A first-year medical student from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine has been awarded a prestigious fellowship funded through the American Urological Association.

First-year OUWB med student nets prestigious summer fellowship at Beaumont
Prasun Sharma
M1s Prasun Sharma (left) and Davit Meliksetyan train using the "Harvey Heart Sounds" cardiovasular training mannequin at the OUWB Clinical Skills Training & Simulation Center on the Troy campus of Beaumont Health. Sharma was recently awarded a fellowship and will be based at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

A first-year medical student from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine has been awarded a prestigious fellowship funded through the American Urological Association.

Prasun Sharma recently was chosen from among 40 applicants seeking funding for their respective fellowships.

During a 10-week fellowship this summer, Sharma will concentrate on a project called “Deployable Interstitial Cystitis Urine Diagnostic Technology Development.” He will receive a salary stipend of $4,000, and be part of a research team at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

“I’m really excited,” said Sharma. ”The team in the lab is incredible and they’ve been very helpful.”

According to the American Urological Association, Summer Medical Student Fellowships are designed to offer “outstanding medical students (the opportunity) to pursue urology research by engaging them in summer research fellowships alongside world-class urologic scientists.”

Program awards are sponsored by the Herbert Brendler, M.D., Research Fund; the Arkansas Urologic Society; the Florida Urological Society; the Nathirmal N. Lalchandani, M.D. Research Fund and the Urology Care Foundation, the official foundation of the AUA.

A specialty realized

Prasun Sharma military

Sharma

Sharma, originally from Nepal, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in web design and development from Brigham Young University. Before starting at OUWB in 2020, Sharma served four years in the U.S. Army, where he was a medic. It was during his experiences with the military that he realized he could combine his background in information technology with his interest in medicine to specialize in fields such as urology or radiology.

The fellowship project will be focused on development of a rapid test system for interstitial cystitis (IC), specifically with the military in mind, said Sharma.

According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, IC “is a bladder condition that usually consists of multiple symptoms. Most IC patients have recurring pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region, and urinary frequency (needing to go often) and urgency (feeling a strong need to go). IC may also be referred to as painful bladder syndrome (PBS), bladder pain syndrome (BPS), and chronic pelvic pain.”

Sharma said current diagnostic tests for IC can take a long time to produce results. The hope, he said, is to come up with a better test that can be incorporated into the military’s Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) program — a standard set of tests used to determine if soldiers are ready for pending deployments.

 Otherwise, he said, a person could end up deployed overseas with “painfully debilitating” IC.

“Once you’re out and overseas without a lot of medical care, it’s going to be a very difficult situation,” he said, adding that there’s also potential benefits to having such a test for civilians.

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Sharma’s fellowship will begin almost as soon as the current semester ends.

In addition to gaining research experience while furthering his interest in urology, Sharma said he views the opportunity as another way to give back to the people in the military that he still considers family.

In the notification email received from the AUA Office of Research, the organization said Sharma was selected based on his “potential for a successful career in urologic research, the quality of the mentorship you will receive, and the high scientific merit of your proposed research project.”

The organization said applications were reviewed by its Research Grants Review Panel comprised of leading experts in urologic research.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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