In terms of prize and profile, few events for medical students, international medical graduates (IMGs), residents and fellows rival the AMA Research Challenge. The event offers a $10,000 prize and a widely viewed finale, with the finals being broadcast live on the AMA’s YouTube channel.
Moreover, the AMA Research Challenge is the largest national, multispecialty research event for medical students, residents and fellows, and IMGs. The challenge offers young and aspiring physicians a chance to showcase their research on a significant stage.
Considering all that—and the fact that the number of entrants routinely climbs into four-digit figures—making the finals of the event is a momentous achievement in itself. Still, this group of four medical students and one fellow has aims for that grand prize.
Taking place Dec. 7 with a broadcast on YouTube, the finals of the 2022 AMA Research Challenge will feature a group comprised of five finalists presenting their research posters to a panel of three expert judges. The winning entry will be awarded a $10,000 grand prize from sponsor Laurel Road.
Each of the five finalists appeared on a recent episode of AMA’s “Making the Rounds” podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere podcasts are offered. Here's what you should know about each of the finalists and their work.
- Poster: “Decoding Pregnancy Loss: Validating a Novel Genetic Biomarker of Poor Egg Quality” (PDF).
- Medical school: Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
- On why her research topic was appealing: “I previously had volunteered for two years with children with developmental disorders, as well as did research and cancer biology, and so, as I went through my education, I learned more and more about the genetic basis of developmental disorders, as well as how genetics could be applied to many fields of medicine to understand the origins of disease. I was obviously very excited to learn about this project where I get to learn about the unraveling of genetic data to really understand how disease and, in this case, egg aneuploidy and miscarriage can arise during development.”
- Poster: “The Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) as a Novel Therapeutic Target in Neuroblastoma” (PDF).
- Medical school: The University of Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
- On advice for students pursuing research: “For highly technical topics, I think it's very important to get dedicated one-on-one mentoring from a more experienced person who is willing to teach you techniques at the bench. And I had that opportunity to get close mentoring. And it really helped me become efficient in the lab, so that I could focus on answering questions rather than struggling to learn the techniques.”
- Poster: “Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Versus Wedge Resection for Early-Stage Node-Negative Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Tumors ≤8 mm: A National Analysis” (PDF).
- Medical school: Harvard Medical School.
- On how this research impacts his career: “I'm very interested in oncology, given the impact that it has on human lives. And I'm also very interested in surgery given its ability to really cure someone's cancer and to directly improve their lives by just an operation. I think this research has really inspired me to pursue these fields as I'm able to help clinicians make better informed decisions that has potential to improve survival.
- “The decision to go with one treatment option versus another is not an easy one, and it has multiple downstream implications on a patient's survival. And when decisions aren't very clear, we often have to rely on the best available evidence. And being able to contribute to that body of literature has really motivated me.”
- Poster: “Audiovisual Feedback from a Handheld Monitoring Device Improves Manual Ventilation” (PDF).
- Medical school: Louisiana State University Health Shreveport.
- On the challenges of his research: “Whenever you're doing any kind of device development, there's a lot of two steps forward, one step back. It's a lot of testing to make sure certain components work. And with a device like this, there are several electronic components, several mechanical components that all have to come together and work in tandem at the same time. So, there's a lot of testing.
- “And, at certain times, you can move forward with several parts pretty quickly. And then you get to a stage where it's not working but then you have to test several of the components you don't know which one’s not working. So, the development process of the device itself can be challenging in that regard.”
- Poster: “AI-Powered Fully automated Early Detection of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma on Standard-of-care CT Scans” (PDF).
- Fellowship program: Mayo Clinical (abdominal imaging).
- On what she would do with the $10,000 prize: “I would like to use it towards my career advancement and professional development. And our work on pancreas cancer is still ongoing. There's so much more to learn and unravel about this disease, so I would like to use this prize money in a way that helps us in our research work as well. Maybe I could use a part of it for my future academic trip presentations, or use it for some educational resources.”
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