Western University of Health Sciences sent its largest contingent of students ever to the Western Medical Research Conference (WMRC), held annually in January in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Nineteen students from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP), four from COMP-Northwest, and four from the Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences (GCBS) delivered 22 research talks and four posters. 

WMRC is the largest faculty-mentored student and resident research meeting in the U.S., with nearly 500 abstracts presented by students, residents and faculty this year. 

The students were accompanied by research faculty mentors Drs. Hendrik Szurmant and Sebastien Fuchs from COMP. To assure a quality of abstracts (which are published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine) and presentations, Drs. Fuchs and Szurmant spent countless hours with the students to help with abstract preparation, submission and talk preparation. Students honed their presentations skills in six practice sessions in the weeks leading up to the conference. 

These efforts proved fruitful as COMP was by far the best represented osteopathic college, rivaling attendance rates of the largest allopathic medical schools in the country. COMP Class of 2021 students Andrew Bosomworth and Tania Torbati won awards for their research on prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, respectively. The inaugural Class of 2021 students from the longitudinal biomedical research track at COMP was well represented with six talks and one poster.  

The presenters were: COMP Class of 2021 students Kylie Mulvaney, Irene Kim, Jeffery Degrauw, Tania Torbati, Clare Moore, Kaitlyn Guadagno, Sara Shu, Ian Wong, Andrew Bosomworth, Fady Guirguis, Brittanie Robinson, Shalok Munjal, Danika Scott, Pari Vanjara, Elenie Philippas, Victoria Nguyen and Jacob Trotter, COMP Class of 2022 student Brian Diep, COMP Northwest Class of 2021 students Harmon Cannon, Brady Winfield and Micah Atwood, COMP-Northwest Class of 2020 student Michelle Mellon, and Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Class of 2019 students Arash Sherbaf, David Stufflebeam, Emerald Chiang and Amy Nham from GCBS. 

Abstracts for all presentations are published by the Journal of Investigative Medicine at https://jim.bmj.com/content/67/1#WesternMedicalResearchConference2019FormerlyWesternRegionalMeetingCarmelCaliforniaJanuary24262019

Attendance numbers among COMP students have doubled this year thanks to the generous support of WesternU leadership, including Vice President of Research and Biotechnology Steven Henriksen, PhD, COMP Dean Paula Crone, DO, GCBS Dean Michel Baudry, PhD, COMP Associate Dean of Basic Sciences and Research Nissar Darmani, PhD, COMP Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Michelle Park, EdD, COMP Chair of Internal Medicine Emmanuel Katsaros, DO, and Vice President for Enrollment Management and University Student Affairs Beverly Guidry, EdD.