A second-year student at Mayo Medical School -- Soyun (S. Michelle) Hwang -- has been selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to receive a year-long fellowship to conduct mentored biomedical research. Hwang will be mentoring at Mayo Clinic with Jennifer Westendorf, Ph.D., in orthopedic surgery. She will purse her interest in reconstructive surgery, which overlaps with surgical fields like orthopedics. She met Dr. Westendorf at the Perry Initiative, a national event aimed at diversifying the field of orthopedics.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity,” Hwang says. “I conducted proteomics research for 5 to 6 years in muscle diseases prior to coming to Mayo and I have always regarded research as one of the most important tools for learning and advancing in the field of medicine. HHMI gives me both time and resources to explore research in the field of interest that otherwise would not have been possible through the regular medical school training.”
In all, HHMI chose 68 top medical and veterinary students from 37 different schools in the United States for its Medical Research Fellows Program. The $2.8 million annual initiative is designed to develop the next generation of physician-scientists by giving the students a full year of mentored research training with some of the nation’s top biomedical scientists.
Hwang’s fellowship will be funded by HHMI’s partner organization, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation.
The program has funded more than 1,600 students since it was established by HHMI 26 years ago. The Medical Research Fellows Program allows medical, dental, and veterinary students to pursue biomedical research at academic or nonprofit research institutions anywhere in the United States except the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland or other federal agencies. The fellows put their medical school coursework on hold, and spend a year immersed in basic, translational or applied biomedical research.