UC San Diego’s Carmona Receives CTRI Fourth-year Medical Student Award

UC San Diego’s Carmona Receives CTRI Fourth-year Medical Student Award

At the May 31 awards ceremony are (from left): Gary S. Firestein, MD, Director of CTRI; Ruben Carmona, MD, recipient of the CTRI Fourth-year Medical Student Award; Loren K. Mell, MD, research advisor and mentor to Carmona; and Arno Mundt, MD, Chair, Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences, UC San Diego. Photo by Jill Dumbauld, CTRI.

June 2, 2014 – Ruben Carmona, MD, whose research focus is on radiation oncology, optimization of clinical trials design, and statistical programming, has received the UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) Fourth-year Medical Student Award. Carmona was honored during an awards ceremony on May 31 for UC San Diego medical students. On June 1, he received a medical degree at UC San Diego.

"Ruben has been a truly outstanding researcher. He is highly professional in the way he performs his duties and conducts himself personally with others," wrote Loren K. Mell, MD, in a letter nominating Carmona for the award. Mell, Associate Professor and Director, Division of Clinical and Translational at UC San Diego's Research Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences, has been Carmona's research advisor and mentor for the past four years. "Ruben has developed a tremendous skill set over the years I have mentored him. He has gained significant depth of knowledge regarding study designs, and has mastered complex data analysis, including technical programming."

As a medical student researcher at UC San Diego's Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences from 2009 to 2014, Carmona worked on the optimization of clinical trial designs in head and neck and gynecologic malignancies; longitudinal and cross-sectional studies of hematologic toxicities in patients receiving chemoradiation for pelvic malignancies; and dosimetric predictors of genitourinary toxicity for cervical cancer patients treated with chemoradiation.

Carmona plans to begin a post-doctoral fellowship in Mell's laboratory following graduation. "He [Carmona] is among the top three students I have ever had the privilege to work with, and I entrust him to lead my most difficult projects," Mell said.

Carmona received a bachelor's degree in chemistry/biochemistry in 2008 and a Master of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research in 2013, both from UC San Diego, before receiving his medical degree. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation Scholarship Award, and has been an author on more than a dozen peer-reviewed publications and significantly contributed to grants.

The CTRI award, designed to recognize students with outstanding potential for future contribution to translational research, is typically given to one fourth-year medical student per year. Students are nominated by their research mentors.

Congratulations, Dr. Carmona!

Written by Patti Wieser