Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Ali Stark

M.D./Ph.D. Student

Ali Stark is a medical student in the South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD Program). She will enter into graduate school portion of the training program in 2025. 

About Me

I grew up in Laramie, Wyoming, and completed my undergraduate education at Michigan State University, where I majored in Neuroscience, Genomics & Molecular Genetics, and Spanish. After graduation, I worked as a Postbaccalaureate IRTA Fellow in the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institute on Aging studying the genetic mechanisms of ALS and Frontotemporal Dementia.


Cooking, fly-fishing, skiing, reading, hiking, and hanging out with my fiancée and our 3 cats!

Research Topic

Neurodegenerative Disease

Why I chose MD/PhD

I chose to pursue an MD/PhD because it will allow me to study neurodegenerative diseases from both a research and patient-centered perspective, in an effort to understand how these diseases are caused, and ultimately how to treat or prevent them.

Why I chose MD/PhD at UT Health San Antonio

I love the supportive community at the South Texas MSTP, and was also drawn here for the incredible research environment!

Post-bac work or other affiliations

Postbaccalaureate IRTA, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging, NIH (2020-2022)


B.S., Neuroscience, Michigan State University, 2020

B.S., Genomics & Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, 2020

B.A., Spanish, Michigan State University, 2020


Dou, J., Bakulski, K., Guo, K., Hur, J., Zhao, L., Saez-Atienzar, S., Stark, A., Chia, R., García-Redondo, A., Rojas-Garcia, R., Vázquez Costa, J. F., Fernandez Santiago, R., Bandres-Ciga, S., Gómez-Garre, P., Periñán, M. T., Mir, P., Pérez-Tur, J., Cardona, F., … Menendez-Gonzalez, M. (2023). Cumulative Genetic Score andC9orf72Repeat Status Independently Contribute to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Risk in 2 Case-Control Studies. In Neurology Genetics (Vol. 9, Issue 4, p. e200079). Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health).

Kaivola, K., Chia, R., Ding, J., Rasheed, M., Fujita, M., Menon, V., Walton, R. L., Collins, R. L., Billingsley, K., Brand, H., Talkowski, M., Zhao, X., Dewan, R., Stark, A., Ray, A., Solaiman, S., Alvarez Jerez, P., Malik, L., Dawson, T. M., … Zinman, L. (2023). Genome-wide structural variant analysis identifies risk loci for non-Alzheimer’s dementias. In Cell Genomics (Vol. 3, Issue 6, p. 100316). Elsevier BV.

Bali, V., Simmons, S.C., Manning, C.E., Doyle, M.A., Rodriguez, M., Stark, A.R., Ayala Rosario, S.N., Robison, A.J., & Mazei-Robison, M.S. (2021). Characterization of proinflammatory markers in the ventral tegmental area across mouse models of chronic stress. Neuroscience, 461, 11-22. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2021.02.032

Doyle, M.A., Bali, V., Eagle, A.L., Stark, A.R., Fallon, B., Neve, R.L., Robison, A.J., Mazei-Robison, M.S. (2021). Serum-and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 activity in ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons regulates cocaine conditioned place preference but not cocaine self-administration. Neuropsychopharmacology, 46(9), 1574-1583.

Doyle, M.A., Stark, A.R., Fejes-Tóth, G., Náray-Fejes-Tóth, A., Mazei-Robison, M.S. (2020). Behavioral effects of SGK1 knockout in VTA and dopamine neurons. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-15.