McKay-Corkum named Medical Research Scholar by National Institutes of Health

By Megan Bard

UMass Medical School Communications

July 03, 2018
  Grace McKay-Corkum

Grace McKay-Corkum

The National Institutes of Health has named third-year School of Medicine student Grace McKay-Corkum a 2018 Medical Research Scholar. McKay-Corkum will spend a year in residence conducting an independent biomedical research project under the mentorship of principal investigators at the NIH’s national headquarters in Bethesda, Md.

“The NIH Medical Research Scholar Program is unique in that it allows medical school students interested in research to train and be a part of cutting-edge research team for a year onsite,” McKay-Corkum said. “By spending a year working on research in the lab, I hope to learn from some of the top researchers in their field and contribute to their efforts. I'm also looking forward to sharing this exciting experience with the other students in the program.”

This is not McKay-Corkum’s first trip to the NIH. She worked on research at the NIH while a student at Smith College and again after she graduated.

“I found it to be a terrific, challenging learning environment. My time in medical school has shown me how much I love patient care, but I love lab research as well. The MRSP program fits perfectly with my goals as I want research to be an integral part of my career as a physician. I am very excited to be going back to research equipped with my new, broadened perspective as a medical student,” she said.

The Medical Research Scholars Program is a year-long enrichment program that provides mentored training to creative, research-oriented medical, dental and veterinary students on the intramural NIH campus. McKay-Corkum, of Rehoboth, joins 36 students from across the country for the program. The residential program enables scholars to conduct basic, clinical and translational research in areas that match their personal interests and career goals.

“The NIH Medical Research Scholars Program attracts the brightest talent from across the country. These scholars are the future leaders in American medicine,” said Thomas R. Burklow, MD, director of the program.

Scholars participate in structured program activities including weekly journal club meetings; lectures on basic, translational and clinical research topics; and participation in clinical rounds in the NIH Clinical Center. The students also present their research to the NIH community and at domestic professional conferences.

Nearly 275 students have completed the NIH program since 2012. School of Medicine ’16 alumna Josephine Larkin Harrington, MD, was a 2014 NIH scholar; School of Medicine ’18 alumna Jacqueline Pires, MD, was a 2016 NIH scholar; and School of Medicine ’19 MD candidate Jason Lau, a 2017 NIH scholar, is cmpleting his year-long fellowship this summer.