HHMI-SIRF Medical Research Fellowship Award

The Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation has launched a major new collaboration with Howard Hughes Medical Institute toward the future of the specialty with its announcement that it will fund one medical student conducting preclinical research in interventional radiology during 2014-2015 in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI) prestigious Medical Research Fellows Program. The Medical Research Fellows Program ("Med Fellows Program") supports a year of full-time biomedical research training for medical, dental, and veterinary students.

For Mentor Information, Click HERE.


  • Conduct a year of research at any academic or nonprofit institution in the United States or abroad (if your mentor is affiliated with a U.S. institution).
  • Select your basic, translational, or applied research project from a variety of research fields. Focus on research without the distraction of full-time coursework.
  • Travel to the Washington, D.C., area twice during the year to share your research and network with other trainees and renowned biomedical investigators.
  • Attend Medical Research Fellows regional events and other enrichment activities.


  • Annual stipend of $30,000
  • Research allowance of $5,500 for research-related travel and some research costs
  • Fellow's allowance of $5,500 for health, dental, and vision insurance and some education-related costs

Application Deadline: January 12, 2016

For application and eligibility requirements, please visit www.hhmi.org/medfellowships.

2014-15 HHMI-SIRF Research Fellowship Award Winner

Erik Velez, a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco, has been awarded the 2014-15 HHMI-SIRF research fellowship. He will be working with Dr. Muneeb Ahmed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School on studying the secondary local and systemic effects of image-guided microwave thermal ablation on tissue and tumor biology.

Image-guided tumor ablation using radiofrequency and more recently microwave energy is used to treat a range of focal tumors (>100,000 treatments/year world-wide) and offers many advantages over alternative therapies. Dr. Ahmed's lab has recently shown that RF tissue ablation can activate several pathways (IL-6, HGF/c-Met, and HIF-1alpha) that lead to pro-oncogenic secondary systemic effects, and that these effects can vary based upon primary site of ablation and tumor type. Erik will investigate this further by studying potentially similar effects for microwave ablation. He will study how microwave ablation of normal liver and kidneys in rat models affects local and serum production of key mediators (HIF-1a, HGF, and IL-6) and periablational inflammation. He will also investigate whether microwave ablation can also stimulate distant tumor growth. Lastly, he will combine microwave ablation with adjuvant inhibitors, to block key pathways responsible for potentially deleterious effects of ablation. He hopes that this project will expose him to cutting edge oncology research in IR and animal research techniques that are central to translational research. By taking this year as an HHMI-SIRF Medical Research Fellow, he will be able to fully devote himself to research and develop the foundation necessary for a career as a physician-scientist in residency and beyond.

2013-14 HHMI-SIRF Research Fellowship Award Winner

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)-SIR Foundation Medical Research Fellow Update: Akshaar Brahmbhatt, 2013 Recipient

Since beginning his fellowship in the Fall of 2013 at the Mayo Clinic, Akshaar Brahmbhatt has worked with Dr. Sanjay Misra and his team on several projects examining the mechanisms of arteriovenous fistula failure. Throughout the year Mr. Brahmbhatt learned an array of research techniques from cytomechanics and nanoparticle drug delivery to using live kinetic imaging and ultrasound. Mr. Brahmbhatt’s main project examined the role of the IEX-1 gene in the setting of venous neointimal hyperplasia. The project used a knockout mouse model and in vitro techniques to better understand the role of IEX-1 in venous neointimal hyperplasia, which leads to arteriovenous fistula failure. The fellowship has allowed Mr. Brahmbhatt to work alongside a great mentor through the entire process of building a proposal, carrying out the experiments, and ultimately developing a translational objective. This has enabled Mr. Brahmbhatt to gain key insights into conducing robust scientific research. In addition to acquiring a strong research skill set, Mr. Brahmbhatt has published several papers and presented this work at SIR, ATVB, and other meetings. After returning to medical school, Mr. Brahmbhatt plans on specializing in interventional radiology and building a career in translational research.