MD Student Sarah Millan Earns 2019 Diversity Research Supplement Award
Congratulations to George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) first-year MD student Sarah Millan for receiving the Dermatology Foundation’s 2019 Diversity Research Supplement Award, which will allow her to spend her summer conducting research on squamous cell carcinoma.
Millan will work on a research project titled “Targeting p38 Isoforms to Inhibit Growth and Invasion, and to Overcome Therapy Resistance in Human Malignant Squamous Cell Carcinoma” with Adam Friedman, MD, interim chair of the SMHS Department of Dermatology and professor of dermatology, and Tatiana Efimova, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology.
After attending lectures by Friedman, Millan said she became very interested in dermatology and the specialty’s research opportunities.
“Previously, I hadn’t given much thought to it, but during Dr. Friedman’s lectures I realized it was an area I actually really enjoyed, and I thought spending the summer learning more about the field would allow me to see if it’s something I want to pursue,” she said.
Millan added that she has been conducting research since undergraduate school, and it’s something she wants to be part of her future. “I’ve done a lot of work in neurology and neurosurgery research, and I really wanted to try something different, so I was really excited to get the award,” she added.
For her project, Millan said she’ll be working to target cell lines in squamous cell carcinoma. “It’s the leading cause of death worldwide,” she said.
“Current therapies have limited efficacy and a lot of toxicity associated with them,” Millan added. “Some preliminary data shows that inhibiting p38 isoforms stopped the proliferation and survival invasion of the cell lines. So I’ll be conducting experiments to see if this could be a potential target that would allow for better therapy design.”
Millan said she’ll also be able to shadow Friedman during some of his daily work, including clinic, resident didactics, and attending grand rounds with him.
“He’s been so supportive,” she said. “I was so excited when I found out I got the award, and as I was getting ready to hit send on an email to him, he emailed me to congratulate me. He was really happy that I received it.”
Millan added that she can’t wait to get into the lab this summer and have the opportunity to learn and research a new field of study.