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El Paso, Texas (KTSM) – A medical student at the Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Center in El Paso has been recognized by two major research organizations for her role in a study of gallbladder cancer.

The first of her family to enter the medical field, Marah Hamdan is a fourth year medical student and was shortlisted for a student research award for the “Gallbladder Adenocarcinoma” project. The impact of tumor localization and minimally invasive surgery on survival. She is co-lead author of the research, along with Felipe B. Maegwa, MD, FACS, Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Arizona.

Held virtually this year due to the pandemic, Hamdan presented his research at the Joint Meeting of Organizations Southern regional meeting, February 25-27. The Student Research Award is presented by the Southern Chapter of the American Federation of Medical Research and the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery (PDF Download).

“It was a great lesson, both in mentoring and research,” said Hamdan, who is expected to graduate this year.

His mentor for the project is Ioannis Konstantinidis, MD, Assistant Professor of Complex Surgical Oncology and General Oncology at TTUHSC El Paso.

“As the first person in my family to enter the medical field, I saw the importance of having a mentor who is genuinely interested in your success and whom I can ask questions about regarding professional and personal directions. “said Hamdan.

As knowledge about gallbladder cancer has evolved over the past decades, the team’s research adds valuable data on the prognostic importance of tumor localization in the gallbladder as well as the safety of it. minimally invasive surgery for gallbladder cancer, said Dr. Konstantinidis.

“As a faculty member, it is a pleasure and an honor to work with medical students, and I consider it very important for them to have the opportunity to present at the national level and to learn how to conduct and publish clinical research, ”Dr. Konstantinidis mentioned.

Hamdan left Saudi Arabia for the United States at the age of 14 in 2010 and considers El Paso his hometown. Now that she is completing her medical degree at the Foster School of Medicine, she is pursuing a residency in general surgery with the goal of becoming a colorectal surgeon. She hopes she can one day make a difference where she lives.

“There is a need for female colorectal surgeons, especially in El Paso, where I would like to serve the community,” Hamdan said.

The opportunity to lead a research project as a student at TTUHSC El Paso has helped her establish a solid foundation for her career.

“It was an important experience – learning the process of doing meaningful research with real implications, from start to multiple submissions and ultimately being accepted,” Hamdan said.

“I am delighted, as this is my first surgical research presentation at a regional conference. This is a stepping stone and I look forward to my future in the surgical field.


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