Research at NYCOM

By: Adam Guss, OMS-II

Besides simply trying to learn material and pass/honor systems many students look for new ways to differentiate themselves, bolster the resume, and catch an edge. We have many clubs, organizations, and extracurricular activities on hand. Others find new things simply as good scientists do; with curiosity. Research is one of those ways to put our academic skills to the test and create with our hands and minds.

During this last summer I participated in NYCOM’s Summer Research Program. Dr. Beatty of the anatomy faculty served as my mentor and research advisor as we investigated the hardness in molar substances. Over six weeks we setup an experiment to investigate hypothesized differences in hardness between enamel and dentin based on its location on and within teeth harvested from rats in the lab. After a lot of background reading on microstructure, microindentation, and how exactly to go about working all kinds of new machinery, we set out. After submitting a proposal for the Summer Research Program and getting approval for the project, we performed the experiment, gathered data, and created a detailed poster for presentation. The project certainly exceeded the six weeks allotted due to the level of prep required to write a detailed proposal for approval.

While it may seem at times that the course work is enough to keep anyone busy, research starts with curiosity and a large amount of background reading and this takes time. Part of engaging in any extracurricular is time management and balancing life functions. This remains something to keep in mind even for Officers in clubs and other positions.

But getting into research can often seem to be a difficult leap. NYCOM’s Summer Research Project not only gets students the opportunity to work with the faculty to perform research but also come face to face with the challenges of academia. It can be an incredible experience. But while NYCOM may offer $500 for supplies and a $1500 stipend to the student for the 6 weeks, actually planning and performing the task is rigorous work.

How does a first year go about finding a research project? Well step one is to get acquainted with the faculty. In both OMM and Anatomy lab students have a great opportunity to learn from faculty directly. Approaching a faculty member maybe daunting but they are often incredibly happy to share what they are working on and often will take the time to explain their own research. Finding a project that interests you is often one of the best ways to get involved. Step two normally is just approaching that faculty member and asking about involving them in a summer research project.

Academic Scholars are also close to the research action. Part of being an Academic Scholar is performing a research project with a faculty advisor. Academic Scholars have office hours which can be a good downtime to ask about how they became involved or the projects that they know of currently underway. Because of this, research is also a good means to distinguish someone whom is considering the Academic Scholars program.

Research is incredibly rewarding though, and I’d highly recommend it to students who have not had the opportunity to perform research before .

Summer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center

By: Rita Aidoo, OMS-II

This summer, I interned as a summer medical fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center as part of what I consider to be the best summer opportunity of my career thus far. I spent 8 weeks doing research in Gestational Trophoblastic Diseases as well as shadowing an Obstetrician/Gynecologist Oncologist. It was a great learning opportunity for me because of my interest in the field of ob/gyn and cancer research. Alongside spending time in research labs and the hospital, I attended lunch time seminars on a variety of topics with my favorite being a workshop on reducing stress level via a special form of Yoga.

The disease I chose to study generated a small sample size due its rare nature, which made my findings not as strong. Nonetheless, I did write a paper for publication that will be submitted soon and hopefully published. I ended the program by partaking in a poster presentation of my study.

This summer program opened a lot of opportunities for me: I met a lot of potential mentors and formed new friendships.  It is an amazing program, and I urge all current first and second year to consider applying for it next summer.