Loyola Med Student Named to Prestigious NIH Research Scholars Program

News Archive April 30, 2013

Loyola Med Student Named to Prestigious NIH Research Scholars Program

MAYWOOD, Il. – Robin Ortiz, a third-year medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has been selected to the National Institutes of Health’s prestigious Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP), class of 2013-2014.

The MRSP is a comprehensive, year-long research-enrichment program designed to attract the most creative, research-oriented medical, dental, and veterinary students to the NIH’s intramural campus in Bethesda, MD.

Student scholars engage in a mentored research project that matches their professional interests and career goals. They experience the full continuum of biomedical research, from the laboratory bench to the patient bedside.

Ortiz, who is from New Jersey, graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, where she studied behavioral neuroscience and minored in psychoneuroimmunology. At Stritch School of Medicine, her  research interests are in neural and immune involvement in health and disease –  specifically, how the psyche affects healing. Clinical applications include pain conditions, neurodegenerative disorders, psychiatric conditions, and immunologic or rheumatologic conditions.

Before coming to Loyola, Ortiz was an Intramural Research Training Awardee at the National Institutes of Health, studying the neural-immune aspects of myofascial pain. She is continuing to explore these interests in her research at Loyola.

Ortiz said the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program will provide her with guidance to find the ideal mentor, and a project best suited for her career interests.

“I hope to gain research skills I wouldn't otherwise be able to obtain in medical school,” she said. “Some of these possibilities include training in neuroimaging or genomics as they apply to uncovering the mind-body connection, the placebo effect, or psychoneuroimmunology.”

Ortiz plans to work with mentors at Georgetown University and the Samueli Institute to seek career guidance and assistance in planning upcoming research studies and conferences. She also will work with Primary Care Progress, an organization dedicated to innovation in health care.

Her career goal is to be an academic primary-care physician-scientist. “I hope that my year as an NIH-MRSP scholar will be a step toward a career path in preventative medicine, dedicated to unveiling the mechanisms of healing,” she said.

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The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow's leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola's health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit LUC.edu/hsd.
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