Medical Student Summer Research Program
Since the inception of the Radiology Research Lab at Yale in 2015, Yale medical students have been participating in summer research internships that have played an integral role in the Lab’s success and have found the experience rewarding scientifically, boosting in career development, and gratifying in mentorship. The medical students have been conducting independent research and have been demonstrating a track record of scholarship. Upon joining the lab, students are immediately paired with senior lab members and start assisting on active research projects while also developing an independent project that the medical student will lead to completion. Students join the lab during their first year of medical school, and engage in NIH funded, full-time research during their first summer for a period of 8 to 10 weeks. By the end of their tenure, all previous students have submitted scientific abstracts for presentation at internationally recognized scientific meetings and have concluded independent projects with first-author publications in peer-reviewed journals. Many students have received distinction in awards.
The Yale Radiology Research Lab is focused on a wide variety of research applications. The primary research area is driving the advancement of loco-regional image-guided tumor therapies in interventional oncology, a rapidly developing branch of radiology. In this context, medical students are introduced to research projects in a well-developed collaborative network to learn all steps from conduction of experiments to manuscript preparation where the goal is to contribute to innovation that meaningfully improves patient outcomes. Examples of research projects the Lab conducts include basic science projects on tumor metabolism, translational work in pre-clinical tumor models, clinical outcomes analysis, and advanced machine learning applications.
Bios of previous students in their research projects, output, and testimonies who have participated in the Yale Medical Student Summer Research Program are below:
Mansur Ghani joined the lab in November 2015. His research included NIH and Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) grant funded investigations into treatment response predictors in hepatocellular carcinoma after intra-arterial therapy and staging biomarkers for colorectal carcinoma metastasis to the liver. He presented his results in oral presentations at Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) 2017 and World Conference on Interventional Oncology (WCIO) 2017, and was awarded the Dr. Constantine Cope Medical Student Research Award. “I have had an incredible experience at the Yale Radiology Research Lab. The mentorship I have received is the best I have found in my career and the collaborative experience with industry and international institutions is outstanding. I have had tremendous opportunities for growth at the lab, and I am excited for the innovative research I will continue to do with it.”
Arash Fereydooni joined the lab in the summer of 2016. His research included NIH and RSNA grant funded investigations into safety and efficacy of smaller irinotecan eluting beads for the treatment of hepatic metastasis from colorectal cancer. He presented his results in oral presentations at SIR 2017. He is very grateful for his time at the Radiology Research Lab. “I have never received such individualized and personal mentorship. People in the group have always challenged me to think more critically and to grow as a researcher. The atmosphere of the group is very collaborative and I am thankful for having had the opportunity to learn from others and contribute to multiple projects.”
Nikitha Murali joined the Yale Radiology Research Lab in summer of 2017. Since joining the lab, she has authored or co-authored 4 articles in peer-reviewed journals and written a textbook chapter. Her research has focused on developing algorithms that apply image analysis techniques to identify early markers of treatment response after transarterial chemoembolization, a targeted treatment for unresectable liver cancer. “Joining the lab has been an incredible learning experience as a medical student. Backed by a group of diverse and talented researchers, there is something to learn from everyone. Our lab is the embodiment of teamwork – playing a supporting role in others’ projects in addition to pursuing my own has allowed me to grow a wide skillset that I will carry with me into my career as a physician.”
Austin-Marley Windham-Herman joined the lab in January of 2017. He was awarded an NIH grant for his research on prostate cancer diagnostic imaging markers, and he completed an assessment of time to response of metastatic hepatic tumors after multiple transarterial chemoembolizations. He presented his research at 2017, co-authored multiple abstracts, published a first author review in the American Journal of Hematology/Oncology, and will be presenting an abstract at the Society of Abdominal Radiology (SAR) conference in 2018. “I had a large amount of independent authority and responsibility on my projects and found that between weekly lab meetings, close mentorship, and the opportunities to receive critical feedback I learned an incredible amount about what it means to be a researcher. I loved being able to work and learn with such a dedicated group of colleagues and friends. If you are a medical student with an interest in Radiology at Yale, this is an exceptional lab to be a part of.”
Evan Chen joined the lab during the summer of 2017, receiving grant funding from the RSNA for his research on enhancement based staging markers. He co-authored two abstract presentations and will be presenting his work at the 2018 SIR Annual Meeting. Additionally, Evan is the co-president of the Interventional Radiology Interest Group at Yale since 2016. In this capacity, Evan has organized guest lectures from Yale IR physicians to inform medical students of more recently developed procedures or research, and organized a symposium and an IR workshop with the Quinnipiac School of Medicine. “Collaborating with passionate fellow researchers in the Yale Radiology Research Lab has been an incredible experience and something I would highly recommend to all medical students. The work being conducted by the lab is diverse, so I was able to find an area of my own interest and at the same time learn and contribute to other projects encompassing interventional oncology.”