New lecture series encourages
Nick Hastings, OMS II
By Charlie Martinez
and Elizabeth Boyle
The sense of discovery—the idea that something has never before been
fully understood—is what draws Nick Hastings, OMS II, to
“I just think it’s fascinating,” said Hastings, who as an
undergraduate not only conducted chemistry research but also helped
teach a research-focused course on the topic.
Now Hastings, who is involved with research as a medical student as
well, is bent on sharing the experience with his classmates. Earlier
this year, he created the new Ohio University Heritage College of
Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) Research Lecture Series, a lineup of
talks by OU-HCOM faculty and other researchers meant to foster
biomedical, clinical and social science research among students.
“The lectures benefit new students who are just learning about the
also help students who want to start their own research project and
give them resources like where to go for funding.”
The series complements existing
research-focused opportunities at OU-HCOM such as
Research Day and initiatives like the
Research and Scholarly Advanced Fellowship (RSAF) Program.
Lectures thus far have included an overview of opportunities in
social and biomedical fields and a talk on health-related
research across the university in psychology
and biomedical engineering.
Future topics range from international research opportunities to
potential projects at partner hospitals in the Centers for
Osteopathic Research and Education (CORE).
The series began in 2010 as the Research Immersion Club, but
Hastings transitioned it to the lecture format this year so more
students and faculty could take part.
“It puts research on the same level as professionalism and business
of medicine as an important topic for OU-HCOM students,” said
Douglas Mann, Ph.D., pointing to two of the college’s other
lecture series. Mann is executive assistant to the dean, assistant
professor in the Department of Social Medicine and the club’s
Ultimately, the organizers said, the series is
expected to educate students about identifying research topics and
help them join ongoing research by building connections between
those who want to participate and faculty members who have research
“Minimally, the lecture series will orient students to the
opportunities at HCOM and CORE and provide some guidance on how to
access them,” said
Audrone Biknevicius, Ph.D.,
associate professor of anatomy, Department of Biomedical Sciences
chair and one of the series’ speakers.
“The program is part of a parallel effort here at the college to
enhance research awareness and opportunities
effort is supported by a
$105 million gift
from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations
that is enhancing OU-HCOM
research efforts, especially
diabetes, cancer and neuromusculoskeletal disorders.
additional incentive for students to take part in this series and
others, the organizers said, is that those
number of events within a series
receive an academic letter in their file
confirming their presence. The files serve as the basis for future
letters of recommendation, for example, and can have great impact on
“Residency spots are limited, and as programs become more
competitive it is important to be able to set yourself apart from
other applicants,” said Lauren Blech,
who helped launch the series.
organizing the talks has had an added bonus for Hastings: in
developing them he found a research project and mentor. Working
with Jane Hamel-Lambert, Ph.D.,
of family medicine and director of
the effectiveness of the
for those who attend.
hoping to prove that a program
will allow more students to get involved in research,”
adding that he would like other osteopathic
medical schools to
the Office of the Dean and the Department of Social Medicine, the
lunchtime series offers free food for those who attend.
Visit the Student Government Association site
for more on the series
and its forthcoming schedule.