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SMHS Showcases Medical Student Research

More than 150 research posters covered a range of disciplines, such as basic and translational science, clinical research, health policy and public health research, and education-related research, during the first annual Medical Student Research Day, May 7. The inaugural event, distinct from the university-wide research day, offered an opportunity for medical students to highlight their breadth of research and scholarly activities. The virtual event also featured a keynote address by Judith Hochman, MD, professor of medicine and senior associate dean at the New York University Langone School of Medicine.

In her remarks, titled “The Role of Revascularization in Ischemic Heart Disease. A Career as a Clinical Trialist,” Hochman recounted her role as study chair of the ISCHEMIA trial, one of the largest studies ever funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), comprising 300 sites in 38 countries. The trial led to an improved understanding of ischemic heart disease and has the potential to improve the way the condition is treated.

“My journey [as a cardiac clinical trialist] started about four decades ago,” Hochman said. “The question we asked was whether an invasive strategy with coronary revascularization would be beneficial.

“Now we understand that proper perfusion saves lives,” she continued. “We know that an invasive strategy of revascularization reduces death or myocardial infarction in high-risk, acute coronary syndrome patients.”

Hochman added that the trial showed that cardiac procedures coupled with heart medication and lifestyle changes did not reduce the overall rate of cardiovascular death and heart attack compared with medicines and lifestyle changes alone. However, for people with chest pain symptoms, heart procedures improved symptoms better than medicines and lifestyle changes.

In the afternoon, Neil Almeida, MD ’21, received the 2021 Doris Deford Speck and George Speck, MD, Endowed Prize. Almeida, who is continuing his medical education as a neurosurgical resident at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine, is also a Class of 2021 Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) honor society inductee, a former William H. Beaumont Research Award winner, and the recipient of a competitive fellowship from the American Brain Tumor Association and the AOA Carolyn Kuckein student fellowship.

Following the presentations, the MD Student Research Showcase awardees were announced.

Donald H. Glew Prize, awarded every year to the medical student with the best overall abstract at Research Day.
Maria Abigail Cerezo, MD ’21
“Improving the Quality of Diabetes Care in a Student-Run Free Clinic”
Mentor: Maria Portela, MD, MPH, assistant professor of emergency medicine and family medicine, GW SMHS

2021 William Beaumont Research Award Winners: 

Muhammad El Shatnofy, MSII
“Variations in PIEZO1 rs62048221 Associated with Strength and Anthropometric Measures in Young Adults”
Mentor: Laura L Tosi, MD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery, and of pediatrics

Sangrag Ganguli, MSII
“Screening for Small Molecule Modulators of RIG-I and MDA5 Using a Functional and Biochemical Assay”
Mentor: Sun Hur, PhD, Oscar M. Schloss Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

Issa Ali, MSI
“Predicting Deletion of Chromosomal Arms 1p/19q in Low-Grade Gliomas from MR Images Using Machine Intelligence”
Mentors: Zeynettin Akkus, PhD, and  Bradley Erickson, MD, PhD, Department of Radiology Informatics, Mayo Clinic

Best abstract and poster awards
The abstracts and posters for Medical Student Research Day were judged by an independent panel of faculty reviewers, and outstanding abstracts were selected from each of the three major subject area categories: clinical and translational research, public health, and medical education. Below are the recipients of these awards.

Chapman Wei, MD ’21
“p38alpha and p38delta Kinases in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Insights from In Vitro Studies and Database Mining Analyses”
Mentor: Tatiana Efimova, PhD, assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology, GW SMHS

Chisom Okezue, MSIII, Chen-Min Hung, MD ’21, co-presenter
“Potential Biomarkers for Severe ARDS in the Setting of SARS-CoV-2 ICU Admission”
Mentor: David Yamane, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, GW SMHS

Matthew McHarg, MSIII
“Ocular Symptoms in COVID-19 Infection: A Survey Study”
Mentor: Shilpa Kodati, MD, National Eye Institute, NIH

Wendy Shwe, MSII
“Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum: A Retrospective Study on Fetal and Postnatal Outcomes”
Mentor: Sarah Mulkey, MD, PhD, assistant professor of  neurology and of pediatrics, Children’s National Hospital

Deepika Potarazu, MD ’21, Chen-Min Hung, MD ’21, co-presenter
“Attending Guidance Advised: Educational Quality of Surgical Videos on YouTube”
Mentor: Hope Jackson, MD ’09, RESD ’16, CERT ’14, assistant professor of surgery, GW SMHS

Will Sweetser, MSII
“Immigration Legal Screening and Resources in a Primary Care Pediatric Clinic: A Social Determinant of Health”
Mentor: Olanrewaju Falusi, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Children’s National Hospital

Meghana Keswani, MSIII
“Concealment of COVID-19 Evaluations from Close Contacts and Attitudes Towards Digital Contact Tracing Services”
Mentor: Ali Pourmand, MD, MPH ’06, professor of emergency medicine, GW SMHS

Olivia Silva, MSII
“A Retrospective Review of Consent Documentation for Procedural Sedation in the Pediatric Emergency Department”
Mentor: Nichole McCollum, MD, research instructor of pediatrics, Children’s National Hospital