Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

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Thank You to Members—From the 2015 Student Research Fellowship winners

Dear Alpha Omega Alpha members,

I would like to thank you for providing me with the opportunity to conduct higher level research through the Carolyn L. Kuckein Research Fellowship. I discovered my passion for research prior to beginning my medical education, but, as medical students, we are often limited in our ability to perform scientific investigation due to time and monetary constraints. Moreover, beginning a research-oriented career, particularly with the competition for funding today, is a difficult decision to make, but your fellowship opens many doors to pursue such a path. Through your contributions to AΩA, you help foster students' interests in research, which is so fundamental to the advancement of medicine. For this, I am extremely grateful and hope that your continued support will help many other students get involved in activities that will make them become better physicians.

Rahul Bhansali
University of Illinois College of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members of AΩA,

I was overjoyed to be chosen as a recipient of the 2015 Carolyn L. Kuckein student research fellowship! This award will allow me to pursue my goal of becoming an academic physician with interests in stroke neurology, rehabilitation, and critical care. Support for our research is invaluable to those of us with interests in academic medicine, and I am very grateful to have the support of AΩA as I explore the brain's repair mechanisms at work following stroke, and how we can used rehabilitative exercises to enhance them. This award has made it possible for me to devote substantial amounts of time to this project, and I am very excited to see where it takes me—in medical school and beyond. Thank you!

Candace Borders
UC Irvine Health School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear AΩA Members,

I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude for making the Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship possible. I’d also like to thank the reviewers and Board of Directors for their careful consideration of my proposal. I was elated to learn of my selection for this prestigious award, and I deeply appreciate your support.

In my undergraduate years and during a gap year before I entered medical school, I spent many hours in labs conducting research on the human immune system. My driving forces were my appetite for primary literature, and seeing the success of other researchers around me. As a young, budding scientist, I hoped that one day I too would develop my own research questions and venture to answer them.

Receiving the AΩA fellowship represents much more than a summer research opportunity to me; the proposal is a written version of my very first, original scientific question. Thanks to the Fellowship Program, I now have the privilege to investigate it over the summer. The fruits of my efforts will represent my own personal contribution to human knowledge, and hopefully my findings can eventually be exploited in therapies for chronic infections. As such, the fellowship signifies the achievement of a personal goal that is very near to my own heart, thus making it invaluable to me.

Thank you again for your generosity and support. This summer will be a watershed time for me, and I hope it is just the beginning of a long, satisfying career as a physician-scientist.

Taylor Brooks
The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha,

I am very excited and honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the 2015 AΩA Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. With the support of this fellowship, I will be able to help prepare and implement a clinical trial, collect and analyze data, as well as communicate and write about our findings. Our clinical trial regarding oxygen administration and neurocognitive outcomes after cardiac surgery is very much in line with my interests in the perioperative management of cardiac and critically ill patients. I hope to utilize what I will learn from this experience to conduct research as a physician. I am very grateful to the AΩA, its members, and to the fellowship committee for this wonderful opportunity.

Thank you
Philip Chan
Tufts University School of Medicine, Class of 2016

To the Members of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society:

While physicians are at the frontlines of patient care, it is the vision and innovation provided by research that propel these physicians to continue transcending the boundaries of medicine into new frontiers. Before my matriculation at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, I was fortunate to have been heavily involved in research on the epigenetic changes that accompany the development of lung adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas and in studies on the cost-effectiveness of multiple myeloma treatments and the quality of life of these patients. To know that my studies may support the discovery and eventual application of better preventative, diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools in the care of potential and actual patients is an incredibly exciting and humbling experience. Due to this deep respect and appreciation I have for research, one of my primary career aspirations is to always remain invested in research.

The Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship is more than a distinction; it represents a significant step towards my growth as a physician-researcher. This honor provides me with a platform to begin accomplishing challenges and goals that I have set before me: to outline my own research, attend conferences and meetings to present my studies, and ultimately, revolutionize medicine and patient care in ways unimagined. I am deeply honored and humbled to be a recipient of this prestigious award. Thank you for supporting me in my first significant steps towards achieving these endeavors.

Brian Chung
Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Class of 2018

To AΩA Members,

Although we may not have met, I am already in your debt. Your support of the AΩA Research Fellowship has allowed me to pursue a research project that I sincerely believe will contribute immensely towards my personal training as a future physician scientist and serve as an outstanding foundation for subsequent projects to follow. I am grateful for this opportunity to expand my education outside the classroom and to develop the analytic and critical thinking skills necessary for a career in medicine. I appreciate all that you have done, and until we meet in person - thank you again.

Best regards,
Lawrance Chung
University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, Class of 2017

Dear Alpha Omega Alpha Members and Fellowship Reviewers,

Thank you so much for so generously funding the Carolyn Kuckein Fellowship! Research has been a fundamental core of my medical education. Through my work in the lab, I have grown intellectually in ways that I could not in the classroom or wards alone. I cannot tell you how much I look forward to combining research with clinical training during my last year of medical school, an endeavor that was made possible by the AΩA Kuckein Fellowship. I hope that one day my work will have an impact on clinical practice and patients--but in the meantime, I know that my work has absolutely had an impact in shaping me into the person I am today, and the physician I hope to be. Thank you again for providing the funds that have made this work possible!

Noura Choudhury
Pritzker School of Medicine, Class of 2016

Dear Members and Reviewers of the Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship program,

I am writing to you to express my most sincere gratitude for giving me the opportunity to pursue my long-standing passion for biomedical research.

As someone who is consistently seeking opportunities for professional and personal growth, I have experienced many milestones in my career, however, I must admit that this is the greatest one by far.

In order to explain what this award means to me now and in the future, I would like to first tell you a narrative about my development as a researcher.

I was first exposed to the scientific method of research as an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, during which I studied satellite cell (SC) function in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), based on immunohistochemical and quantitative analysis of fusion index of SCs in muscle repair. After graduation, I realized that I wanted to know more about muscle repair at the molecular level. As a result, I accepted a position as a post-baccalaureate research fellow at the National Institute of Health (NIH), within the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

As a post-baccalaureate research fellow, I was given an amazing opportunity to explore the molecular mechanisms of skeletal muscle fibrosis and satellite cell directed muscle repair at the genetic and epigenetic level. I was also exposed to many exciting new biomedical tools that, I believe, will revolutionize the practice of medicine in the near future.

One of such tools is the CRISPR/Cas genome-engineering tool. As a research fellow, I felt as if I were at the forefront of CRISPR technology because I started to optimize the protocol and apply this tool to ongoing studies in our laboratory, as it was just initially making an appearance in the scientific community. This experience really excited me because I was able to see how such a novel technology quickly propagated and became a widely used tool in clinically relevant biomedical research.

At the end of my time at the NIH, I had just completed a series of experiments in which I diligently worked to optimize the utility of CRISPR/Cas. During this time, I discovered the potential of this tool and developed a desire to tests its potential in my future research projects.

As a result, I sought out such opportunities when I started medical school at the University of Florida College of Medicine during which I discovered Dr. Peter Kang’s laboratory where they study molecular mechanisms of muscle myopathies involving a mutation in the MEGF10 gene. I soon realized that this would be the perfect place for me to apply CRISPR/Cas genome engineering as a critical tool to help support the ongoing projects of this lab.

The purpose of my project will be to use CRISPR/Cas, to target the MEGF10 gene in myoblasts, and subsequently in mice, for the purpose of developing a better model for studying MEGF10 myopathies, a condition in which satellite cells are directly affected.

In doing so, we will not only be able to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in satellite cell-mediated muscle regeneration, but will also be able to identify potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of MEGF10 myopathies and other myopathies that involve satellite cell deficiency (deficiency either in function or in number).

The award that you have granted me has really solidified my passion for scientific exploration and has given my research a greater sense of purpose. To be awarded such great award from an organization with such a great history is such an honor for me, because it motivates me to really pursue my dreams and provides me the opportunity and liberty to conduct more studies that would not have been possible without funding.

Furthermore, I would like to thank you for seeing the urgency and need for my research. As the elderly population continues to grow, the future of medicine will continue to see an increasing number of muscle-associated illness that will need personalized attention, and this is where the practice of gene therapy, personalized medicine and evidence-based medicine will become increasingly important. Also, in our current era of medicine, there are many who live with devastating myopathies of which little is known, and I a hope to contribute to the “scientific excavation” of knowledge that will allow us to better treat such illnesses.

I humbly accept this award and I am so very eager to honor the responsibilities that accompany it. I cannot wait to share the results with you.

Thank you.

Daphney Clermont
University of Florida College Of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha,

I would like to sincerely thank the contributors and reviewers of the AΩA Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. Under the guidance of my mentor, I began working on determining the toxicity of diethylene glycol (DEG) over one year ago. DEG is a compound that has been found as a contaminant in various consumer products resulting in epidemic poisonings across the world, especially in children. The exact mechanism of toxicity of its metabolites is still unknown, but we have come close to formulating a mechanism in the past year. Receiving the AΩA research fellowship will allow me finalize my experiments and submit my research for publication to the scientific community. Additionally, I hope to attend a national clinical toxicology conference to present our results. The Fellowship will allow me to achieve these long sought after goals, and for that I am grateful.

Taylor Conrad, MS
LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, Class of 2016

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha,

I am incredibly grateful to be awarded the AΩA Student Research Fellowship. I envision myself practicing as a pediatrician and conducting research related to my field of medicine. The AΩA Student Research Fellowship will allow me to continue my passion of medical research and also to make meaningful contributions to medicine as a medical student. I am excited to work on this project over the next year with my mentor, Dr. Huiyun Xiang. We plan to publish our results and present our findings at a national meeting. Thank you so much for the opportunity to pursue research as a medical student and genuinely make a difference in my path to becoming a pediatric physician scientist. I am honored to receive the AΩA Student Research Fellowship.

Thank you!

Michelle Corrado
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear Alpha Omega Alpha members,

It is a great honor to be a recipient of the 2015 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. I would like to extend a warm thank you to all the AΩA members whose support makes this fellowship possible. I would also like to thank the application reviewers and the selection committee for their time, effort, and for selecting me as an award recipient.

As a medical student aspiring to be a leader in academic medicine, this fellowship is one of the first steps down this path, and it will open many doors. The research support provided by this fellowship is allowing me to pursue a project about which I am passionate. I have had a long-time interest in addressing the epidemic of opioid misuse and dependence. I am also interested in surgery and have a strong background in surgical outcomes research. With the support of this AΩA Student Research Fellowship, I will be able to combine these two interests. I will be investigating the clinical and financial impact of chronic opioid use in patients undergoing major abdominal surgery. This is a timely and important topic, and there is surprisingly little known about the surgical outcomes of opioid-tolerant patients. I have a clear plan for my summer research project, and I also plan to drive progress in this field throughout the remainder of my medical school career and beyond. There is much room to expand this project, and it will be a major part of my development as a health services researcher. This will all be facilitated thanks to the generous support of the AΩA and its members who make this fellowship possible.

With humility and appreciation, I thank you for supporting my research and my development as an academic physician.

Kind Regards,
David Cron
University of Michigan Medical School, Class of 2018

Dear members of AΩA,

As a first-year medical student whose research project has just been funded by the AΩA Student Research Fellowship I am incredibly grateful to those who have helped make this opportunity possible. This summer I am going to work on a basic science project studying inflammation and I am confident that the skills I develop will serve me well throughout my career in medicine.

Opportunities like this fellowship are rare and I am very thankful to AΩA for the support. Even the process of applying taught me so much in terms of how to conduct literature searches, develop a hypothesis and write a proposal and I hope to continue building on that foundation to eventually pursue a career in academic medicine. I am very much looking forward to engaging in research and I am extremely excited for this summer.

Thank you,
Prarthana Dalal
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha,

I am sincerely honored to have been selected as a recipient of the 2015 AΩA Student Research Fellowship.

Thank you for your generosity which will allow me to pursue my research interests during the summer and to also provide for the financial needs of my wife and children. Being married with children in medical school is not an easy challenge and because of this fellowship I will be more successful. I have a strong desire to pursue research opportunities in the future as a practicing physician. Because of this fellowship I will be able to gain the necessary experience and skills to help me in my future research endeavors.

Thank you again for your thoughtful and generous contribution.

Jason Davis
Indiana University School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members,

A sincere and heartfelt thank you for the opportunity to be a AΩA Student Research Fellowship recipient! With the support of this esteemed fellowship, I plan to conduct research elucidating different types of genetic aberrations which can lead to the progression of specific brain tumors in the heritable tumor syndrome Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2). NF2 patients often have a high tumor load and associated conditions that can have devastating impacts on their quality of life. Through this research, I hope to contribute to our knowledge of how these tumors develop, and identify potential molecular targets for treatment. As an aspiring physician-scientist, I am extremely grateful for the chance to gain experience in advanced techniques such as high throughput genomic analysis, which I hope to apply towards furthering patient care in the future.

With kind regards,
Ramita Dewan
University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members of AΩA,

I would like to thank you for your contributions to AΩA, which will help to fund my AΩA Student Research Fellowship. I hope to eventually pursue a career in gastroenterology and this scholarship affords me the opportunity to conduct research in the department and learn more about the specialty. My research study will investigate the efficacy of different dilation devices in the treatment of esophageal dysmotility. Esophageal dysmotility affects the ability to swallow solids and liquids, impacting the quality of life for many people. The results of this study will provide valuable insight into determining the most effective treatment method to alleviate these symptoms. As I pursue my medical career, I plan to incorporate research into my practice and continue to strive to make advances in the field. This scholarship will help to establish the foundation for my research and contribute to my growth and advancement in the field of medicine. Thank you again for your support!

Kaitlin Fitzpatrick
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Class of 2016

Dear AΩA members,

Research has always been a major part of my life. For me, it's an avenue through which I can directly learn about problems and develop ideas that not only will allow me to better develop my reasoning and innovating skills but may also have an impact on the way medicine is conducted today. Being awarded the Alpha Omega Alpha Research Fellowship award has provided me with a unique opportunity to be able to continue my interest in research. It is truly an honor to have received this award. Thank you.

Prakriti Gaba
Mayo Medical School, Class of 2017

Dear members of AΩA,

In college I pursued a mechanical engineering degree which allowed me to develop strong problem solving and analytical skills, but left little time to engage in a medically related research program. I had never been exposed to the depths of academic medicine and have had very little previous training in the research process. The Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship provides me the opportunity to combine two of my passions - engineering and medicine. This opportunity allows me to work with surgeons and research scientists to apply the engineering skill set to clinical applications. I am excited to see how research can impact and influence patient health, as well as gain better understanding of physiology.

This summer I will be working with Dr. Garcia and Dr. Rhee in Medical College of Wisconsin’s Biotechnology & Bioengineering Center in the Department of Otolaryngology. The project consists of using computational fluid dynamics to correlate patients’ subjective measures of nasal patency with objective measures of nasal airflow derived from computational fluid models based on pre- and post-operative computed tomography scans. This data is intended to be used to create a virtual surgery program that will provide physicians a means to test various surgical approaches and predict their outcomes in terms of objective measures of airflow in order to avoid unnecessary surgeries. I am profoundly grateful for this award and the experience to learn more about the impact the research process has on both patients and physicians alike, and to develop an even greater appreciation for just how intellectually challenging and fulfilling it can be.

Thank you,
Courtney Gaberino
Medical College of Wisconsin, Class of 2018

Dear AΩA Members:

Thank you for your contributions to this organization. As a first year medical student, one of my greatest challenges was trying to find a project that would allow me to continue my academic growth, gain a new experience and remain a competitive candidate with all of the excellent students around me here at MUSC. As I’m sure you’re aware, having just been relieved of the stress of getting into medical school, then being thrust into a new competitive environment and beginning to focus on residencies, heading into the summer after first year summer is a stressful time. There is also the mounting concern of medical debt as I support myself through medical school. The Carolyn L. Kuckein Fellowship will not only provide financial support to allow me to perform the research about which I am passionate, it will also provide a stepping stone for new academic accomplishments. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and your investment in my future as a physician, as a researcher, and as a fellow student. I view this fellowship as an investment in my education, believe that I am capable of doing good work, and fully intend to work my hardest to show my appreciation.

Kindest regards,
Sarah M. Guess
Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society,

Thank you so much for generously supporting student research through the Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship, and for all the time you put into organizing the program and reviewing our applications. Having been involved in basic science and translational research for nearly a decade, I've witnessed how difficult it has become to obtain funding for research, which can be disheartening for many students and new investigators. Your wonderful contributions and support are truly meaningful for helping reverse this trend, as they help drive promising research while encouraging students to pursue careers in academic medicine and giving them valuable skills in grant writing and project execution. I am very grateful for this opportunity, which has further cemented my dedication and passion for research as a hopeful future physician scientist.

Alex Han
Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Class of 2018

Dear members of AΩA,

I would like to extend my warmest appreciation to the kind donors and members who made this AΩA research fellowship award possible. This award comes at a great time as I transition from my pre-clinical to clinical years. Since my junior year of undergrad and throughout my first two years of medical school I worked in the lab under the guidance of Dr. Scott Lozanoff and Dr. Ben Fogelgren. Both have always inspired me with their passion for research and served as great role models and mentors throughout my journey into medicine. The projects I worked on with them have thus far, greatly enriched my medical school experience.

I am grateful for this AΩA research fellowship award because it will provide me with the opportunity to continue working with them on a project that has kept me captivated for the past couple of years. In our lab, we are looking specifically at genes that may be in a developmental pathway leading to frontonasal dysplasia and median facial clefts. Results from this research will help us to better understand the complex genetic basis of craniofacial morphogenesis and may provide us with diagnostic approaches to prenatally screen for this devastating condition in children. Overall, I am thrilled for this opportunity that the AΩA research award will provide and know that this research experience alongside clinical experiences will be extremely valuable as I pursue my goal of becoming physician-scientist in the future.

Thank you,
Trudy Hong
University of Hawaii, John A Burns School of Medicine, Class of 2017

Members and reviewers,

I am proud to be part of an international community that finds joy in making scientific discoveries. The thought of bettering the world’s understanding of the body and medicine drives me to keep asking questions and seeking answers through research. That being said, it is an incredible honor to have been chosen as a recipient of the 2015 AΩA Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. Earning this award proved to me and a handful of other passionate medical students that our dedication to research is not going unnoticed. The fellowship is supporting my project on blast-induced traumatic brain injury. It is also allowing me to present my findings to some of the brightest minds in the field of neuroscience. I thank everyone involved in this student research fellowship for the time and dues that you have contributed. I am eternally grateful for your support and for this opportunity to grow as a scholar.

Much appreciated,
Pierce Janssen
Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear AΩA Members,

Thank you so much for your continued commitment to AΩA! As a result of your contributions, I am honored to be a recipient of the Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Award. I am excited for the opportunity to study the outcomes of patients with intramedullary spinal cord tumors. Treatment of such tumors often involves surgical resection, and post-operative functional status and spinal deformity are the most common outcomes studied in this unique patient population. Because many patients diagnosed with intramedullary spinal cord tumors are young and of reproductive age, sexual function following surgical resection needs to be examined, and I look forward to spending the next year studying this important question that will hopefully help physicians in counseling these patients!

I am extremely grateful for your generosity and support, so thank you again, and I hope you continue to contribute to such a wonderful program as the Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship!

Best regards,
Ann Liu
Wake Forest School of Medicine, Class of 2016

Dear AΩA Members and Grant Reviewers,

I want to thank you all for taking valuable time out of your busy schedule to review our grant application. It is my great honor to be awarded for the 2015 Carolyn L. Kuckein Medical Student Research Fellowship. Receiving such a prestigious research fellowship has been one of the most rewarding and influential culminations of my medical education, and it will enable me to embark on a highly stimulating pursuit in the cutting edge of medical research in my medical education journey. It is my long-term career goal to become an academic physician scientist, and this learning experience will serve as an important bridge to help me to achieve my goal. I am extremely grateful to the members of Alpha Omega Alpha for making this opportunity possible.

Thank you,
Boshen Liu
University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Class of 2017

Dear members of AΩA,

It is truly an honor to receive the AΩA Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. Research has been a cornerstone of my medical education and this fellowship allows me to continue to build upon that foundation. Working in the lab, discussing current research, publishing findings, and presenting at national conferences has taught me many lessons that I could not have learned inside of the classroom or the clinic. Perhaps most importantly, research has connected me with key mentors that continue to guide and shape my career. My goal is to practice at an academic institution that allows me to pursue my research, clinical, and teaching interests. This fellowship will provide the support necessary to continue to develop my research during my fourth year of medical school and represents another step in my journey toward becoming an independent investigator. Thank you to all the AΩA members for making this possible.

Andrew Mamalis
University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Class of 2016

Dear AΩA Members,

My name is Justin Markel, and I am a first-year medical student at West Virginia University School of Medicine.

I wanted to express my thanks regarding your generous contributions to my summer research funding.

Before I started medical school, I was a Research Specialist working at the Billiar surgery lab at the University of Pittsburgh. During my time there, I was able to contribute to a number of research papers that our group hopes will greatly benefit trauma patients in the future. When I went off to medical school, I assumed that I would have very limited time and resources to continue those projects. However, your generous donations to the AΩA have given me the amazing opportunity to return to the Billiar lab this summer and continue where I left off.

I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to continue pursuing my love of science and medicine beyond the clinic, and I am extremely excited to get started this summer.

Justin E. Markel
West Virginia University School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear AΩA members,

Thank you so much for supporting the training of medical students like myself. As a recipient of the 2015 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship, I directly benefit from your commitment to AΩA and the education of future physicians. I am honored to received this award and I am especially excited about this opportunity because research has become a major aspect of my career aspirations and an important source of enrichment in my medical education. This fellowship allows me to participate in research that I enjoy and firmly believe will provide important clinical and public health knowledge. It also provides with me the experience, mentorship and training I need to achieve my goal of becoming an academic research physician. Your support and encouragement has a very tangible impact on my training as this fellowship will enhance my education and help me to become a better clinician and researcher. I am deeply grateful for the AΩA members who make the the Carolyn L. Kuckein research fellowship possible. And, I hope that I can similarly support future generations of physicians.

Emily Martin Scott
University of Washington School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha,

I am extremely honored and grateful to have been chosen as a recipient of the 2015 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship, an incredible opportunity that will allow me to continue my strong interest in research. With the support of this fellowship, I will be able to dedicate eight full time weeks continuing the research project I had begun last summer in the lab of Dr. Carlos de Noronha in the Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease at Albany Medical College. Under the guidance of Dr. Carlos de Noronha, I have learned invaluable skills in leadership, communication and team building which will serve me in my future career as a physician. I have learned how to conceive a scientific problem, develop a hypothesis, formulate solutions, perform research, and analyze data. This fellowship will allow me to continue this learning experience, and contribute back to science and society.Thank you again for your generosity and support.

Thank you!

Ashley Mathew
Albany Medical College, Class of 2018

Dear AΩA Members,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your generous contribution towards my research project. As a medical student interested in research, I am honored to receive this award. With this award, I am able to pursue a research topic that I find interesting and enjoyable. My topic is the first of its kind, with the objective of converting supporting cells in the adult brain into neurons. Although it is in its infancy, this field of cellular reprogramming is quickly evolving. The AΩA Student Research Fellowship will allow me to focus on advancing my project and learning more about this exciting area in Neuroscience. Thank you very much, and I cannot wait to report on my results.

Best Regards,
Amol Mehta
Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science, Class of 2018

Dear AΩA Members,

Over the next year I will be researching the pathogenesis of Ankylosing Spondylitis, a debilitating disease that affects millions of people. The support I am receiving through the Carolyn Kuckein Research Fellowship helps me defray the costs of medical school. It also serves as affirmation that my dream of becoming an academic physician is within reach. My hope is to make discoveries that will contribute to the health of others throughout my career; this fellowship brings me one step closer to such a life. Thank you for your support!

Paul Montgomery
Oregon Health & Science University, Class of 2017

Dear AΩA members,

It is with great excitement, pleasure and joy that I write this letter of appreciation and gratitude to your generous contributions, which encourage students such as myself to insist on following their dreams and making them happen. My interest in research began since my first year of medicine, as I was involved in several basic science research projects being conducted at my medical school at the American University of Beirut. That exposure taught me the various techniques that are essential for a true scientist and induced my excitement of becoming an MD and researcher in the future. However, my involvement in research was being part of a project that was already there, rather than conducting one myself from A to Z, mostly due to lack of funding. Furthermore, my true interest was in Neurology, which was unfortunately scarcely studied at my university. Thankfully, the AΩA Research Fellowship Award will enable me to conduct my own research project and in my field of interest: Neurology. Not only did the award make my project possible but it also earned me the recognition of my colleagues, professors, doctors and the dean’s office of the medical school. I am one of the very few medical students who are very interested in research and are actually conducting a project. With this award, I am hopeful to be able to complete the whole planned project and encourage other medical students to follow in my footsteps by proving that a medical student can find time for research alongside his/her medical studies and become a researcher in the future. I am sure that with the boost that this award has given me, alongside my mentor Dr. Samia J. Khoury, a highly skilled and experienced neuro-immunologist, I am on well on my way of becoming an MD and researcher in the field of Neurology.

Thank you again for your generous contributions that surely created a turning point in the path of building my career.

Tarek H. Mouhieddine
American University of Beirut, Class of 2016

To the supporters of the Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship:

I greatly appreciate your generosity in supporting medical student research through AΩA. Knowing that you are behind the fellowships that we receive is incredibly meaningful because it means that you believe in our ability make a difference in healthcare by pursuing our passion for research. I am encouraged to be a part of a community that invests in the next generation of clinicians and researchers. Thank you.

Victor Ng
New York University School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society,

Thank you very much for awarding me this wonderful and prestigious research fellowship. I am incredibly excited to work on my research project and to hopefully become one step closer to deciphering the complex mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's Disease. Research is something in which I've always wanted to have continual involvement, from my freshman year of college, to my future days as a physician. Your support and generosity will help broaden my horizons and hone my skills as a scientist. Once again, I am grateful for this opportunity and will take advantage of it to the fullest.

Kristina Nikolova
Drexel University College of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear AΩA Members,

With the Carolyn L. Kuckein Research Fellowship I am able to start a new line of research in a project that I have become very invested in over the past two years. One of my career goals is to go into academic medicine where a strong research background is valuable for more than a competitive edge—it will help prepare me for a career involving research. The independence that this fellowship affords me will help me progress as a scientist so that in the future I will be a stronger applicant for grants and a better mentor for others who want to pursue a career in research and medicine. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to see a project through and hopefully uncover some interesting results.

Angela Nolin
Boston University School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear Alpha Omega Alpha Members and Reviewers,

I cannot think you all enough for your generous contributions to the 2015 Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship! As a recipient of this year's award, I plan to use this gift as my sole means of financial support for my next academic year pursuing both basic and clinical research in the field of glaucoma. Part of the award will also be utilized in purchasing equipment to carry out experiments. Without all of you to believe in this scholarship, and its power to mold the minds of young researchers such as myself, none of this would be possible. Thank you for supporting such a wonderful cause!

Hardik Parikh
Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School, Class of 2016

Dear AΩA members, My foray into biomedical research began during the summer after my freshmen year of college. I viewed the experience as an opportunity to supplement my engineering education and to also occupy my time during the summer months. Pursuing medicine and scientific research were the furthest things from my career aspirations at that time. Since that initial opportunity, I have spent the past five years conducting cancer research at both basic and translation science levels. Working with inspirational research scientists, physicians, and support staff members ultimately changed my career trajectory. The Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship provides the opportunity to further my journey in becoming a practicing physician-scientist, where medical issues can be tackled directly in the clinics and on laboratory bench tops. I am eternally grateful to the members of Alpha Omega Alpha for supporting my career goals. Best, Kevin Qin The University of Toledo College of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha,

It is with great appreciation that I express my thanks for being chosen as a recipient of the 2015 AΩA Student Research Fellowship. It is an honor to have been selected among numerous qualified candidates all over the nation. This fellowship provides the foundation for which to expound upon the future goals I have set, which not only consist of becoming a well-versed medical scientist, but also a dedicated clinician, educator and contributor to the amazing world of academia and medical care. Rest assure that your contributions have allowed a student such as myself, who doesn't come from a heavily funded research institution, the privilege to delve into interests that may have not been available otherwise. I cannot thank you enough for your contributions and how you have helped myself and numerous students before me achieve our goals! With your unfailing support, invested time, and dedication to this fellowship, I am sure I will not be the last student to say—Thank you—as your generosity is deeply appreciated!

Dioval Remonde
The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Class of 2017

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha, I am truly honored and grateful to be awarded the 2015 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. With the help of this fellowship, I plan to map nerve locations and densities in breast and nipple tissue. Many women suffer loss of sensation following breast surgery, resulting in negative psychological consequences. Through this research, I hope these complications can be minimized and surgical outcomes can be improved. This grant will also enable me to get closer to my goals of contributing to academic medicine and working to further improve patient care. Thank you again for the opportunity to pursue this very exciting research. Sincerely, Charles Riccio University of Louisville School of Medicine, Class of 2016

Dear members of AΩA,

Thank you very much for contributing to the AΩA Student Research Fellowship. I am honored to be a recipient, and grateful for the support. My research projects focuses on traumatic brain injury, a topic that is often of great relevance to groups including athletes and soldiers who face potentially devastating injury "on the fields of friendly strife" (to quote General Douglas MacArthur) or on actual battlefields. My interest in this topic was piqued by my own experiences as a cadet at West Point and subsequently in medical school while working at the Durham VA, where the neurology and psychiatry clinics frequently treat veterans suffering from the lasting effects of traumatic head injuries. My project this year focused on assessing potential therapeutics for repetitive head injuries. This opportunity has given me insight into the process of scientific research, and I hope to apply these insights towards future research after I graduate from medical school.

Alexandra Rosenberg
Duke University School of Medicine, Class of 2016

Dear members of AΩA,

I am writing this to thank all of the members who support the AΩA Student Research Fellowship. By obtaining this fellowship, I will be able to complete a research study addressing the effect of distance to care on the clinical outcomes for newly diagnosed HIV patients. I believe this research is important for two reasons. First, by understanding the effects of distance on clinical outcomes, this will determine whether there is justification from a clinical prospective to set up satellite clinics for patients who have to travel long distances for HIV care. Second, this study utilizes a unique method of calculating distance by drive time determined by Google Maps, instead of the commonly used straight line, “as the crow flies”, distance. This method can potentially serve as a model for future studies assessing distance. Without the support from this fellowship, this research would not be able to be completed. I greatly thank you for your generosity and continued support.

Brad St Martin
University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Class of 2017

Dear members of AΩA,

I truly believe that scientific research, both laboratory and clinical, is the backbone of evidence-based medicine, and when groundbreaking research is translated into clinical practice, we can significantly improve patient care. The Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship will allow me to dedicate time to laboratory research, which will help me mature in my ability to successfully develop, execute and evaluate the results of a laboratory research project. This will enrich my medical training and propel me to become a physician-scientist who is dedicated to laboratory research and treating children with brain and spinal cancers. This fellowship and the project that my mentors and I have designed will fulfill me intellectually, challenge me academically and provide me with the skills to thrive professionally. I want to personally thank the application reviewers and dedicated AΩA members for allowing me to participate in this enriching and impactful fellowship.

Ranjodh Singh
Weill Cornell Medical College, Class of 2017

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha,

There is something inexplicably gratifying about conducting research. In medicine and in science, we ask questions, seek answers, and test multiple hypotheses. I am honored and forever grateful for being a recipient of the AΩA Carolyn L. Kuckein Research Fellowship, which affords me the opportunity to work closely with my mentors to develop a research project that I would otherwise not have the chance to pursue. With the help of my supportive mentors Dr. Peter Gillette, Jason Lazar, and Louis Salciccioli, I started this project as an amalgam of my interests in cardiology and hematology. After experiencing some roadblocks at the initiation of the project and learning to quickly adapt to changing conditions, I saw that my project was actually going somewhere. The results were and are still promising! However, I was nowhere near finished with patient recruitment by the end of the summer before MS2. Receiving the research fellowship means a lot to me. It not only allows me to finish up my project but also allows me to continue to learn and grow in a field where curiosity has no limitations. Creativity is indeed thrilling! I want to thank the contributing members of the research fellowship for allowing me to pursue my interests and ultimately helping me become a better physician researcher. I hope I can provide the same for someone special in the future.

Thank you,
Jacqueline Tin
State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine, Class of 2017

Dear members of AΩA,

Since learning about biomedical research, I have been intrigued by how changes in human biology can completely alter how one grows and lives. In my experience studying Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome, an inherited disease of cholesterol metabolism, I have found it unsettling that changes in one gene not only lead to multi-organ dysfunction, but also the stresses of parenting a child with behavior disorders. While it seemed difficult to make efforts towards alleviating the associated suffering, it never seemed impossible. I was inspired by the drive of physician-scientists to implement their vision of new treatments for this disease, transforming findings from the bench through clinical trials. This drew me to medicine, as I was enamored with the idea that we could attempt to tackle the complexity of this disorder -- of any disorder -- through the partnership of science and medicine. I am grateful for the opportunity bestowed to me by the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Society to work towards becoming a part of this partnership by continuing to pursue basic science at my home institution. Now, I hope to further our understanding of how neurons regulate bone metabolism in the rare, inherited disease, fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

Thank you,
Amy Ton
University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear AΩA members,

I would like to thank you for selecting me as a recipient of the 2015 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. I feel very fortunate and immensely grateful to have received this fellowship which will allow me to carry out my research on Leishmaniasis in the peri-urban communities surrounding Natal, Brazil. Without your aid I question if this project would even be possible. By awarding me this fellowship you have lightened the financial burden of traveling abroad considerably and freed me to focus on my research.

I believe very strongly in the importance of research, and I have a passion for global health; this project allows me to gain experience in both of these areas and further my medical education. With a lot of hard work, and a little luck I hope this research will provide a method for effective Leishmaniasis diagnosis. This incredible opportunity was made possible by this fellowship. To every one of you I extend my sincere thanks. Your generosity is truly inspiring.

Adam Verhoef
University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Class of 2018

Dear members of AΩA,

Thank you so much for making the Carolyn L Kuckein Student Research Fellowship possible. Over the past year, I have dedicated hundreds of hours working on a research project that sought to elucidate the patterns of health system utilization, as well as the awareness of diabetic eye diseases, among patients with diabetes. Working on this project has taught me many valuable skills that are crucial in setting up and conducting clinical research. I’ve also come to appreciate the time, dedication, and resources necessary to complete a research project involving hundreds of participants. I could not have been more grateful to have been awarded the Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. This award would allow me to complete my research project over my final year of medical school. It would also provide me with the financial support and opportunity to present my work in a national meeting. I feel very fortunate to be awarded the opportunity to pursue my research regardless of financial circumstance, and I want to offer you my sincerest gratitude for making all of this possible.

Tracy Wang
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Class of 2016

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha,

Thank you to everyone who made this fellowship possible! I'm very excited to spend this summer working to develop an automated clinical decision support system for patients with complex chronic conditions. I began working on this project before coming to medical school, and am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in its finale. My experiences with this lab have sparked my interest in the field of clinical informatics, and the AΩA Carolyn L. Kuckein student research fellowship has afforded me the opportunity to continue exploring this interest and building a foundation for my future career. Thank you again for all of your support.

Kaeli Yuen
Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Class of 2018

Dear members of Alpha Omega Alpha,

I am grateful and honored to be a recipient of the Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. This grant gives me an opportunity to improve my research abilities and nurture my desire to advance the boundaries of medicine. In particular, my project will involve elucidating the molecular mechanisms behind stem cell transplant therapy for myocardial infarction, allowing me to explore the field of regenerative cardiology. I believe that some day, I will be able to translate these findings in the laboratory towards clinical practice, and expand the repertoire of potential cardiac therapies. Thank you for this amazing opportunity.

Andrew Zhang
University of Minnesota Medical School, Class of 2018

Updated on May 26, 2015.

© 2017 Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society