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Medical Physics PhD student Meyer awarded Fulbright Fellowship

May 29, 2024
Elizabeth Murphy/MD Anderson UTHealth Houston Graduate School

Medical Physics PhD student Meyer awarded Fulbright Fellowship

Henry Meyer, a PhD student in the medical physics program, has been selected to receive a 2024 Fulbright Fellowship to support his research in radiation therapy to treat cancer. His advisor is Radhe Mohan, PhD.

With his Fulbright Fellowship, Meyer will be investigating how radiation therapy can be used to stimulate the immune system to attack and eliminate cancer throughout the body. Radiation therapy has a long history in cancer treatment, with its first use documented at the beginning of the 20th century. Current research has found that on rare occasions, in patients with multiple tumors, radiation to a single tumor can result in the elimination of cancer across the body. Meyer’s project seeks to categorize the differences in immune responses across different types of therapy, as researchers do not yet fully understand how to consistently elicit this immune response.

After he graduates, Meyer hopes to be accepted to a medical physics residency and pass the medical physics board exams. After completing these steps, he will be a clinical medical physicist. As a clinical medical physicist, he will work ensuring that radiation therapy machines operate correctly for the safe and efficacious treatment of patients.

Meyer’s journey to a PhD program has not always been easy. As a first-generation undergraduate and graduate student, he says the idea of doing a PhD and being a scientist always felt out of reach, and that his acceptance to the program felt surreal. “It took me a while to process and have the ‘wow, that happened’ moment,” he says. But he approaches life’s challenges with a positive mindset. “I think that viewing any particular moment as a failure is not a productive thing,” he says. “There are only so many things you can control…some things happen at random…and sometimes things just don’t work out. If you’re still on the right side of the ground, then you haven’t failed, and you have another chance.

The support Meyer receives at the Graduate School is central to his success. “As a medical physics PhD student, the resources available at the MD Anderson Cancer Center are some of the best in the country,” he says. This is true both for the machines and the faculty he gets to work with, he says. His long-standing relationship with his advisor made him confident he could excel and be fully supported in his lab, and he appreciates the tutorial rotation utilized by the graduate school. He says being able to explore different projects through the rotation was especially helpful as a student coming directly to a PhD program from undergraduate school. He also advises first-year students to find a lab in which they feel valued and supported. “It is hard to overstate the value of having good people around you,” he says. “I…owe a large part of me being a PhD student in this program, being awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, and all other aspects of my academic career to having good people around me that have been willing to go out of their way to support me.”

 

 

 

 

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