News

7.08.2014

Student Researcher Honored with a Dozen Accolades in Two Years

Thanks to an inimitably successful two years of research at the Miller School, Shailee Patel can add a remarkable list of accomplishments to her curriculum vitae as she heads back to medical school to complete her fourth-year clinical rotations.

Patel, who took those two years off from medical school to work in the laboratory of Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery and Director of the Wound Healing and Regenerative Medicine Research Program, earned 12 honorable distinctions during her research tenure.

“I’m very grateful for the incredible mentorship during my research fellowship,” Patel said. “Dr. Tomic-Canic’s charisma relentlessly motivated me to apply myself to a level beyond my expectations. With immense support from all the faculty, residents, administration and staff in the department, this experience has helped me appreciate the rewarding field of translational research. Getting to work both at the bench and bedside has shown me a different approach to connecting with the world of medicine that I will carry forward with me on my future endeavors.”

In 2013, Patel received the Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship Award, the Wound Healing Society’s Young Investigator Award and the Medical Student Fellowship Award from the American Dermatological Association. She also received a grant from the John K. Robinson Fund, which offers University of Miami student-researchers opportunities to present their work at national conferences and poster competitions.

The same year, Patel won first place for Outstanding Basic Science Oral Presentation at the Eastern-Atlantic Student Research Forum. She also won the Dermatology Poster Award and Best Overall Poster for her work, “Predictive Biomarkers: Changing the Treatment Paradigm of Diabetic Foot Ulcers,” at the 54th Annual National Student Research Forum.

Patel, who will graduate from the Miller School with distinction in research, collected five other accolades this year – The Albert M. Kligman Travel Fellowship, the Excellence in Translational Regenerative Science Award from the Wound Healing Society, the Miller School’s Celia and Samuel Resnik Research Fellow Award and Research Distinction Award, and, under the mentorship of Robert S. Kirsner, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Vice Chair of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, the Diversity Mentorship Award from the American Academy of Dermatology.

“Every student who spent a year doing research in our program has won one or more awards, but Shailee’s success is exceptional,” Tomic-Canic said. “In addition to her work in the laboratory, Shailee was active in collaborating with other clinical and research faculty in the department that resulted in multiple publications. Her early accomplishments hold a lot of promise for a bright future in clinical research — the ultimate reward for all her mentors.”

In addition to Patel, several other students, fellows and faculty, including research fellow Lucas E Cavallin, Ph.D.; Paolo Romanelli, M.D., associate professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery; and Stephen C. Davis, B.S., research professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery, brought home awards from the Symposium of Advanced Wound Care and Wound Healing Society’s 2014 annual meeting. Additionally, M.D./M.P.H. student Elizabeth Yim won first place at the 2014 Eastern-Atlantic Student Research Forum, following Patel’s win last year.

“In the past five years, the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery in addition to expanding its research portfolio has dedicated major efforts and resources to build a successful mentoring program that fosters clinical, translational and basic science research for residents, and medical, undergraduate and graduate students and fellows,” Tomic-Canic said. “As a result, our mentees present their research at national and international meetings, and are winning awards and fellowships. It is wonderful to see the change of culture in which research becomes an important foundation that these young generations will take from their experience and training, regardless of what specialty they will pursue in the future.”

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