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Research conducted by medical students recognized at events

Mar. 8, 2018, 9:22 AM


Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Meharry Medical College and Tennessee State University Cancer Partnership recently hosted the 2018 annual retreat and poster contest, “Health Disparities in Cancer Immunology & Immune Therapy.”

The one-day event was held at Meharry and included a welcome by Samuel Adunyah, PhD, professor and chair of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology at Meharry, and guest speakers who covered topics including cancer immunotherapy, the inflammatory role of salt in the breast tumor microenvironment, navigating immunotherapy toxicities and metabolism in the tumor microenvironment, and immunity to cancer: the possible role in health disparities.

Hal Moses, MD, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and director emeritus of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and Phil Lammers, MD, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, Meharry, introduced the Dr. Philip Browning Memorial Lecturer, Olalekan Oluwole, MBBS, MPH, assistant professor of Medicine.

Three students received awards at the poster session. Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) third-year graduate student David Elion was awarded first place for graduate student posters. Elion’s mentor is Rebecca Cook, PhD, assistant professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Bryon Young from TSU was awarded second place for undergraduate posters. His mentor is Rachelle Johnson, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology. Hitesh Vaishnav, also a TSU undergraduate, won the best overall poster at the retreat. His mentors are Julie Sterling, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, and Kristen Kwakwa, a fourth-year IMSD student.

Additionally, two Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) students were recognized at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2017 in San Diego. The conference includes three sections for student research: basic science, clinical research, and educational, innovation or outcomes research.

Each of the three sections has a first and second place winner. This year two VUSM students placed in the research competition.

Fourth-year student David Stonko received first place in the educational, innovation and outcomes research category for his work, “The Temporal Distribution of Trauma: Informing a Prediction Model Using Artificial Intelligence.” His principal investigator is Oscar Guillamondegui, MD, MPH, professor of Surgery.

Aaron Lim, an MD/PhD candidate, won second place in the basic science category for his research on “Renal Cell Carcinoma Exosomes Contain Immunosuppressive Cargo.” His principal investigators are Alissa Weaver, MD, PhD, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and Pathology Microbiology and Immunology, and W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, Cornelius A. Craig Professor of Medicine.

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