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New class of physician-scientists showcase research

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How can we better study frostbite? Why do so many patients skip their ophthalmology appointments? Does it make a difference where on the spine neural stem cells are injected when trying to treat paralysis?

Those are some of the questions that were addressed in the 28th annual Stanford Medical Student Research Symposium, as discussed in a story in today's Inside Stanford Medicine. The event showcases some great projects, and it also underscores Stanford's effort to address what some fear could be the declining role of physician/scientists.

Last year, Andrew Schaefer, MD, the editor of a new book, The Vanishing Physician-Scientist?, noted that while there are no precise statistics on the number of physician-scientists, there are some troubling trends indicating that a greater proportion of research is being done by PhDs. (He discussed the book in a podcast that is part of the medical school's "1:2:1" interview series.)

The student symposium offers compelling examples of how research can be rooted in clinical practice and how physicians have a perspective on research that must not be lost. "What we really love is seeing people doing things that make a difference," said Laurence Baker, PhD, director of medical student scholarship and professor of health research and policy, speaking of the projects being presented at the event earlier this month.

Photo by Norbert von der Groeben: Yuri Kim (left) listens to Shah Ali's explanation of his research project on postnatal cardiomyocyte generation in murine models of aging and cardiac injury.

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