where she hopes to conduct similar research and involve herself in community-based volunteer work. She hopes this opportunity will enable her to advance her skills in working with Spanish-speaking communities and expand her knowledge of infectious disease-related work. Eventually, Rebecca plans to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician in the public sector with a focus on public health policy.

Outside of research, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her friends and family, participating in intramural sports, and trying new restaurants around Boston.