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What’s normally considered a basic requirement for UCF medical students has yielded recognition from the American Heart Association for four select students for their original research on cardiac disease.

The students were chosen from 120 people in their class to receive a $4,500 Health Sciences Fellowship Award after completing the required FIRE module.

The mandatory module, which stands for Focused Inquiry and Research Experience, aims to instill a spirit of inquiry among medical students by mandating students to two years of scientific research.

“It’s always incredible to receive recognition for efforts that you’re doing, and it’s exciting because research in this topic may not have happened without this grant money,” said recipient Jeffrey Fleming, who will be conducting research on the cardiac effects of ADHD medicine. “Speaking with physicians and friends that are on these medications, they have a lot of questions about some of the effects, but it’s really hard to find a definitive answer to those questions.

“It’s really exciting to do research that may have an impact on patient care in the future.”

Class of 2018 medical students Tiffany Chan, Trevor Getz and Priya Patel will also be honored with the fellowship grant, which has been made possible through the Greater Southeast Chapter of the American Heart Association, led by the College of Medicine’s associate dean of research, Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy.

Each student has additionally been assigned a FIRE mentor, chosen from College of Medicine core faculty members and other community volunteers active in their field.

The mentors will help in providing guidance for designing and conducting successful studies to the recipients, a majority of whom have never conducted this type of research.

“We want to extend a special thank you to each of these student’s FIRE research mentors for their generous donation of time and support for these projects and the student’s overall education,” said Dr. Steven Ebert, a cardiac disease researcher who directs the FIRE module, in a press release.

Fleming said his direct mentor has impacted him by taking time to help him determine a research plan.

“As someone who’s never worked with human subjects before, there’s a lot of hurdles to clear to make sure that you are treating your subject appropriately,” Fleming said.

Fleming said Dr. Bernard Gros, her direct mentor who is a senior faculty member at the College of Medicine and a cardiologist at UCF Health, has taken a lot of time to meet with her and facilitate the equipment needed for her research design.

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Daniela Marin is the Entertainment Editor for the Central Florida Future.

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