April 18, 2008

Med students land honors from NIH

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Matthew Weinger, M.D., left, works with prospective medical student Sam Wilkinson in the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Two Vanderbilt medical students have been named Howard Hughes Medical Institute- National Institutes of Health (HHMI-NIH) Research Scholars.

Third-year students Justin Poling and Alex Ryder will head to Bethesda, Md., in July and spend 12 months conducting research under the mentorship of NIH scientists. Only 42 students are selected for the program annually.

“I plan on finding a project that continues my interest in human genetics and disease susceptibility,” Poling said. “The program will strengthen my research credentials and help me return as a stronger student and residency candidate.”

Ryder plans to pursue a career as a physician-investigator.

“I intend to locate an NIH mentor whose laboratory focuses on infectious diseases, as my current interest lies in virology,” he said. “Participating will help improve my critical thinking and research design skills.”