Summary

Sixty-six medical and veterinary students from 34 schools across the nation will spend a full year of mentored biomedical research training as fellows in HHMI's Medical Research Fellows Program.

Highlights

  • The $3 million annual initiative is designed to develop the next generation of physician-scientists in the United States.
  • Thirteen fellows from the 2015 class will be supported by HHMI for an additional year, making it the largest class of second-year fellows in the program’s history.
  • The program has funded more than 1,700 students since HHMI launched it in 1989.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded fellowships to 66 medical and veterinary students that will allow them to spend a year in a laboratory working on a research project that each student proposed. The new medical fellows come from 34 schools across the United States and are supported by the HHMI Medical Research Fellows Program, a $3 million annual initiative designed to develop the next generation of physician-scientists in the United States.   

This engagement is perhaps the best way for talented students at this stage in their training to understand the powerful opportunity that emerges at the intersection of medicine and laboratory research.

David J. Asai

“The HHMI Med Fellows Program is one of the few in the nation that enables MD and DVM students to engage in very high quality research for an entire year,” said David J. Asai, senior director in science education at HHMI.

“This engagement is perhaps the best way for talented students at this stage in their training to understand the powerful opportunity that emerges at the intersection of medicine and laboratory research.  We hope that each of the Med Fellows seriously considers pursuing a career as a physician-scientist,” Asai said. 

The fellowships permit the students to take a break from their medical and veterinary school courses, and spend the year conducting basic, translational or applied 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 students applied with mentors of their choice, and submitted a research proposal. Nineteen fellows will do research in the labs of HHMI scientists, including two who will work with researchers at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia.

Each medical fellow receives $41,000 in grant support, and fellows are eligible to apply for a second year in the program. This year, 13 fellows from the 2015 class will be supported by HHMI for an additional year, making it the largest class of second-year fellows in the program’s history. The program usually averages six second-year fellows per year.

Jacob Basham, a medical student from the University of Tennessee, is a second-year fellow from the class of 2015. He spent last year conducting research on tumor immunology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“My first fellowship year showed me not only the practical and technical aspects of planning and performing complex experiments, but also how my chosen field moves as papers are published revealing new information,” he said. “I gained a true appreciation for thinking long-term about a project and how to adapt as new data was gathered.”

Basham decided to postpone his return to medical school, and will continue on for a second year of laboratory research at St. Jude.

“The single most important thing for me when I was considering the second year was what I would eventually be doing someday as a principal investigator. I wanted the opportunity to see the full cycle of scientific research - from conception to publication,” said Basham.

“This second year will allow me to expand on my current data, gather new technical skills, paint a more clear picture of the phenomena I am observing in the lab, and bring it all together as a contribution to the biomedical community in the form of a publication.”

Patrice Witschen, a fellow at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, will also stay on for a second year in the program.

“After graduating from veterinary school, I would like to enter either a veterinary pathology or oncology residency program,” she said.

“A second year of research training will prepare me for the required research projects within these programs and will allow me to integrate research more seamlessly into my future career as a clinician-scientist. Because I came into this program with little research training, I feel that a second year of research will be instrumental as I develop my career path.”

The group of second-year fellows also includes a student who will be spending an additional fellowship year at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), an independent research institute established in Durban, South Africa through the collaborative efforts of HHMI and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. 

Six fellows in this year’s class of 66 initial awardees will be supported by HHMI’s funding partners: Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF), Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), the Duchenne Research Fund (DRF), and the Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation (SIRF).

The program has funded more than 1,700 students since its launch in 1989, and is one of the few privately funded programs in the nation that sponsor year-long fellowships for medical, dental and veterinary students. HHMI received 195 applications for this year’s program, up from 187 in the previous year.

20162017 Medical Research Fellows

Name Fellowship Institution School
Melissa Abel Duke University School of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine
Hena Ahmed Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
John Andrews
Funder: CURE
Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Thomas Binns Janelia Research Campus University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine
Jae Eun Choi University of Michigan Medical School University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
Megan Clark
Funder: BWF
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Joseph Dardick Albert Einstein College of Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Joanna Dong Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Teresa Easwaran Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Indiana University School of Medicine
Gabriel Friedman Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Gunsagar Gulati Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Nicholai Henry Harvard Medical School Morehouse School of Medicine
Daniel Hettel Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Daniel Hoffman University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Melody Hu Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Momodou Jammeh Duke University School of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine
Samuel Jang University of Alabama School of Medicine University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Adam Johnson Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Weill Cornell Medical College
Angad Jolly Baylor College of Medicine Baylor College of Medicine
Theodora Karagounis Rockefeller University Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Pooja Karukonda University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Ahmed Kashkoush University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Ryan Kiefer
Funder: SIRF
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Alexander Kokini Jackson Laboratory Indiana University School of Medicine
Benjamin Kress University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry State University of New York Upstate Medical University
Maria Kryatova Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Tambudzai Kudze Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Chiraag Kulkarni Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine
Jerry Lee Harvard Medical School Duke University School of Medicine
Erik Levinsohn Harvard Medical School Yale School of Medicine
Spencer Lewis University of Michigan Medical School University of Michigan Medical School
Laura Lu Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Richard Maduka Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Thiagarajan Meyyappan University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Diana Miao Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Mark Michael Rice University Baylor College of Medicine
Julio Montejo Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Nathanael Moore Harvard Medical School Indiana University School of Medicine
Christopher Moutos Salk Institute for Biological Studies University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine
Andrej Nedic University of Michigan Medical School Wayne State University School of Medicine
Gabriel Neves Duke University School of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine
Anthony Nguyen Duke University School of Medicine Tufts University School of Medicine
Neal Nolan Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Rebekah Packer
Funder: BWF
University of California-Berkeley University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine
Fatemeh Parvin-Nejad Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Julia Ransohoff Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Mondira Ray Carnegie Mellon University University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
James Reed Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Ashley Riley Stanford University School of Medicine Indiana University School of Medicine
Tolulope Rosanwo Harvard Medical School Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Yohei Rosen University of California-Santa Cruz New York University School of Medicine
Andrew Sohn Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
Anne Song Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Matthew Stern
Funder: CURE
Emory University School of Medicine Emory University School of Medicine
Rukayat Taiwo Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Rohit Thummalapalli Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Anthony Tran Harvard Medical School Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
Wai Lok Tsang University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Travis Urban University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of Texas Medical Branch
Kathy Wang
Funder: DRF
Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Kathy Williams Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Chung-an Wu University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Danwei Wu Duke University School of Medicine University of Central Florida College of Medicine
Jason Ya Stanford University School of Medicine Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Hui Yang Janelia Research Campus Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Xiaojie Zhang Duke University School of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine

2015–2016 Medical Research Fellows funded for a second year in the program

Name Fellowship Institution School
Sriram Anbil Harvard Medical School University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Jacob Basham St. Jude Children's Research Hospital University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine
Charles Dai Cleveland Clinic Foundation Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Kow Essuman Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Chelsea Feldman Duke University School of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine
John Huizar University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Terrence Jones KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine
Tolani Olonisakin University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Thomas Pak University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
Joseph Park Harvard Medical School Boston University School of Medicine
Niema Razavian University of Michigan Medical School University at Buffalo, State University of New York School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Ashan Veerakumar Emory University School of Medicine University of Maryland School of Medicine
Patrice Witschen University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

For More Information

Jim Keeley 301.215.8858 keeleyj@hhmi.org