WVU medical student first in state selected for prestigious NIH scholar program

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MORGANTOWN – One West Virginia University student is taking her passion for biomedical research to the next level after becoming the first in the state to be selected for a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) program.

Sundus Lateef, a second year medical student in the WVU School of Medicine and Bridgeport native, was one of only 50 students selected from across the nation to participate in the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP).

The MRSP program was created in 2012 to build the next generation of impactful clinician-scientists by inspiring careers in biomedical research. As an MRSP scholar, Lateef will live on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland for one year and participate in a variety of training and research activities under the guidance of an NIH advisor and a research mentor.

“I’m so excited to bring what WVU has taught me to the NIH, where I know I will experience top level research and interact with scientific leaders conducting innovative programs,” said Lateef. “This experience will continue to inspire me with ways and practical applications to become a better physician-scientist.”

While only in her second year of medical school, this is one of many impressive accomplishments Lateef has achieved as a WVU student. She is a past participant of WVU’s Initiation to Research Opportunities Summer Research Program and is a Van Liere Research Scholar.

She is also the 2019 recipient of the School of Medicine’s annual Patricia Fedeles Award, given to a medical student who shows outstanding compassion.

Lateef’s past awards include the prestigious WVU Foundation Scholarship and Order of Augusta, both of which she received as an undergraduate student in the WVU Honors College.

Lateef credits the high level of mentoring and sponsorship she has received during her time at WVU as a key factor in all of her success.

“I am truly thankful to have had the opportunity to be mentored and learn from great scientists and teachers like Dr. Sally Hodder, Dr. Paul Lockman, and Dr. Robert Tallaksen,” said Lateef.

“This is an incredible opportunity that will provide an invaluable toolkit of skills and experiences for Sundus as she embarks on her career as a physician-scientist,’ said Sally Hodder, M.D., director of the NIH-funded West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “It really is the chance of a lifetime for these gifted, young investigators.

After completing the MRSP program, Lateef is interested in pursuing a career in the fields of oncology or radiology. After completing her training, she plans to pursue a career in academic medicine in West Virginia.

“Sundus is the perfect example of an intelligent and passionate future physician-scientist who will be driving impactful research and patient care in the years to come. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this opportunity,” said Hodder, who has served as a mentor for Lateef.

WVCTSI Background

WVCTSI is funded by an IDeA Clinical and Translational grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (5U54GM104942-03) to support the mission of building clinical and translational research infrastructure and capacity to impact health disparities in West Virginia.