Kimberly Thomas, MSc
I’ve had a long-standing interest in research for many years and a passion for pursuing a career in academic medicine. Prior to starting medical school, I studied medical anthropology at Oxford University in Oxford, England, obtaining my Masters of Science degree. This set a foundation upon which I could experience the field of medicine from a multidisciplinary and humanistic vantage point.
Since this experience, I’ve spent time studying oncology by training in basic research methodology at multiple laboratories. During a year off from medical school, I worked in the Department of Hematology-Oncology at Children’s Medical Center under Dr. George Buchanan. My translational research project investigated the long-term morbidity and mortality rates of children born in Dallas with sickle cell anemia. I presented the findings of my work as an abstract at the American Society of Hematology national meeting. For this work, I received a Graduate Certificate in the Clinical Research Scholar Program at UT Southwestern Medical School. I then pursued a summer research fellowship at Johns Hopkins University under the auspices of the Cancer in the Underprivileged, Indigent, or Disadvantaged (CUPID) Summer Program. In the lab of Dr. David Sidransky, I investigated the promoter regions of ovarian cancer cell lines as part of a project to discover cancer specific methylation patterns. It was during this research experience that I was exposed to the field of radiation oncology through Grand Rounds and clinical shadowing experiences with physicians in the field. Upon my return to medical school, I became involved with a clinical project in radiation oncology with Dr. Lucien Nedzi and Dr. Baran Sumer, which investigates the use of radiation in the treatment of advanced stage head and neck cancers. I found all these experiences incredibly exciting and wanted to share this love of oncology with the student body, so in 2010 I founded the Radiation Oncology Student Interest Group (ROSIG) which hosts lectures and special projects in radiation oncology for the UT Southwestern community
I plan to continue research in radiation oncology as part of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Minority Fellowship Award. With this funding, I will conduct research at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center investigating sensitization of breast and colon cancer stem cells to radiation therapy through hyperthermic enhancement with magnetic gold nanoshells. This work will form the basis of my medical oncology thesis dissertation and the graduate degree of an MD with Distinction in Research. I will present these findings at the ASTRO national meeting in 2012. I will also extend my clinical experience in radiation oncology during my final year of medical school as the recipient of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Award. This experience will allow me to train for two months at the National Cancer Institute.
I hope to pursue a career in academic medicine with a particular interest in treating and improving cancer care for disadvantaged communities. My advice for medical students would be to study hard and always keep your eyes and ears open for the things that interest you most. The cancer lectures during first year biochemistry classes sparked my interest and then having close family members affected by the disease made this interest personal. Life will sometimes draw you to a passion in strange ways – just have the courage to push on no matter how daunting or challenging the path may be to get there.
Contributor, Improved survival of children and adolescents with sickle cell disease. Quinn CT, Rogers ZR, McCavit TL, Buchanan GR. Blood. 2010 Mar 1
Second Author, American Society of Hematology, Poster Presentation, Survival of Children and Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease. Charles T. Quinn, M.D. M.S., Kimberly Thomas, B.S. M.S., Zora R. Rogers, M.D., and George R. Buchanan, M.D. Departments of Pediatrics, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA.
Co-Author, "Mohs Surgery—Adjunctive Treatment of Skin Cancer” Cutaneous Malignancy of the Head and Neck: A Multidisciplinary Approach, First Edition, co-author Valencia Thomas, MD. Plural Publishing, pending publication, 2010.
Second Author, Buchér JB, Thomas KM, Guzman D, Riley E, Dela Cruz N, Bangsberg DR. Community-based rapid HIV testing in homeless and marginally housed adults in San Francisco. HIV Med. 2007 Jan;8(1): 28-31.
Author, “Curl Up and Dye: Creating Power and Shaping Identity through the Manipulations of Hair” (2003), Harvard University Press, Honors Senior Thesis.
Contributor, 2002 World Report on Violence. World Health Organization. Geneva, Switzerland (Summer 2001).