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UTHSC medical students selected for prestigious research program (7-18-00)

Two medical students from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) are among only 40 nationwide to be selected for the 2000 Howard Hughes Medical Institute/National Institutes of Health (HHMI/NIH) Research Scholars Program. The one-year program, with option to remain a second year, begins in late summer on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.

"Of the hundreds of applicants from the nationís 124 medical schools, two were selected from the U. T. Health Science Center, which speaks well for our reputation across the country," said Steven A. Wartman, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the UTHSC Medical School. "These students will interact with researchers and fellow students in a highly stimulating environment. This will be a career-enhancing experience for them and we look forward to their return to San Antonio when the program is completed."

The HHMI/NIH Scholars are Atman S. Pai-Panandiker, who finished his third year at the Medical School in May, and Amy Kantipong, who completed her second year. Pai-Panandiker, of Austin, is a December 1996 honors graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. Kantipong, from Dallas, is a May 1998 honors graduate of Duke University.

The Research Scholars Program exposes medical students to the NIHís strong research programs in clinical medicine. Students live and work in a cloistered environment at NIH that enables them to work in a laboratory with a distinguished NIH mentor, attend discussion groups with other scholars, take in seminars and guest lectures, and enjoy group dinners. "Itís not, Ďgo to the lab, go home, go to the lab, go home," Pai-Panandiker said. "This is a chance to meet people from other medical schools." Kantipong said she would enjoy knowing the career explorations of medical students from other parts of the country.

Each HHMI/NIH Scholar receives an $18,000 stipend for the year. Students who decide to pursue careers in research may be eligible for scholarships to put toward the remainder of their medical education.

Helping her selection, Kantipong conducted two years of research at Duke and finished a summer program in pediatric cardiology at the U. T. Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Pai-Panandiker, who is considering a career in radiation oncology, completed a summer course at UTHSC in geriatrics and physiology. "I want the opportunity to see about research, and NIH is the number one place to get that kind of experience," Kantipong said.

She will travel to Bethesda in late July and Pai-Panandiker will travel there in early August. "We think itís a great opportunity," he said.

Contact: Will Sansom