January 25, 2023
Madeline Guy is a second-year medical student at McGovern Medical School at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, with an expected graduation date in May 2025. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Medicine, Health, and Society from Vanderbilt University in 2021 as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
Ms. Guy is one of the initial PIDS SUMMERS Scholars cohort. She spent the summer months of 2022 conducting basic science research into two-component system within group A streptococcus in the lab of PIDS member Anthony Flores, MD, MPH, PhD, FPIDS at McGovern Medical School. It was Dr. Flores who informed her of the program. Her work focused in on highly conserved residues within the system and the potential role these residues may have in antimicrobial susceptibility and virulence.
She has continued to work on the project and has shared her research during the Texas Medical Center Antimicrobial Resistance and Stewardship Conference in Houston and had a poster presentation at McGovern’s research fair. She will also be presenting her poster at the St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference in March.
Ms. Guy felt fortunate that SUMMERS lined up with her medical school’s own summer research program. While the requirement to write a project proposal and personal statement could seem daunting to students, having to put forethought into her proposal allowed her to think critically about her project goals, what type of pediatric infectious diseases engagement may be implemented and what shadowing opportunities could be involved. Despite these demands, she found the application process straightforward and approachable.
SUMMERS has provided Ms. Guy with lessons on what her career trajectory may be. She believes medical students tend to gravitate toward clinical research in a hospital setting because “that feels more immediately transferrable to daily practice. But I’m now really excited about the basic science of it. It kind of feels like I’m behind the scenes on cutting edge research and that’s a cool feeling. I know now more than ever how important basic science research is and how it underpins clinical practice.”
Additionally, SUMMERS has reinforced the concept that research, like medicine, is a team sport. Experts from different niches of the field offered equipment, advice, thought-provoking questions that helped guide her through the program. “As a trainee and the most junior member of the team, that was one of the most encouraging parts of SUMMERS. These collaborations illustrated the altruism of medicine that we all dream about, that we are all working towards the same goal. That was encouraging and something I will take with me.”
As a medical student, Ms. Guy was excited to learn that there would be such opportunities in an academic subspecialty, believing that those were reserved for residents, fellows, junior faculty. As a result of the experience as a student, she is “highly considering” pediatric ID as a potential career. “This feels like one of the most collaborative fields and I think that’s encouraging me to consider pediatric ID as a specialty or career. It seems so close-knit and supportive. That translates to trainees.”