is a third year medical student on the Savannah campus interested in pursuing Neurology as a specialty. She
first got involved in research in high school. While at Tech, she focused more on the neurosciences and bench research so in medical school she gravitated more towards clinical projects. She used her network to build connections that eventually led her to Stanford and a funded summer research project.
Marissa shares this story about her time at Stanford: “I was able to witness a new MRI-guided ultrasound procedure being used to treat a nurse disabled by essential tremor. After an hour in the MRI machine, her tremor was significantly improved, and, for the first time in years, she drank a cup of water without spilling a drop. For that to happen, a basic science researcher needed to elucidate the part in the brain responsible for essential tremor. A clinical/translational researcher needed to study how ultrasound beams could target that part of the brain and quantify its safety and efficacy in doing so. It was an experience I will never forget and is the perfect example of what happens when research meets patient care.”
Her advice to other medical students regarding research is to, “just get started. Don’t worry about finding the
mentor or project or lab. Reach out to someone and start somewhere; talking on the phone to someone about their academic interests is in no way a binding contract. I think I sent 50+ emails out and only got like 2-3 replies. Of those replies, one worked out. But that one connection landed me numerous other opportunities I would have never otherwise had access to.”