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Medical Students Participate in GSM Research Projects Thanks to Dr. I. Reid Collmann's Legacy Scholarship

From left to right: Kelsey Jones, Jonathan Laredo, Jack Nadaud, and Gene Cravens

Medical students at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine participated in research projects funded by the I. Reid Collmann, M.D. Medical Student Education Fund, which provides students with an opportunity similar to former Dean Collmann's own student research experience. Dr. Collmann believed that hands-on experience with research and its impact on patient care helped to lay a good foundation for future medical careers.

This summer, four medical students between their first and second years of study at the UT Health Science Center College of Medicine were supported by the program.

Kelsey Jones participated in research under the supervision of Ashton Brooks, MD, a Breast Surgeon in the UTGSM Department of Surgery. Her work focused on invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), an invasive but difficult to detect form of breast cancer. One of the aims of the study was identifying which imaging modalities could most accurately predict tumor size pre-operatively, to best guide surgical decision making for total vs. partial mastectomy. Preliminary studies suggested that TiCEM (Titanium Contrast Enhanced Mammogram) most accurately predicted tumor size on final pathology when compared with MRI, diagnostic or screening mammogram, and ultrasound.

Regarding her experience, Ms. Jones commented, "I grew up in Maryville, TN, and I was excited to be able to come home and contribute to research in the area of TN that inspired me to choose medicine and pursue medical research. Though my mind is open to many areas of medicine and not yet set on any one, I remain resolved to practice in rural areas such as the one I grew up in and at hospitals committed to serving them, like UTMC. I hope to pursue research in medicine as I continue to grow in my knowledge and throughout my career. Your contributions allowed me to explore and learn the ways in which that is possible as a physician."

Under the direction of Trauma Surgeons Lindsay McKnight, MD and Brian Daley, MD in the Department of Surgery, Jack Nadaud participated in a variety of ongoing projects that included analyses of changes and improvements in care after the implantation of a trauma fracture protocol clinical pathway, changes in robotic emergency general surgery outcomes, a survey for residency graduates in rural settings, and he began a prospective anticoagulation project. 

Mr. Nadaud said, "I am eager to continue working on these projects as I return to Memphis to continue my education, and I look forward to my third and fourth years of medical school, where I will be able to return and continue these projects in Knoxville. I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity that has been provided to me through the Collmann Scholars Program. I thoroughly enjoyed my summer in Knoxville and the impact of this opportunity has truly helped to shape my future as a physician."

Gene Cravens participated in a research study under the direction of Jason Buehler, MD and Paul Allen, PhD in the Department of Anesthesiology and James Bienvenu, MD in the Department of Urology. The aim of this study was to determine if perioperative IV lidocaine administration is correlated with a prolonged overall disease-free state (DFS) for patients undergoing radical cystectomy for bladder cancer. Previous experimental studies indicated lidocaine may inhibit malignant cell spread and micro-metastasis.

"As the program comes to an end, there is still much work to be done, and I look forward to building upon this project throughout my medical school education," stated Mr. Cravens. "I will never forget the impact that this program had on my outlook and career. These two months away from school have allowed me to take a step into the field of research and invigorate my passion for medicine through a new perspective."

Under the guidance on John Griepentrog, MD in the Department of Surgery, Jonathan Laredo participated in a prospective observational clinical trial to evaluate the impact of surgical rib fixation on patients with complex rib fractures that suffer from severe pain or persistent hypoxia. Preliminary findings suggest potential benefits, including lower pain scores, rates of immobility, average hospital length of stay, and faster return to work time in patients who receive surgical rib fixation compared with those who do not.

Regarding his experience Mr. Griepentrog said, "Over the last 2 months, I have experienced some of the fastest growth and internal development that I ever have in my journey towards becoming a physician. After the conclusion of my time here at UTMCK, I plan to return to Memphis to pursue some of my newly discovered research interests, before returning to Knoxville in my third year to continue working on the same projects that I began this summer."

Posted October 5, 2023


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