March 26, 2001
Med student Parikh
By Joy Bell
Not many medical students take a year off to enrich their education with research, but thats just what third-year medical student Chirag Parikh did in order to work with Emory Eye Center researcher Henry Edelhauser. Under the guidance of Edelhauser, whose expertise is corneal research, Parikh has found a second home, at least for this year.
Obtaining funding from the Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) foundation
is not unusual for Eye Center researchersbut highly unusual for
any medical student. Parikh put together funding from the Eye Center,
along with RPBs $12,000 grant for a year of research, between his
junior and senior years at the School of Medicine.
RPBs Medical Student Eye Research Fellowships are designed to stimulate
gifted medical school students to consider careers in eye research,
according to its application.
Eye Center researchers have mentored the future M.D. as hes developed
his science and research skillsnot to mention the contributions
Parikh has made in Eye Center labs.
This is the first time a medical student from Emory has obtained
funding for a year to undertake research in the Department of Ophthalmolo-gy,
Edelhauser said. Chirag has made a significant contribution to our
laboratory research, and this grant will help prepare him for whatever
future career moves he intends.
Founded in 1960 by Jules Stein, RPB has channeled more than $170 million
into crucial eye research at medical institutions throughout the United
States through its mission to preserve vision and restore sight. Since
then it has been identified with virtually every major scientific advance
in eye research.
Although Parikh is intent on his original goalbecoming an ophthalmologisthe
feels this additional research year will enable him to make a clearer
decision within the field. Hell know firsthand the difference ophthalmology
and its ongoing research is making to patients. Ill know more
about the field than just how to spell it, Parikh quipped.
Studying isolated corneal tissue, Parikh is attempting to discover if certain new enzymatic compounds are better than the old ethylene oxide, which could be carcinogenic.