Muthu Vaduganathan, a fourth year medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was awarded a $2,500 grant from the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation’s Seed Grant Research Program. Established in 2000, the program provides small grants to medical students, physician residents, and fellows to conduct basic science or clinical research projects. Seed grant recipients must be medical students, residents, or fellows and projects must be applicant-conceived.
Vaduganathan, one of only 43 individuals nationwide to receive a grant this year, will spend the summer conducting translational research on therapeutic strategies in patients with diabetes before starting his internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“In the current economic environment, it is often difficult for young investigators to secure the necessary funding to initiate small projects, especially in basic science and translation areas,” said Vaduganathan. “This timely funding has allowed me to pursue my own clinical interests and innovative solutions in cardiovascular medicine. The grant has also reinvigorated my passion for academic research as I begin my internal medicine training in the fall.”
Specifically, the graduating senior will use the grant to help support research being conducted in collaboration with scientists and clinicians from Tel-Aviv University in Department of Cardiology, Rabin Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel. The project will assess the effects of a three-month program of tight glucose control on endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) function in patients with long-standing diabetes. Several small clinical trials have pointed to EPCs as a way to treat cardiovascular disease.
“This research may be an important first step to identifying effective therapeutic strategies to improve cardiovascular outcomes in patients with diabetes,” said Vaduganathan.
Vaduganathan was involved with the AMA throughout his medical school career, and served as president of the Feinberg chapter during the 2009-2010 academic year.