CCOM Student Earns First Place for Research Poster

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December 15, 2020 | Downers Grove, IL

RachnaKarumuri Rachna Karumuri (CCOM 23) recently received the first-place award for her research poster from the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society.

A student from Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) recently received a first-place award for her research poster at the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society’s 2020 Annual Meeting and Winter Scientific Seminar. Rachna Karumuri (CCOM 23) received the award for the poster "Evaluation of Cornulin and DJ-1 as Novel Prognostic Biomarkers for Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma." 

Ms. Karumuri worked with her faculty mentor Hilal Arnouk, M.D., Ph.D.,  Assistant Professor, Pathology, to investigate the utility of two novel molecular biomarkers in the early diagnosis of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma lesions, a common type of skin cancer. The researchers are currently establishing the relationship between the expression of Cornulin and DJ-1 and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma progression. “We hypothesized that there will be an inverse relationship between Cornulin expression and cancer progression and a direct relationship between DJ-1 expression and cancer progression,” Ms. Karumuri said. “The data we have collected is aligned with our hypothesis. Next, we plan on running more experiments to correlate these two biomarkers with the clinical staging and outcome in each patient.”

In addition to presenting her findings at the virtual Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society meeting, Ms. Karumuri enjoyed the opportunity to explore the field of scientific research while also completing her degree in osteopathic medicine. “From this project, I have learned the importance of research in the clinical field. By running these experiments, I have seen first-hand how discoveries are made in the biomedical field through the painstaking efforts of hard-working physician-scientists in the lab,” she said. “This project has allowed me to explore my interests in the field of oncology, and I am excited to see the place research has in my future career as a physician.”

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