Summer Scholars: Meet Lauren Thomas

The Medical Student Summer Research Scholars (MSSRS) Program is a summer research opportunity open to rising MS-II students only. The project period is 7 weeks during the summer, and students are expected to devote at least 6 full weeks to the project. Students attend weekly work-in-progress sessions and provide the opportunity for MSSRS participants to present their work to student peers.  A final report is presented in the form of a poster or oral presentation at a local, regional, or national meeting. The Interprofessional Education Symposium held each spring at Campbell University is an opportunity to present, and all MSSRS participants are encouraged to present a poster at the event.

Over the next week, we will feature some 2020 Summer Scholars while the 2021 scholars begin their research experiences.

Name: Lauren Thomas
Hometown: Clinton, NC
Undergrad: BS in Public Health, College of Charleston
Masters: MS in Biomedical Science, CUSOM
student receiving white coat
Research Project:
Evaluating the Risk of Progression from Prediabetes to Type 2 Diabetes
PI: Dr. Nicholas Pennings (team: Dr. Matthew Peterson, Stephanie Everest, OMS-III)


What was your role in the project?
My role involved searching the literature for data regarding the progression from Prediabetes to Type 2 Diabetes over a 5-year span. We created an algorithm to perform a retrospective cohort analysis of data collected over decades by the Fels Longitudinal Study. Overall, we wanted to understand if the addition of screening for fasting insulin along with fasting glucose and A1c% created a better tool to predict if an individual could develop type 2 diabetes.  A chance at earlier prediction could allow for earlier intervention to reverse the disease process.

Why did you choose to participate in the Summer Scholars Program?
I chose to participate in the Summer Scholars program after hearing classes before me discuss how beneficial it was to get mentorship in collecting data, writing a manuscript, and presenting research prior to rotations and residency. Though I had written and presented literature reviews before, this experience was my first opportunity to interpret and apply real data to a research question. I am interested in pursuing a career in primary care, and this project reinforced to me the emphasis physicians should place on preventive medicine. I will definitely carry this knowledge with me when I interact with future patients!

Advice for MS-Is: Never be afraid to introduce yourself or ask for help.  You never know what opportunities could arise from a simple conversation!

graduate with family