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

Article ID: 616828

Released: 22-Apr-2014 11:00 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Newswise — 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 AuFunder: FFBCleveland 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 FininFunder: K-RITHK-RITH University of Michigan Medical School

David FischerFunder: PDFHarvard 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 GriggsFunder: BWFUniversity 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 KhoshkhooFunder: CUREUniversity 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 KundishoraFunder: CUREYale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine

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

Vinicius Ladeira CraveiroFunder: OREFHospital 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 MehtaFunder: AGAHarvard 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 VelezFunder: SIRFHarvard 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 ScienceAndrew ZhengFunder: FFBColumbia 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 AndersonFunder: 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 EllisFunder: 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


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