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Three UCSF Medical Students Awarded HHMI Fellowships

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Published: 05/04/2016

HHMI fellows
From left, Daniel Hoffman, Chung-an (Max) Wu and John Huizar 

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has awarded three fellowships to UC San Francisco medical students to allow them to conduct research for a full year in between their third and fourth years of medical school.

Daniel Hoffman will be working in the laboratory of Manish Aghi, MD, PhD, in the Department of Neurological Surgery. Chung-an (Max) Wu will be performing research in the lab of Christopher Allen, PhD, at the Cardiovascular Research Institute. Another UCSF medical student, John Huizar, was funded for a second year in the HHMI Medical Fellowship program to continue his investigations with Julie Zikherman, MD, co-mentored by HHMI investigator Art Weiss, MD, PhD.

Huizar said, "I am thrilled to spend another year in the lab with the support of the HHMI Medical Fellows program. I can't overstate the impact this program has had on me: despite entering the lab with no research experience in immunology, in the past year I have learned tools and habits of mind that will serve me both as a physician and as a scientist. The training I receive in my second year will build towards my ultimate goal of helping patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, both in the lab and at the bedside."

A fourth student, Travis Urban from University of Texas Medical Branch, will also spend a year in a UCSF laboratory as an HHMI Medical Fellow, working with Steve Finkbeiner, MD, PhD.

“The HHMI Med Fellows Program is one of the few in the nation that enables MD and DVM students to engage in very high quality research for an entire year,” said David J. Asai, senior director in science education at HHMI.

HHMI awarded a total of 66 fellowships this year. Each medical fellow receives $41,000 in grant support, and fellows are eligible to apply for a second year in the program. The $3 million annual initiative is designed to develop the next generation of physician-scientists in the United States.

Student research at the UCSF School of Medicine is sponsored by the Resource Allocation Program for Trainees (RAPtr). Says Urmimala Sarkar, MD, RAPtr’s co-director: “We are delighted that our students successfully competed for HHMI fellowships. It is a testament to our students’ skills and the strong mentoring they receive from UCSF faculty that we have had enduring success in securing these competitive fellowships. We at RAPtr encourage students to apply for prestigious external fellowships like HHMI, and the RAPtr faculty provide proposal feedback and a Dean’s letter to support our students’ applications.”

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