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April 19, 2013 - USA Medical Student Among Winners of National Medical Students Competition

Monica Kumar, a first-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was recently among the five winners in the American College of Physicians’ 2013 National Medical Students Competition.

Kumar was selected for her abstract submission titled "Liraglutide (GLP-1 Receptor Agonist) is a Useful Adjunct with Insulin in the Treatment of a Rodent Model of Type 1 Diabetes."

As a winner, Kumar was invited to give a podium presentation during the 2013 Internal Medicine Conference in San Francisco on April 13.

Kumar, who earned her undergraduate degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington (UW), said the abstract was based off her work at the 2012 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ (NIDDK) Medical Student Research Program in Diabetes at UW.

She said her research could potentially allow Type 1 diabetics to better control the negative side effects of taking insulin, a hormone that is essential for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease in which there are high levels of glucose, or sugar, in the blood.

“While insulin improves glycemic control, it also increases the risk of hypoglycemia and weight gain,” Kumar said. “Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists are currently used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes through their actions to increase insulin secretion and reduce both glucagon secretion and food intake.”

In this study, Kumar examined whether the GLP-1 receptor agonist, liraglutide, is useful in the treatment of a rodent model of type 1 diabetes. “What we found suggested that liraglutide used in combination with insulin decreased food intake and weight gain in addition to controlling hyperglycemia,” she said.

Kumar said winning the American College of Physicians’ 2013 National Medical Students Competition will enhance her experience during medical school at USA.

“It has encouraged me to apply for other research competitions and to expand my interest in the field of diabetes,” she said.

According to Kumar, her involvement in the sixth annual USA College of Medicine Research Forum in 2012 helped her get to this point.

“The research forum was a wonderful opportunity because I got to present the research I have been doing at UW with faculty at USA via an oral presentation and a poster,” she said. “After the presentation I received great feedback from my professors at USA, and it has increased my interest in studying diabetes.”

Kumar will return to the University of Washington again this summer to participate in the 2013 NIDDK Medical Student Research Program in Diabetes.

To learn more about the National Medical Students Competition, click here.

To view Kumar's research poster, click here.

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