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Emory Winship Cancer Institute Summer Scholars Research Program

Updated: May 5

This summer, I had the privilege of being selected for the Emory Winship Cancer Institute's Summer Scholars Research Program. Known as the SSRP, it is a highly selective research internship for 10 students. When Covid-19 hit and as summer internships were being cancelled everywhere, the Program Directors took the strong decision to continue the program as planned. They reorganized and changed the SSRP to a virtual format - and it became the most stellar and well-organized 7 week session that we were all fortunate to be a part of.

Directed by Dr. Cynthia Giver and Dr. Nisha Joseph, Associate Professors of the Dept. of Hematology and Medical Oncology, the students work one-on-one with a Winship researcher or clinician who mentors them through a research project, learn about the workings of interesting and exciting places, such as CDC Museum, Emory Proton Therapy Center and Georgia Institute of Technology to learn about Atlanta's research community, attend lectures given by Winship oncologists to gain a better understanding of the breadth of cancer research, witness the operations of Georgia's only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, and present their research to Winship doctors, researchers, and graduate students.

During these seven weeks, I attended virtual lectures given by 30 oncologists and biomedical engineers and independently created an oral cancer website portal with resources for cancer patients and their caregivers. Directed by Dr. Joseph, Dr. Giver, and Dr. Nooka, I authored a review paper - "Novel BCMA-directed therapies for treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma" comparing the effectiveness of three main treatment modalities BCMA: bispecific T-cell engagers (BiTE’s), antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T-cell therapy. Week-after-week, I met for ongoing review sessions to develop my research.

The level of organization and the attention to detail is difficult to put into simple words. It is truly when doctors of such stature put aside their own valuable time to impart their knowledge and mentor young students - that the next generation of passionate researchers, doctors, engineers, and leaders determined to make a difference for society is created. My deepest thanks to the faculty of Emory Cancer Winship Institute for the experience they gave me, one that has given me so much inspiration and motivation for the future.

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