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Contemporary health issues the focus of Stanford med students' research presentations

symposium-050514In between schoolwork and clinical-care education, Stanford medical students carve out time to squeeze in research projects focused on contemporary health issues. Each year they present their work during the Stanford Medical Student Research Symposium, which was held here last week.

This year's poster presentations included research on such things as homicide statistics for recently released juvenile offenders, barriers to the use of integrative medicine among underserved populations, and outcomes of male-to-female gender reassignment surgery.

In a recent Inside Stanford Medicine story on the event, Grace Laidlaw called the opportunity to engage in research as a medical student "an amazing learning experience" and noted "I've learned so much, especially in the fields of virology and immunology." More from my colleague Tracie White's article:

Like many of the students participating in the symposium at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, Laidlaw chose a field of research that she has considered pursuing after graduation.

While completing her second year of medical school, Laidlaw, 25, has spent what spare time she has researching the mechanisms of how the rotavirus vaccine works. Her mentor for the project, Harry Greenberg, MD, senior associate dean for research and professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology, is a rotavirus and vaccine expert. Rotavirus is a common cause of severe diarrhea in children.

"We're researching how the rotavirus interacts with everything in a cell," Laidlaw said. "We hope the research could help make a better vaccine. Maybe it could help lead to an oral vaccine rather than an injection."


Lars Osterberg, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine... applauded the students' ability to conduct research while completing medical school.

"It's probably why most medical students at Stanford take five years instead of four to graduate, but I think it's worth it," he said. "Whether they become research physicians or just physicians who read research papers critically, it makes them better doctors."

Previously: As part of annual tradition, budding physician-scientists display their work and New class of physician-scientists showcase research
Photo by Norbert von der Groeben

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