Five Medical Students Win Top Honors at Annual Research Forum

Five Medical Students Win Top Honors at Annual Research Forum.

From left: Rachel Ochotny, Joshua Balderman, Ankit Gor, Kenneth Blumenthal, PhD, Ashley Conway and Elizabeth Heller.

Published January 30, 2012

Future MDs investigating vascular calcification, Peruvian medicinal plants, basal cell carcinoma and pediatric brain tumors took top honors at this year’s Medical Student Research Forum.

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“Our hope is that the student presenters enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate their results here in Buffalo—and that ultimately they continue in their research endeavors.”
Debra L. Stamm, Assistant dean for student services

Joshua Balderman, class of 2013, won first place at the forum, held Jan. 26 in the atrium of the Biomedical Education Building.

Elizabeth Heller and Ankit Gor, both class of 2014, won second place.

Rachel Ochotny and Ashley Conway, also class of 2014, tied for third.

Winning Posters

Kenneth Blumenthal, PhD, senior associate dean for research and graduate education, announced the winning posters, as follows:

First Place

“Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 Downregulates Micro-RNA 30B-C To Promote Vascular Smooth Cell Calcification”
Joshua Balderman

Second Place

“Microarray Analysis Reveals Insights into Basal Cell Carcinoma Pathogenesis”
Elizabeth Heller and Ankit Gor

Third Place (Tie)

“Selection and Toxicity of Medicinal Plants Used by Traditional Peruvian Healers”
Rachel Ochotny

“Is ‘Occult’ Post-Contrast Signal Enhancement in Pediatric Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma the MR Imaging Marker of Angiogenesis?”
Ashley Conway

Med Student Projects Took Place at UB, Elsewhere

A total of 22 students submitted posters for the forum. All worked closely with research mentors to complete their projects, and a variety of funding agencies supported them with stipends. They conducted their research at UB and other institutions.

Among the winners:

  • Balderman researched at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., while serving as a Sarnoff fellow.
  • Heller and Gor conducted their research at UB.
  • Ochtony worked with Gail Willsky, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry, during a summer research project in Peru.
  • Conway participated in a summer research program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Forum Encourages Future MDs to Continue Research

Debra L. Stamm, assistant dean for student services in the Office of Medical Education, says the school is fortunate to have a day set aside for medical students to share their research findings with faculty and classmates.

“Our hope is that the student presenters enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate their results here in Buffalo—and that, ultimately, they continue in their research endeavors and decide to share their knowledge on a broader, national scale as they move along on their career paths.”