Research symposium hosts aspiring scientists and physicians

The 14th Annual Houston Premedical Academy Research Symposium took place this January at Baylor College of Medicine. The collaborative event was established to further enhance participants’ preparedness for medical school and to cultivate their interest in research and careers in academic medicine. Participants include students in the Houston Premedical Academy, which is a collaboration of DeBakey High School for Health Professions, the University of Houston and Baylor. Students from the Saturday Morning Science Summer Research Program, organized by Baylor’s Office of Diversity and Community Outreach, also participate.

Students worked on the existing research projects of researchers and physicians at Baylor and then, at the symposium, presented their posters to judges, their peers and the greater Baylor community. The event included two student oral presentations, which were given this year by Nancy Shenoi of the University of Houston and Frederick Nelson of Howard University. Shenoi is a part of the Houston Premedical Academy and Nelson previously participated in the Saturday Morning Science and Saturday Morning Science Summer Research Program.

“Upon completion of the Saturday Morning Science Program, those students selected for the Saturday Morning Science Summer Research have their enthusiasm for a career in medicine and the biosciences elevated to another level. Topped off with participation in our symposium by displaying and discussing their posters, these students are prepared to start college and their medically-oriented careers as they hit the ground running,” said Dr. James Phillips, senior associate dean and professor of pediatrics at Baylor and director of the Office of Diversity and Community Outreach.

This year’s guest speaker was Dr. Oluyinka O. Olutoye, professor of surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor and co-director of the Texas Children’s Fetal Center. Olutoye’s talk was titled “The Evolution of an Idea: Early Markers of Necrotizing Enterocolitis.”

An awards ceremony for the poster presentations concluded the event. Awardees included:

College level:

1st place: Fatima Syed (University of Houston)

2nd place: Roya Zamani (University of Houston)

3rd place: Willa Hong (University of Houston)

High School level:

1st place: Rubi Valenzuela (YES Prep East End)

2nd place: Chelsea Livingston (St. John’s School)

3rd place: Emilia Gonzalez (Seven Lakes High School)