Research Days Showcase ‘Breadth and Depth’ of Student Endeavors

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A GW SMHS student presenting their poster

On the second day of the 22nd annual GW Research Days, School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) students had a chance to show off their work outside the classroom to their peers and the SMHS community.

“That’s the fun part [of Research Days],” second-year M.D. student Sharjeel Chaudhry said of seeing his classmates’ research projects. “It’s a great way to make a new connection, just from understanding someone’s research and talking with them about it.”

As the first-place winner of the William H. Beaumont Research Award, Chaudhry presented his research, “Protecting the Endothelium from Thromboinflammatory Injury Using Parmodulins,” at the April 5 event.

The new tradition began last year when the editors of Fusion, the William H. Beaumont Medical Research Honor Society’s student-led publication, decided to give students the opportunity to present their research. This year’s Fusion was bigger than ever before, featuring more than 30 abstracts.  

First-year M.D. student Brendan Campbell, who earned the second-place award for his research on hepatitis C screening and testing at community-based safety-net hospitals, echoed Chaudhry on the excitement of seeing his colleagues’ work.

“A lot of my peers … do so much outside of the classroom and bring so many different experiences to medical school, so it’s great to see what they are doing,” Campbell said. “Learning about different people’s research and what they are involved in gives you a good sense of how our education is being applied.”

Fellow first-year Lauren Jacobs received third place in the award competition for her research project “Germline ETV6 Mutations Confer Susceptibility to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Thrombocytopenia.”

In his welcoming remarks, Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, RESD ’85, vice president for health affairs at GW, Walter A. Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine, and dean of SMHS, spoke highly of the students’ dedication.

“That’s what today’s about. It’s highlighting the breadth and depth of research, the creative scholarship that takes place here at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and at the university,” he said.

The morning sessions included a keynote address by Christopher Plowe, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Institute for Global Health at Maryland School of Medicine, associate director of the division of malarial research at the Institute for Global Health, and Frank M. Calia, M.D., Professor of Medicine.

Plowe, whose research centers on the molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant malaria, took the audience through the efforts to eradicate the disease.

In addition, more than 200 SMHS students and 20 GW Institute for Biomedical Sciences students presented posters at the event. Topics this year included improving doctor-patient communication, demyelination in the nervous system, and commonly missed diseases.

At the end of each day of the event, awards were given out for the poster and presentation competitions.

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