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Medical, Dental, Veterinary Students Will Spend Year Doing Career-Changing Research

Summary

This year, 116 medical, dental, and veterinary students from 47 schools across the country will take a break from memorizing molecular metabolism and studying drug interactions to spend a year in a lab doing hands-on research.

This year, 116 medical, dental, and veterinary students from 47 schools across the country will take a break from memorizing molecular metabolism and studying drug interactions to spend a year in a lab doing hands-on research. The break from regular coursework, funded through a $4 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) initiative, is intended to give students an opportunity to immerse themselves in science and consider whether they want to pursue a career as a physician-scientist.

Nearly 500 medical students applied for the research year through the HHMI-National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Research Scholars and HHMI Medical Research Fellows programs. Both efforts seek to strengthen and expand the pool of medically-trained researchers.

We want medical, dental, and veterinary students to become immersed in the life of academic science for at least a year. And we hope they get so engaged in the process and life of scientific research that they will decide to continue it for the rest of their lives.

Peter J. Bruns

“We want medical, dental, and veterinary students to become immersed in the life of academic science for at least a year. And we hope they get so engaged in the process and life of scientific research that they will decide to continue it for the rest of their lives,” says Peter Bruns, HHMI’s vice president for grants and special programs. “We need more doctors who do basic research to improve human health.”

As part of its commitment to fostering the translation of basic research discoveries into improved diagnoses and treatments, HHMI has developed a range of programs to nurture the careers of researchers who bridge the gap between clinical medicine and basic science. In addition to the programs for medical students, the Institute supports medical training for Ph.D. students in the basic sciences and has made specific efforts to fund top physician-scientists as HHMI investigators.

The medical research scholars and fellows programs are open to medical, dental, and veterinary students enrolled in U.S. schools. Most have completed the second or third year of their professional program when they spend a year working in a lab either at the NIH or at an academic medical center or research university they select. During the last 25 years, more than 2,100 students have participated.

“We’re excited about the continued growth of interest in these programs,” says William Galey, director of HHMI’s graduate and medical education programs. “This shows that more and more of these students value biomedical research and want a chance to work in the lab full-time.”

HHMI Medical Research Fellows

The HHMI Medical Research Fellowships 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. Each student submits a research plan to work in a specific lab with a mentor they have identified. Since 1989, about 1,200 students have participated.

This year, 74 students from 26 medical schools and two veterinary schools were chosen as fellows from a pool of 274—the largest number of applicants in the history of the program. While most students elect to stay at their home institution to do their research, this year 17 fellows will work in labs at a different school. Their research topics include schizophrenia, wound healing, organ development, and many other important biological questions.

To expand the program, HHMI has entered into partnerships with three foundations that will fund students who have specific research interests. For the first time, HHMI is collaborating with the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF, www.bwfund.org) to support two veterinary students who are doing biomedical research. BWF has a longstanding interest in training scientists who can work on diseases that affect many species. This is the first time that veterinary students have been selected as HHMI-BWF fellows.

“BWF and HHMI have established ties to the academic veterinary medicine community and to veterinarians within the human-oriented research community,” says Victoria McGovern, a senior program officer at BWF. “Our support of the HHMI-BWF fellows underscores the important role that colleges of veterinary medicine have in training students who will be important to the future of human health research.”

The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB, www.FightBlindness.org) is funding a medical student who is conducting research on the causes of age-related macular degeneration. FFB supports research that will lead to preventions, treatments, and cures for degenerative diseases of the retina, and this is the first year it has collaborated with HHMI to support student research.

"For the advancement of vision-saving treatments, 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 cures for all diseases, and we need to provide the incentives and training that will encourage young doctors to follow a research-oriented career path."

HHMI is also expanding its partnership with the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation (www.ivyfoundation.org) to support five HHMI-Ivy fellows who are doing research on glioma, a deadly and incurable brain cancer. Last year, there were four HHMI-Ivy fellows. The Ivy Foundation is focused on developing better diagnostics and treatments for patients with gliomas.

“These partnerships allow foundations to support top students doing research in their area of interest,” Galey said. “This is an importance chance to expand the fellows program, and we hope more organizations will join us as partners.”

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.

Students selected as research scholars often enter the program with only a general idea of what type of research they would like to do. As soon as they are accepted, they begin researching the more than 1,100 laboratories at NIH. They meet with a number potential mentors before finalizing 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.

This year, 42 students from 28 medical schools and one veterinary school were chosen as research scholars. More than 200 students from 93 schools applied.

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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

2010-2011 HHMI-NIH Research Scholars
Name School
Isaac Abecassis Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine
Leonardo Aliaga The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
Aaron Besterman New York Medical College
Swaroop Bommareddi University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
Chad Burk Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine
Bharat Burman Tufts University School of Medicine
Elise Cheng School of Medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center
Donelle Cummings Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Matthew Dallos Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine
Chandan Das University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Jake Decker Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Matthew Desmond David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Michael Erkkinen Dartmouth Medical School
Daniel Faden Boston University School of Medicine
Farhoud Faraji Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Rashidah Green Howard University College of Medicine
Rachael Grodick School of Medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center
Tracy Hadnott Duke University School of Medicine
Aditya Halthore Dartmouth Medical School
Jacqueline Herold Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Amanda Herzog University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Stephanie Histed David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Maanasa Indaram Duke University School of Medicine
Rajiv Iyer New York University School of Medicine
Grace Kim Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Wei-Chu Lai New York University School of Medicine
Cecilia Larocca Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Philip Lim University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey—New Jersey Medical School
Fan Liu University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Andrew McClary Tulane University School of Medicine
Amirali Modir Shanechi Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Christopher Morrison David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Samuel Myerowitz-Vanderhoek Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Quang Nguyen University of Virginia School of Medicine
Toral Parikh University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
Ralph Peace North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Sonya Purushothaman Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
Sneha Ramakrishna Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Aliye Runyan University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
Philip Schmalz Tulane University School of Medicine
Angela Shih Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Carol Yan University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

2010-2011 Medical Research Fellows
Name School Fellowship Institution
Shah Ali Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Allireza Alloo Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Yi An Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Elisa Aquilanti* Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University Harvard Medical School
Arinola Awomolo University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine
Xue Bai Duke University School of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine
Tatianna Bartch University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine Harvard Medical School
Samhita Bhargava University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Clifton Brock University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
Ethan Brown Weill Cornell Medical College University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Miguel Cabarrus University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Edmond Chan University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Harvard Medical School
Linda Chen* Duke University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Evelyn Cheung Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Sheena Chew Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Alan Chu University of Michigan Medical School University of Michigan Medical School
Kerry Colby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine
Karen Condon University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Kathleen Cook New York University School of Medicine Rockefeller University
Margaret Cooke University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Avraham Cooper Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Michael Coulter Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Leah Couture University of Maryland School of Medicine University of Maryland School of Medicine
Ilka Decker Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Nicholas Dewyer University of Michigan Medical School University of Michigan Medical School
Daniel Duncan Yale School of Medicine Yale School of Medicine
Heng Duong Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Ashraf El Naga University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Annie Fang University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Deepa Galaiya Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Erin Gillespie University of Michigan Medical School University of Michigan Medical School
Adam Gomez Baylor College of Medicine Baylor College of Medicine
Adele Goodloe Mayo Medical School Mayo Medical School
Kimberly Kanada University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
Gurvinder Kaur* University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Kathryn Kemere University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Anna Krawisz Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Jared Kushner Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeonse
Hanhan Li Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
David Lin Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
James Liu New York University School of Medicine New York University School of Medicine
Benjamin Lok New York University School of Medicine Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Benjamin Macadangdang Duke University School of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Nina Mann Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School
Christine McMahon Duke University School of Medicine Harvard Medical School
Melanie McNally Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Keshav Menon Indiana University School of Medicine Indiana University School of Medicine
Onyedika Moghalu Howard University College of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Camilo Molina Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Laura Navarro Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Connor O'Brien Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Philip Pauerstein Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Courtney Pendleton* Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Edward Pham Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine
Kris Prado University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
Giulio Quarta New York University School of Medicine New York University
Ori Rackovsky Mount Sinai School of Medicine M

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