June 30, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 26

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UTHSC medical students selected for prestigious research program at National Institutes of Health 


Amy Kantipong and Atman Pai-Panandiker 

Two students from the Medical School 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 nation's 124 medical schools, two were  selected from the U. T. Health Science Center, which speaks well for our  reputation across the country," said Dr. Steven A. Wartman, dean of the 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 U. T. Austin.  Kantipong, from Dallas, is a May 1998 honors graduate of  Duke University. 

The Research Scholars Program exposes medical students to the NIH's strong  research programs in clinical medicine. Students live in a cloistered  environment at NIH, 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. "It's not, 'go 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 will enjoy knowing the career plans 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 assist them with 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 am grateful for the opportunity to learn about research  firsthand. 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 it's a wonderful opportunity," he said.