Skip Navigation
The Catalyst

Student honored with MUSC Physicans Scholarship

By Cindy Abole

Public Relations

Shikha Patel was selected as the 2013 MUSC Physicians/Medical Scientist Training Program Scholar.

MSTP student Shika Patel accepts MUSC Physicians Scholarship
Medical Scientist Training  Program student Shikha Patel, second from right, is presented with the MUSC Physicians/MSTP Scholarship by MSTP director Dr. Perry Halushka, from left, College of Medicine Dean Dr. Etta Pisano and MUSC Physicians’ President Dr. David Cole on Aug. 6. Photo by Anne Thompson, Digital Imaging

Each year, MUSC Physicians, the institution’s academic physicians practice group, awards funding to provide stipend awards for MSTP students. This year, Patel was the sole recipient of this scholarship.

According to Perry V. Halushka, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine and MSTP director, Patel was selected for multiple reasons.

“Ms. Patel was chosen based on her undergraduate academic performance, her prior research experiences and her interview with members of the MSTP admissions committee,” Halushka said.

Patel is currently taking classes in her first-year of medical school. By next summer, she will conduct a second lab rotation to potentially determine where she will conduct her dissertation research. In MUSC’s M.D./Ph.D. program, students are required to select a department or lab after completing the second year of medical school.

Originally from Boiling Springs, Patel is a May 2013 graduate of the University of South Carolina-Columbia where she earned a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and molecular biology and minor in medical humanities.

Patel’s research interest is in cancer biology with an additional interest in immunology. Earlier this summer, she completed a research rotation in the lab of Besim Ogretmen, Ph.D., professor and Eminent Scholar in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, where she was investigating the effects of sphingosine analogs on telomeric length and role in telomerase function in cancer cells.

She credits her interest in the MSTP to her undergraduate years where she worked for three years conducting cancer research. It was after that experience that she chose to pursue a career in medicine.

“I’ve realized that as a doctor I can impact a few individuals deeply during my lifetime, but as a researcher I would be able to assist an entire community of people. However, I still wanted to be able to affect patients on a personal basis and assist them individually.As a physician-scientist, I can practice both roles and decrease the ever-widening gap between the lab and the clinic,” Patel said.

Patel also would like to explore her interests in both hematology-oncology and surgery throughout her time at MUSC.
Each year, the MSTP scholarship committee reviews applications of all its incoming students.

For Fall 2013, the program welcomed six new first-year MSTP students to its ranks. Last year, the program celebrated the largest number of student applicants in its history.

For information, visit

October 18, 2013

© 2013  Medical University of South Carolina | Disclaimer