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Interns at the University of Michigan Medical School gather for a photo.

Pre-med undergrad explores the convergence of medicine and research

By Kallie Hagel

Connecting research to real world problems is at the core of an Oregon State University Honors College education, and, through a partnership with the University of Michigan Medical School’s Clinical Outcomes Research and Reporting Programs (MCORRP), honors students have the opportunity to get firsthand experience in scholarly application during a transformative learning opportunity. Spearheaded by Dr. Kim Eagle, ’76, an OSU alum and the director of the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, MCORRP bridges academia and real-world medical practice. An annual summer research experience for undergraduates trains the next generation of medical scholars in this approach, and each year, Dr. Eagle reserves a coveted spot in the program for an HC student, a tradition reflecting his dedication to his alma mater.

For Varsha Karthikeyan, now a fourth-year biology student on the pre-medicine track, the program provided a unique gateway to merge her passions for research and medicine. “After discovering the MCORRP internship through the Honors College newsletter, I was immediately drawn to the diverse opportunities it presented,” she shares.

The MCORRP internship offered Varsha a nuanced view of research in practice. “As an aspiring medical professional, I recognize the significance of comprehending the intricate connection between research and healthcare,” she says. This intersection facilitated her deeper understanding of how research translates into enhanced patient care.

Among the most notable aspects of her MCORRP experience was the freedom to design and pursue her own project. Using the International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection (IRAD), a rare but highly lethal heart condition, Varsha investigated demographic variations in treatment. Her findings represented a significant milestone, one she was able to share with working physicians. “This was a very rewarding experience as I was able to present my findings to physicians in the field and write an abstract that is currently in the works for publication.”

Read more about her internship experience here.