First in her family to enter the medical field, student from El Paso now recognized by two major research organizations
El Paso, Texas (KTSM) – A medical student at the Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Center in El Paso has been recognized by two major research organizations for her role in a study of gallbladder cancer.
The first in her family to enter the medical field, Marah Hamdan is a fourth-year medical student and was shortlisted for a student research award for the “Adenocarcinoma of the Gallbladder” project. The impact of tumor location and minimally invasive surgery on survival. She is co-first author of the research, along with Felipe B. Maegwa, MD, FACS, clinical associate professor of surgery at the University of Arizona.
Held virtually this year due to the pandemic, Hamdan presented his research at the organizations’ Southern Region Joint Meeting, Feb. 25-27. The Student Research Award is presented by the Southern Chapter of the American Federation of Medical Research and the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery (PDF download).
“It was a great lesson, both in mentorship and research,” said Hamdan, who is expected to graduate this year.
His mentor for the project is Ioannis Konstantinidis, MD, assistant professor of complex surgical oncology and general oncology at TTUHSC El Paso.
“As the first person in my family to enter the medical field, I understood the importance of having a mentor who is genuinely interested in your success and whom I can ask questions about professional and personal orientations. “Hamdan said.
As knowledge about gallbladder cancer has evolved over the past decades, the team’s research adds valuable data on the prognostic importance of tumor location in the gallbladder as well as the safety of minimally invasive surgery for gallbladder cancer, said Dr. Konstantinidis.
“As a faculty member, it is a pleasure and an honor to work with medical students, and I consider it very important for them to have the opportunity to present nationally and learn to conduct and publish clinical research,” said Dr Konstantinidis. noted.
Hamdan moved to the United States from Saudi Arabia aged 14 in 2010 and considers El Paso his hometown. Now about to earn her medical degree at Foster School of Medicine, she is pursuing a residency in general surgery with the goal of becoming a colorectal surgeon. She hopes that one day she can make a difference in the place she calls home.
“There is a need for colorectal surgeons, especially in El Paso, where I would like to serve the community,” Hamdan said.
The opportunity to conduct a research project as a student at TTUHSC El Paso helped build a strong foundation for her career.
“It was an important experience – learning the process of conducting meaningful research with real-world implications, from inception to multiple submissions and ultimately being accepted,” Hamdan said.
“I am thrilled as this is my first presentation on surgical research at a regional conference. It’s a stepping stone, and I look forward to my future in surgery.