In his last year as an undergraduate student in bioengineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Sheun Aluko took a contemporary dance class and two yoga classes. Inspired by the intersection of movement and bioengineering, Aluko was drawn to the possibility that technology could provide real-time feedback for physical therapy.
On May 16, at the 35th annual Stanford Medical Student Research Symposium, Aluko, now a third-year medical student at Stanford, discussed his research project, “Development of a wearable gait-training device for children with cerebral palsy.” He is conducting the research under the guidance of a faculty mentor, Jessica Rose, PhD, professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of the Motion & Gait Analysis Laboratory at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.
Aluko was one of 64 medical students who presented posters of their research projects to a roomful of their peers, faculty, staff and others at the symposium in Berg Hall at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge. Forty-eight faculty and staff members served as judges. They circulated, asking questions of the presenters and taking notes.
“This symposium is the one yearly session where the students are the focus,” said Neil Gesundheit, MD, MPH, interim senior associate dean for medical education and professor of medicine. “Their projects reflect close collaborations between our students and our faculty, because typically on each poster the student is first author, and the faculty mentor and sponsor of the work is senior author.”
‘At the edges of science’
This year’s posters represented just a sampling of work by Stanford’s medical students, many of whom present their research at other national and international conferences instead of, or in addition to, presenting at the symposium. Their research interests span an enormous range.
“Our students are constantly interested in being at the edges of science and finding opportunities to get into those labs and do things, which I think is super exciting,” said Laurence Baker, PhD, director of the Scholarly Concentration Program and professor of health research and policy.