Three Feinberg Students Earn Prestigious Howard Hughes Research Fellowships
Three Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine students were recently named fellows of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Alexander Sheu, Adrienne Smith, and Lauren Smith â€“ all members of the Honors Program in Medical Education â€“ were selected along with 111 peers from across the country to spend a year engaging in intensive research with some of the nation’s top investigators.
“We are fortunate to have three new fellows of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute — a medical research organization that contributes greatly to the advancement of science,” says Rex Chisholm, PhD, Adam and Richard T. Lind Professor of Medical Genetics and vice dean for scientific affairs and graduate studies. “This is a great honor for our students, and through their receipt of this award, for Feinberg.”
Designed to encourage medically-trained students to become physician-scientists, the HHMI program gives students a year off from their clinical rotations to perform laboratory research. As HHMI Research Fellows, Sheu and Lauren Smith are pursuing biomedical research at Feinberg. Adrienne Smith (Lauren’s twin sister) will conduct research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as an HHMI-NIH Research Scholar.
Alexander Sheu, HHMI Research Fellow
Sheu, who just finished his second year of medical school, looks forward to spending the next year investigating alongside Andrew Larson, PhD, associate professor of radiology, and Reed Omary, MD, professor in radiology. The long-term goal of Sheu’s work, which bridges his engineering background and current clinical training, is to develop MRI techniques that predict tumor response based on cell delivery, allowing for the adjustment of cell dosages for maximum therapeutic efficacy.
Lauren Smith, HHMI Research Fellow
As part of her fellowship, Lauren Smith, who recently completed her third-year of school, collaborates with Todd Kuiken, MD, PhD, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and surgery, and Levi Hargrove, PhD, research assistant professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Part of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Center for Bionic Medicine, her study tests electromyography signals that potentially aid in the development of new methods for controlling myoelectric prostheses.
Adrienne Smith, HHMI-NIH Research Scholar
Like her sister, Adrienne Smith also took one year off before her final year of medical school. An HHMI-NIH Research Scholar, she performs pediatric oncology-focused research on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. Specifically, Adrienne is exploring how investigators stimulate the immune system to fight off childhood cancers.