Orly Leiva, a fourth-year medical student, has been named by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) as one of 22 medical students selected to take part in the 2017 Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP).
The program encourages underrepresented minority medical students to pursue careers in hematology by supporting them as they implement their own hematology-related research project in the lab of a research mentor.
Under the guidance of his BUSM research mentor, Katya Ravid, DSc, professor of medicine and biochemistry, Leiva’s research will explore the mechanisms necessary for controlling lysyl oxidase (an enzyme vital to collagen fiber formation) in primary myelofibrosis, a disorder that leads to severe bone marrow fibrosis and abnormal blood cell counts. It is hoped this research will allow for greater understanding of one facet of the disease.
As part of the program, MMSAP participants receive $7,000 to help cover their research project and travel expenses to the 59th ASH Annual Meeting in December, where they will present their research findings during a special session. In addition, each student is paired with two ASH mentors: a research mentor who oversees the project and a career-development mentor who guides the participant throughout his or her MMSAP experience.
In addition to this honor, Leiva was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honors Society. He also received the Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship Award, and the American Society of Hematology 2016 Hematology Opportunities for the Next-Generation of Research Scientists (HONORS) award, also under the mentorship of Ravid.