Benjamin Farnia, a fourth-year medical student at Baylor, received the 2014 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship from Alpha Omega Alpha, a medical honor society.
This program provides $5,000 in research support for clinical investigation, basic laboratory research, epidemiology, social science/health services research, leadership or professionalism, along with additional funding for travel expenses to present results at a national meeting.
“That is pretty significant funding for a medical student,” says Farnia. “There are so many students here at Baylor doing outstanding research but I don’t think many students apply for this fellowship. It’s a great opportunity, so I encourage them to do so.”
Farnia’s research is at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center with his mentor, Dr. Paul Brown. He’s investigating factors that may predict whether patients who receive focal delivery of radiation for metastatic intracerebral tumors will experience hemorrhaging in the brain following treatment.
Farnia plans to pursue radiation oncology as his specialty. He has been interested in radiology since undergraduate school at UT Dallas. But after noticing his rapport with patients, Dr. Garrett “Rush” Lynch, professor of medicine and an oncologist at Baylor, encouraged Farnia to look into a field that would allow greater patient interaction. Radiation oncology is the perfect fit, Farnia says.
Like many Baylor medical students, Farnia has a keen interest in research, specifically clinical research. He started a research year in September 2013 and just resumed medical school in July. He devoted part of his research year to the Kuckein Fellowship.
The nationally-competitive fellowship is open to first-, second-, and third-year medical students from schools with active Alpha Omega Alpha chapters or associations. Interested students must first apply at the school level, and then one candidate from each school is selected to compete for the fellowship nationally.