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Seventy Medical Research Fellows to Embark on a Year in the Lab

Seventy of the nation’s top medical and veterinary students have been selected to participate in the 26th class of the HHMI Medical Research Fellows Program, a $2.8 million annual initiative to increase the training of future physician-scientists. The students will put their medical studies on-hold for one year to conduct intensive, mentored biomedical research at 32 fellowship institutions across the country.

This year, HHMI received 191 fellowship applications from students representing 68 institutions. Each applicant was required to submit a research plan to work in a specific lab with a mentor they had identified.

“Most medical students have worked in labs for one to three months at a time. Just as they start to make progress in their project, they leave the laboratory to return to their studies,” said Helen Hobbs, an HHMI investigator at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, who mentored a medical fellow in her lab over the last year.

“Having a year to work exclusively in the laboratory without other distractions provides the student with sufficient time to experience the satisfactions and frustrations of being a scientist. They have time to establish meaningful relationships with the research team and to experience the culture of laboratory science,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs mentored student, Rima Chakrabarti, who said her year in the program has been invaluable. “Not only did I experience the scientific rigor and critical thinking required to establish a biological assay, but I also learned the value of persevering to reach an end goal in lab.” Under Hobbs’s guidance, Chakrabarti is studying the molecular basis of heritable diseases. She has been awarded a second year of funding in the program to continue her research before returning to medical school.

“The second year will be instrumental in teaching me how to think independently about scientific questions and to bring my project to a point where it can be submitted for publication and used by other investigators. Ultimately, it will prepare me to pursue a physician-scientist training pathway after medical school and one day run a successful lab,” said Chakrabarti.

Seventeen fellows will do research in the labs of HHMI scientists, and two will spend the year with researchers at the Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia.

The HHMI Medical Research Fellows Program allows medical, dental, and veterinary students to pursue biomedical research at academic or nonprofit research institutions anywhere in the United States except the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland or other federal agencies. The fellows take a break from their medical courses, and spend the year conducting basic, translational or applied biomedical research. The program has funded more than 1,500 students since its start in 1989.

Two fellows will work with investigators at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), in Durban, South Africa, a collaborative partnership between HHMI and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. K-RITH’s mission is to conduct outstanding basic science research on tuberculosis (TB) and HIV, translate the scientific findings into new tools to control TB and HIV, and expand the educational opportunities in the region.

A record 10 fellows will be funded by HHMI Medical Fellows Program partner organizations this year: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF), the Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation (SIRF), K-RITH, and three new partners – the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), and the American Gastroenterological Association Institute (AGA).

Five students will be funded for a second year in the program including two supported by funding partners BWF and FFB.

“My experience as a medical fellow has solidified my desire to become a physician-scientist at the forefront of discovering and implementing new strategies for treating cancer,” said Nan Guo, a year-long medical fellow in Irving Weissman’s lab at Stanford University School of Medicine. She also plans to continue her research for a second year.

“The Weissman lab is currently in the process of initiating the very first in human clinical trials for CD47/SIRPalpha targeting agents, and an extra year would give me the rare and invaluable opportunity to participate in this process. I also hope to advance and expand upon my own work in exploring a new class of agents against cancer,” said Guo.

First-year medical, dental, and veterinary students had an opportunity to apply for the Summer Medical Fellows Program, an initiative developed by HHMI two years ago. Fifty-two students applied for the summer program this year, and 36 were selected. They will spend 8-10 weeks conducting research in HHMI labs at 24 fellowship institutions across the country. The goal of the program is to encourage the students to continue in research, including applying for the year-long Medical Fellows Program.

HHMI investigator David Ginsburg will mentor a summer medical fellow at the University of Michigan.

“As a physician scientist myself, I feel an obligation to training the next generation, particularly at a time when fewer and fewer physicians are maintaining a connection to the lab,” he said.

2014-2015 Medical Research Fellows

Name, Fellowship Institution, School

Kareem Alazem
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Leonel Ampie
Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Medical Center
Georgetown University School of Medicine

Adrian Au
Funder: FFB
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Evan Bander
Weill Cornell Medical College
Weill Cornell Medical College

Geetha Bhagavatula
University of Washington
George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

John Bui
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Brandyn Castro
University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine

Angela Chang
California Institute of Technology
University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

Lucy Cheng
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine

Christopher Clark
Harvard Medical School
Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Benjamin Cocanougher
Janelia Farm Research Campus
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Fernanda Delgado
Harvard Medical School University of Washington School of Medicine

Tru-Khang Dinh
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School

Harib Ezaldein
Yale School of Medicine
Yale School of Medicine

Christopher Fan
Harvard Medical School
Duke University School of Medicine

Peter Finin
Funder: K-RITH
K-RITH University of Michigan Medical School

David Fischer
Funder: PDF
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School

Megan Garland
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine

Philip Gastrell
Duke University School of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine

Benson George
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine

Jacob Goldberg
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Lauren Griggs
Funder: BWF
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Allison Hamilos
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School

David Huang
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

George Huang
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School

Michael Hughes
Baylor College of Medicine
University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Syed Khalid
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Sattar Khoshkhoo
Funder: CURE
University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine

Jennifer Kim
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Young Jin Kim
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Stony Brook University School of Medicine

Adam Kundishora
Funder: CURE
Yale School of Medicine
Yale School of Medicine

Jacob Kushkuley
University of Massachusetts Medical School
University of Massachusetts Medical School

Vinicius Ladeira Craveiro
Funder: OREF
Hospital for Special Surgery
Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine

Young Lee
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Ann Liu
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Wake Forest School of Medicine of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Shawn Loder
University of Michigan Medical School
University of Michigan Medical School

Elizabeth Mathieu
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Raaj Mehta
Funder: AGA
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School

Clinton Morgan
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Brian Nuyen
University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine

Daniel Oh
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School

Michael Oh
Yale School of Medicine
Yale School of Medicine

Patricia Ojeda
The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine

Ryan Park
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School

Kunal Patel
University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
Weill Cornell Medical College

Mira Patel
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Stephanie Patterson
Duke University School of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine

Daniel Pipilas
Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Avanthi Raghavan
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School

Katherine Ransohoff
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine

Anne Rohlfing
Duke University School of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine

Zahra Sayyid
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine

Udit Singhal
University of Michigan Medical School
Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine

Jeffrey SoRelle
University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Jessica St. Laurent
University of Washington
Tufts University School of Medicine

Tin-Yun Tang
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

Montreh Tavakkoli
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Madina Tugizova
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine

Chioma Udemgba
Duke University School of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine

Aaron Vassall
Yale School of Medicine
Yale School of Medicine

Erik Velez
Funder: SIRF
Harvard Medical School
University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine

Qing Yu Weng
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School

Danielle Wickman
K-RITH
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Julia Wiedmeier
Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine
University of Utah School of Medicine

Nasser Yaghi
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine

Wai-Ying Yau
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Zachary Yochum
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Hosniya Zarabi
Janelia Farm Research Campus
Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Andrew Zheng
Funder: FFB
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Jeffrey Zimering
Harvard Medical School
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

2013-2014 Medical Research Fellows funded for a second year in the program

Name, Fellowship Institution, School

Katie Anderson
Funder: BWF
University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

Rima Chakrabarti
University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Erika Ellis
Funder: FFB
Janelia Farm Research Campus
University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine

Nan Guo
Stanford University School of Medicine
University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Jong Park
Harvard Medical School
Duke University School of Medicine

Source Date: Apr 23 2014
Source Publication: Newswise
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