12 honored at Medical Student Research Forum

2013 Medical Student Research Forum
Dr. Rene Galindo (left) and Dr. James Malter (right) spoke at the 51st Annual Medical Student Research Forum, where students were honored for their research. Honored students included (from left) Leyya Suleman, Christopher Straka, Lan Chi Vo, Joel Sun, Sara Cooper, and Christopher Molina. (David Gresham Photo)

By Lin Lofley

Twelve UT Southwestern Medical School students recently were honored for their research at the 51st Annual Medical Student Research Forum.

Six students were selected to give oral presentations from among 93 who submitted research abstracts for review. In addition, 61 students entered posters at the poster session. The event and a reception were held Jan. 22 at the A.W. Harris Faculty and Alumni Center. A panel of judges selected the best oral presentations and the six outstanding posters. 

Guest speaker Dr. James Malter, Chair of Pathology, encouraged the students to find experienced mentors and to listen to their advice. Dr. Malter leads a 115-member faculty team in three main areas: Clinical, Surgical, and Anatomical Pathology.

“I had mentors whose advice I still recall today, many years after they helped me find myself as a pathologist and a scientist,” Dr. Malter said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without them, and I doubt many of us would be where we are today in our careers without those people.”

Dr. Rene Galindo, Associate Dean for Medical Student Research and program director for the forum, said it was refreshing to see the next generation of physician-scientists tackling such important medical issues.

“Problems that I remember discussing with colleagues and faculty as a student, but that we couldn’t yet test, are now being experimentally dissected with very exciting and promising results,” said Dr. Galindo, also Assistant Professor of Pathology, Molecular Biology, and Pediatrics.

The top two oral presenters were recognized with certificates and cash awards. These students, their topics, and their mentors were:

  • Christopher Molina, “Low Dialysate Sodium Reduces Systolic Blood Pressure in Patients with Intradialytic Hypertension.” Mentor: Dr. Julia Inrig, former Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine.
  • Leyya Suleman, “Severe Remote Burn Injury Results in Early, Elevated Markers of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Mentors: Dr. Jane Wigginton, Associate Professor of Surgery; Dr. Joshua Gatson, Assistant Professor of Surgery; Dr. Steven Wolf, Professor of Surgery; Dr. Joseph Minei, Professor of Surgery; Dr. Paul Pepe, Professor of Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics; and Dr. Ahamed Idris, Professor of Surgery and Internal Medicine.

The other oral presenters were:

  • Sara Cooper, “Evolving Characteristics of HIV Infected Pregnancies at a Single Institution.” Mentors: Dr. Robert Stewart, Assistant Instructor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Dr. Donald McIntire, Dr. Scott Roberts, and Dr. Jeanne Sheffield, all Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
  • Christopher Straka, “Parameters That Predict for High-Grade Rectal Toxicity in Prostate Cancer (Pca) Patients Undergoing Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) – Analysis of Phase I/II Study at UT Southwestern (UTSW).” Mentors: Dr. Robert Timmerman, Professor of Radiation Oncology and Neurological Surgery; and Dr. Nathan Kim, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology.
  • Joel Sun, “Folate Receptor Beta Targeting for In Vivo Optical Imaging of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.” Mentors: Dr. Jinming Gao, Professor of Pharmacology in the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Dr. Baran Sumer, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
  • Lan Chi Vo, “Neural Activity During the Stop Signal Task, a Measure of Inhibitory Control, Predicts Relapse in Cocaine-Dependent Patients.” Mentors: Dr. Bryon Adinoff, Professor of Psychiatry; Dr. Michael Devous, Professor of Radiology; and Dr. Richard Briggs, Professor of Radiology and Internal Medicine.

Poster session awards went to:

  • Keerthan Somanath, “Automated Analysis of Electroglottographic Signal in Dysphonic Speech.” Mentor: Dr. Ted Mau, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
  • Jeff SoRelle, “Searching for Genes of Host Defense.” Mentor: Dr. Bruce Beutler, Director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense.
  • Angelica McPartlin, “Voluntary Exercise Alters Adaptive Immunity Prior to Injury.” Mentor: Dr. Ann Stowe, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics.
  • Danielle Meals, “Live Imaging of Primordial Germ Cell Migration in the Zebra Fish.” Mentor: Dr. James Amatruda, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, and Molecular Biology.
  • Zainab Farzal, “Radiation Footprint on the Pediatric Patient.” Mentor: Dr. Anne Fischer, Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Cancer Immunobiology Center.
  • Laurie Seidel, “Effects of Preterm Birth on Speech and Language Acquisition in 3-year-olds.” Mentor: Dr. Debra Weinberger, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, and Pediatrics.

Dr. Adinoff holds the Distinguished Professorship in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Research. 

Dr. Amatruda holds the Nearburg Family Professorship in Pediatric Oncology Research and is a Horchow Family Scholar in Pediatrics.

Dr. Beutler holds the Raymond and Ellen Willie Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research, in Honor of Laverne and Raymond Willie, Sr., and is a Regental Professor.

Dr. Malter holds The Senator Betty and Dr. Andy Andujar Distinguished Chairmanship of Pathology.

Dr. Minei holds the C. James Carrico, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Surgery for Trauma & Critical Care. 

Dr. Pepe holds the Riggs Family Chair in Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Sheffield holds the Alvin “Bud” Brekken Professorship in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

Dr. Timmerman holds the Effie Marie Cain Distinguished Chair in Cancer Therapy Research. 

Dr. Wolf holds the Golden Charity Guild Charles R. Baxter, M.D. Chair.

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