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Medical students’ research highlighted at symposium

Feb. 6, 2020, 12:03 PM

Lorraine Ware, MD, left, with VUSM Medical Scholars Program students (front row, from left) Alex Lopez, Stephanie Hadley, Henry Quach, (back row, from left) Anne Sun Lowery, Carlson Keller and Claire Lo. (photo by Erin Smith)

by Kathy Whitney

The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) Medical Scholars Research Symposium was held Feb. 3 and highlighted the work of eight medical students who spent the 2018-2019 academic year immersed in research under the guidance of faculty mentors.

The Medical Scholars Program (MSP) is a one-year, in-depth research experience available to VUSM and Meharry Medical College students with the central goal of training leaders in academic medicine, ultimately strengthening and expanding the nation’s pool of medically trained researchers.

The MSP began in 1998 with five students and has now funded more than 150 students. Lorraine Ware, MD, professor of Medicine and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, has served as the director of the MSP since 2012.

“The Vanderbilt Medical Scholars Program has allowed me the opportunity to strengthen my research skills so that I can become a successful physician-researcher and share my novel research findings at international conferences,” said Meharry medical student Alex Lopez.

The students who participated in MSP for 2018-2019 and showcased their work at the Symposium include:

  •  VUSM student Rohini Chakravarthy and mentors Sarah Stallings, PhD, research assistant professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, VUMC; Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance team; “Determinants of Stage at Diagnosis of HPV-Related Cancers”
  •  Meharry student Frederick Grady and mentor Joseph Woo, MD, professor and chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Stanford University; “Neuregulin-1 Promotes Cardiomyocyte Survival and Proliferation Under In Vitro Conditions of Hypoxic Diabetic Stress”
  •  VUSM student Stephanie Hadley and mentor Joan Sanchez de Toledo, MD, PhD, chair of Pediatric Cardiology and clinical director of the Pediatric Cardiac ICU at San Joan de Déu Barcelona Children’s Hospital; “Oxidative Stress and Indicators of Brain Damage in Infants Undergoing Cardiac Surgery”
  •  Meharry student Carlson Keller and mentor Shay Soker, PhD, professor, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine; “A 3D Organoid Model for Hepatic Fibrosis”
  •  VUSM student Claire Lo and mentors Brent Rexer, MD, PhD (primary), assistant professor of Medicine, VUMC; Keith Meador, MD, ThM, MPH, professor of Psychiatry, Religion, and Health Policy, VUMC; John Compton, MDiv, program director of Rooted Community Health; “Investigating the Effects of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Dietary Intervention on Skin Carotenoids and Sustainable Behavioral Change: A Pilot Study”
  •  Meharry student Alexander Lopez and mentors Daniel O. Claassen, MD, MS, associate professor of Neurology, VUMC; and the lab of Dario Englot, MD, PhD, VUMC; “Sensorimotor Cerebellum: Clinical Symptoms in Parkinson’s disease and Essential Tremor”
  •  VUSM student Henry Quach (CTSA) and mentor Douglas Johnson, MD, MSCI, assistant professor of Medicine of Hematology/Oncology, VUMC; “Correlating Cutaneous Toxicities with Outcomes of Anti-PD-1 Therapy for Advanced Melanoma”
  •  VUSM student Anne Sun Lowery and mentors Alexander Gelbard, MD, associate professor of Otolaryngology, VUMC; Chevis Shannon, MBA, MPH, DrPH, research professor of Neurological Surgery, VUMC; “Early Medical Therapy for Post-Intubation Acute Laryngeal Injury (ALgI): A Prospective Single Center Randomized Control Trial”
  •  “I am so incredibly thankful for my mentors, who generously lent me their time to help me build on my clinical research skills and patiently guided me as I explored my curiosities,” Lowery said.

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