‘Driven by personal motivation’
13 medical students awarded for their research contributions during annual ceremony
February 28, 2019 — The 2019 Celebration of Medical Student Research, held Tuesday afternoon in the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building, recognized 13 UF medical students for their research posters, which they displayed for colleagues, faculty, friends and family.
The event highlighted the research conducted last summer by students in the Medical Student Research Program, part of the Discovery Pathways Program that prepares students for careers as clinician-scientists. Out of 88 posters presented by medical students during the UF-wide Research Poster Session held Feb. 19 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, 13 were selected as award winners. Nine students received $100 semifinalist awards, three students received Lawrence M. Goodman Research Awards ranging from $300 to $500, and second-year medical student Emily Pregmon received the $1,000 Alpha Omega Alpha award for her poster, “In utero exposure to caffeine reduces DNA methylation levels in human mesenchymal stem cells.”
Pregmon said she’s passionate about her research, which challenges current assumptions that two cups of coffee a day are suitable for pregnant women. She says her lab’s work shows that the currently accepted amount might exceed a safe level of caffeine for pregnant mothers and their unborn babies.
“It’s exciting to see our work transformed into something so amazing as this poster and to bring this award back to our lab,” Pregmon said. “To have an opportunity to potentially change the care received by mothers and babies is a huge honor.”
Gregory Schultz, Ph.D., course program director for the Discovery Pathways Program, addressed the students and congratulated them on their well-deserved awards.
“This helps students understand what goes into quality research, teaches them how to read and evaluate others’ research and makes them very competitive for residency programs, during which they will be required to conduct their own research,” Schultz said.
Senior associate dean for educational affairs Joseph Fantone, M.D., said the Discovery Pathways Program fuels quality student research because of the freedom students have to choose the focus of their work.
“We wanted to create an environment where students could find an aspect of health care they’re passionate about and explore that in greater depth,” he said. “Their projects are driven by personal motivation, and they can take this work forward throughout their residencies and careers.”
Below is a complete list of students who received awards at the 2019 Celebration of Medical Student Research:
Jayden Curry, semifinalist, “Radiotherapy for solitary plasmacytoma”
Gabriella Tom, semifinalist, “Hyperacusis in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain”
Jennifer Loso, semifinalist, “Prospective surveillance study of antimicrobial utilization in hospitalized children”
Navid Farahbakhsh, semifinalist, “Skin cancer awareness in solid organ transplant recipients: Patient survey study”
Miles Cameron, semifinalist, “A muscular index predicts treatment response and failure to initial treatment in stage IV pancreatic adenocarcinoma”
Matthew Kruchten, semifinalist, “Surgical revascularization in children with sickle cell disease and Moyamoya syndrome”
Travis Bryant, semifinalist, “Qualitative evaluation of pediatricians’ views on continuous board certification: Understanding the ABP diplomate’s perspectives and experiences for programmatic enhancement”
Patricia Sacks, semifinalist, “The effect of temozolomide on T cell function in GBM and implications for immunotherapeutic strategies”
Robert King, semifinalist, “Does the HEART score apply to patients with nontraditional risk factors?”
I-Chia “Daniel” Liu, 3rd place Lawrence M. Goodman Research Award, “Extracellular matrix stiffness mediates vascular smooth muscle cells calcification”
Dana Eyerly, 2nd place Lawrence M. Goodman Research Award, “Brains and sprains: The relationship between neurocognitive performance and musculoskeletal injury risk in high school athletes”
Ryan Lewis, 1st place Lawrence M. Goodman Research Award, “Knee ultrasonography to determine risk for non-contact injuries in collegiate American football players”
Emily Pregmon, Alpha Omega Alpha Award winner, “In utero exposure to caffeine reduces DNA methylation levels in human mesenchymal stem cells”