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News Release

Med students get special lab work opportunity


 

AURORA, Colo. (May 7, 2009) - Two University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine students are among 112 medical, dental and veterinarian students across the country chosen for a special laboratory research program sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Bietel W. Belay, a rising third-year medical student, and Emily Fischman Kauvar, a rising fourth-year student, will each spend a year in a laboratory honing scientific skills that prepare them for possible careers in research as part of the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program. The students are among those drawn from 44 different institutions around the nation. They will work in laboratories at the National Institutes of Health.  The laboratory research program is part of a $4 million initiative supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

“These students may one day help translate scientific discoveries into important new treatments and diagnostic tools,” says HHMI President Robert Tjian. “We hope this opportunity to work in a lab will encourage them to choose a career in research.”

Over the last 25 years, more than 2,000 medical, dental or veterinary students have participated in either the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program or the HHMI Research Training Fellowships Program.

Students selected as research scholars often enter the program with only a general idea of what type of research they would like to do. During their first few weeks, they are encouraged to visit several of the more than 1,100 laboratories at NIH before choosing which project to pursue under the guidance of an NIH mentor. The students are sometimes called “cloister scholars” because they live in apartments or dorm-style rooms in a refurbished cloister on the NIH campus in Bethesda.

“This fellowship program provides a collegial, intellectually stimulating and supportive environment,” Kauvar said. “I recently completed my third year of medical school, and this is an opportune time to build on the classroom and clinical foundations and to delve deeper into my particular area of interest, genetics and developmental disabilities.”

Belay noted that “the essentials skills learned in research - keeping an open and inquiring mind, possessing the ability to analyze data carefully, composing a set of possible results following logical reasoning and explaining the results in concise and complete manner- are also central in clinical medicine. Additionally, a career in academic medicine would also allow me to share my experiences by teaching in underdeveloped countries and raising awareness of the importance of evidence based medicine in areas where research is not given much significance.”

About UC Denver's School of Medicine
The School of Medicine faculty work to advance science and improve care as the physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the UC Denver School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies.  The School is part of the University of Colorado Denver, one of three campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit the UC Denver newsroom online.

About the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Howard Hughes Medical Institute is one of the world's largest philanthropies, with laboratories across the United States and grants programs throughout the world. The Institute is a nonprofit medical research organization that employs hundreds of leading biomedical scientists working at the forefront of their fields. In addition, through its grants program and other activities, HHMI is helping to enhance science education at all levels and maintain the vigor of biomedical science worldwide. Its headquarters are located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

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Contact: Jim Spencer, 303.724.5377, 720.346.4242 (Cell), jim.spencer@ucdenver.edu