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Fellowships Encourage Medical, Dental, Veterinary Students to Enter Research Careers

Summary

Medical, dental, and veterinary students from 47 schools will be diving into intensive, HHMI-sponsored research experiences this summer at top research centers across the country.

Rather than traveling or volunteering this summer, 114 medical, dental, and veterinary students from 47 schools will be diving into intensive, research experiences at top research centers across the country sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

The students in HHMI’s Medical Research Fellows and HHMI-National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Scholars programs will spend a year tackling challenging research problems in the laboratories of research scientists at the NIH and across the country.

The two medical education programs, which are part of a $4 million annual HHMI initiative, are designed to encourage a greater number of medically-trained students to become physician-scientists. This is accomplished by giving them a year away from their medical courses and clinical rotations to do laboratory research. “These programs have been shown to have a measurable impact on students’ decisions to enter a research-oriented medical career,” says Sean B. Carroll, HHMI’s vice president for science education.

For the first time, three students in the Fellows program will work with scientists at HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, focusing on basic neuroscience research and development of new imaging technologies. These students will live on the Janelia Farm campus and work on projects ranging from the neural basis of courtship songs of the fruit fly to developing novel fluorescent probes that can be used in super-resolution optical imaging. “We don’t often get researchers with a medical background at Janelia Farm, and we think this is a good opportunity to expand our interdisciplinary focus,” says Kevin Moses, Janelia’s chief academic officer. “We’re excited to have these promising students here.”

The med fellows and scholars programs are part of HHMI’s larger effort to nurture the careers of scientists who bridge the gap between clinical medicine and basic research. In addition to the programs for medical students, the Institute supports medical training for Ph.D. students in the basic sciences and has made efforts to fund top physician-scientists as HHMI investigators.

The Fellows and Scholars programs are open to medical, dental, and veterinary students enrolled in schools in the U.S. Most have completed the second or third year of their professional education when they spend a year working in a laboratory at the NIH, an academic medical center or research university. During the last 25 years, more than 2,300 students have participated.

“We continue to get four or five applicants for every position, which tells us that these programs are providing a valuable experience for medical, veterinary, and dental students who are considering research as a career,” says William Galey, director of HHMI’s graduate and medical education programs. “And we think these programs represent an important effort in stimulating more physicians to enter academic medicine.”

HHMI Medical Research Fellows

The HHMI Medical Research Fellows Program allows medical, dental, and veterinary students to pursue biomedical research at a laboratory anywhere in the United States except the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Each student submits a research plan to work in a specific lab with a mentor they have identified.

This year, 72 students from 30 medical schools were chosen as fellows from a pool of 244 applicants. Traditionally fellows choose to do research at their home institution, but this year 18 fellows will work in laboratories at a different school. Their research topics include hard-to-treat cancers, infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, and other important biological problems. Ten students will be working in the laboratories of HHMI investigators, early career scientists, and physician scientist early career awardees.

To expand the program, HHMI has entered into partnerships with several foundations that fund students who have specific research interests. This year, the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB, www.FightBlindness.org) is funding three medical students who are conducting research on causes and therapeutic approaches related to age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt disease. FFB supports research that will lead to preventions, treatments, and cures for degenerative diseases of the retina, and this is the second year it has collaborated with HHMI to support student research.

“For the advancement of vision-saving treatments from the lab to the clinic, it is essential that we provide research experience for up and coming physicians,” says Stephen Rose, chief research officer at FFB. “Clinical research is critical to the development of treatments and cures for all diseases, and we need to provide the support incentives and training that will encourage young doctors to follow a research-oriented career path to become the next generation of rare, inherited retinal degeneration specialists who will continue to fight these sight-robbing conditions.”

HHMI also has partnerships with the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to support fellowships for veterinary students and the GM Trust to fund students studying Duchenne muscular dystrophy, though neither funded students this year. A new partnership with the Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation will fund up to one medical student next year to conduct preclinical research in interventional radiology.

“We are excited to expand the fellows program by partnering with organizations that have the same goal: creating more physician scientists,” Carroll says. “We look forward to creating partnerships with more organizations in the future.”

HHMI-NIH Research Scholars

The HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program was established in 1985 to encourage medical students to pursue research by allowing them to take a year off from their medical studies. The program has since been expanded to include dental and veterinary students. It has enabled about 1,000 students to work in NIH labs.

This year, 42 students from 38 medical schools, two veterinary schools, and two dental schools were chosen as research scholars. More than 175 students applied.

Students selected as research scholars have to identify candidates they are interested in working with from the pool of 11,000 potential NIH mentors, but they do not choose their particular research topic until after they are accepted. After they come to the NIH, the students finalize which project to pursue under the guidance of their NIH advisor and HHMI’s staff. The students are sometimes called “cloister scholars” because they live in apartments or dorm-style rooms in a refurbished cloister on the NIH campus in Bethesda.

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The Howard Hughes Medical Institute plays a powerful role in advancing scientific research and education in the United States. Its scientists, located across the country and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and our fundamental understanding of biology. The Institute also aims to transform science education into a creative, interdisciplinary endeavor that reflects the excitement of real research. For more information, visit www.hhmi.org

2011-2012 Medical Research Scholars
Name School
Vinita Alexander University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Monique Anderson University of Virginia School of Medicine
Swathi Appachi Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
William Arscott University of Vermont College of Medicine
Erica Braverman The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Vivek Buch The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Benjamin Chaon University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
Viola Chen Georgetown University School of Medicine
Jason Cho State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine
Lucy Chow David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
David Clever Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health
Esmaeel Dadashzadeh Wayne State University School of Medicine
Brennan Decker Medical College of Wisconsin
Lynn Frydrych University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Dennis Hsu Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Emory Hsu Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Blake Jones Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Alexander Kotlyar Dartmouth Medical School
Ashley Lawler University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
Evan Lebovitz Dartmouth Medical School
Janet Lee Duke University School of Medicine
Talya Lepow University of Arizona College of Medicine
Kabir Matharu University of California, Davis, School of Medicine
Nino Mihatov Duke University School of Medicine
James Morrow Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Seung Ha (Anna) Nam University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine
Cecilia Ong Duke University School of Medicine
Stanley Park Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health
Talia Rosenberg Yale University School of Medicine
Grace Shih Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Adrienne Smith Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine
Robert Sonn State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine
Paul Su Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Ashley Talley Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Alison Tarbell University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine
Amiko Uchida University of Utah School of Medicine
Vadim Villarroel Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Alanna Windsor Harvard Medical School
Lindsey Wu Duke University School of Medicine
Donald Ye Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Hesham Zakaria George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Kreshnik Zejnullahu University of Massachusetts Medical School

2011-2012 Medical Research Fellows
Name School Fellowship Institution
Ameer Abutaleb University of Maryland School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Marcus Alexander Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Mohammed Aslam University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine
Dana Balitzer University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
Jacob Berchuck* Duke University School of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine
Sharath Bhagavatula New York University School of Medicine New York University School of Medicine
Sarah Bourne Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Harvard Medical School
Matthew Britton Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science Janelia Farm Research Campus
Samuel Brondfield University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Antonios Charokopos Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Ayan Chatterjee University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Harvard Medical School
YunXiang Chu Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Julien Cobert Duke University School of Medicine Harvard Medical School
Roxana Daneshjou Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Scott DeRoo University of Michigan Medical School University of Michigan Medical School
Christine Eckhardt Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Lilangi Ediriwickrema* Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Patrick Emelife University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Adam Forshaw University of New Mexico School of Medicine University of New Mexico School of Medicine
Jeffrey Futterleib Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Brandon Gardner The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
Yaroslav Gelfand Weill Cornell Medical College Weill Cornell Medical College
William Gostic Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Matthew Grosso Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University Hospital for Special Surgery
Eugene Gu Duke University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Clayton Haldeman Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Frank Hebroni David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Moira Hilscher Mount Sinai School of Medicine Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Benjamin Himes Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Grace Hsieh Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Antony Hsieh Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas/Southwestern Medical School
Christopher Jackson Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Arman Jahangiri University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas/Southwestern Medical School University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Deeptee Jain Duke University School of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine
Tom Ju University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas/Southwestern Medical School University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas/Southwestern Medical School
Brian Kalish Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Sophia Kamran Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Kai Kang Weill Cornell Medical College Weill Cornell Medical College
Vivek Kanumuri University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Jesse Karmazin Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Jerard Kneifati-Hayek Weill Cornell Medical College Hospital for Special Surgery
Martin Krupa* University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
Wen-Shin Lee Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Alexandra Livanos New York University School of Medicine New York University School of Medicine
Christopher Lord University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Preethi Mani Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Joel Martin Duke University School of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine
Michael (Tre) Martyn Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Alexander Marzuka Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Akshitkumar Mistry Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Shane Morrison Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Carson Moseley University of Alabama School of Medicine University of Alabama School of Medicine
Laura Ostapenko Dartmouth Medical School Harvard University School of Public Health
Joseph Oved New York University School of Medicine New York University School of Medicine
Alec Palmerton Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Babita Panigrahi Yale School of Medicine Janelia Farm Research Campus
Samira Rathnayake University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine

For More Information

Jim Keeley
[ 301-215-8858 ]
Cindy Fox Aisen
[ 317-843-2276 ]