April 27, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 17


Of Note


Medical students selected for research program at NIH

portrait of Dombroski and Benglis Derek G. Dombroski (left) and David M. Benglis Jr. will spend a year doing intensive research in a laboratory environment on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.

Two students from the Medical School are among only 42 selected nationwide for the 2001 Howard Hughes Medical Institute-National Institutes of Health (HHMI-NIH) Research Scholars Program. David M. Benglis Jr. and Derek G. Dombroski will spend a year conducting intensive research in a laboratory environment on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.

"Our success in this highly competitive, national program speaks well of our student body and faculty," said Dr. Steven A. Wartman, executive vice president for academic and health affairs and dean of the Medical School. "I am proud of David and Derek and know they will represent us well. It is a major achievement that we have had five students selected for this prestigious program in the last four years."

Benglis, a second-year student at the Medical School, is from Louisiana and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin. Dombroski, also a second-year student, is from Plantation, Fla. He graduated from Columbia University. Both students have conducted research at the Health Science Center.

"The criteria for selection into such programs are multifaceted. Our students are intellectually gifted. They are also highly motivated. Their interpersonal skills are outstanding," said Dr. Leonard E. Lawrence, associate dean for student affairs. "Clearly, these two young men meet all the expectations."

"The program is a great way to get medical students interested in biomedical research, because they actually live the life of a researcher for a year," said Melanie Daub, communications administrator for the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program.

After the students arrive at NIH, they will visit different laboratories and select a research topic of interest. Scholars will live in a collegial environment at the Cloister, their residence on campus, and work in a laboratory with a distinguished scientist.

"I'm really interested in learning how the research process works from beginning to end, and I'm looking forward to studying under some of the best scientists in the world," Benglis said. "This experience will be important for my future, because it will help me determine if research is something I want to pursue."

Scholars will participate in activities outside the laboratory as well. They will attend science dinners, discussion groups and seminars.

"One of the highlights of our program is the weekly science dinners. The students have an opportunity to hear from world-renowned researchers and talk with them one on one. The students also learn a great deal from each other in their weekly informal science meetings where they present their work to their fellow scholars," Daub said.

"It will be fantastic to be immersed in research at the premier research campus in the world," Dombroski said. "I'm interested in research because in the field of medicine, there are always questions to be answered. In the future, I want to be involved in active medicine, seeing patients, as well as performing research to find better methods to treat them."

Benglis and Dombroski will begin the one-year program in late July, with the option to remain for a second year. They are looking forward to devoting next year to full-time research.