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Natalie Kamada

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is one of only 21 universities this year awarded a St. Baldrick’s Foundation summer research grant to fight childhood cancer.

This month, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation announced it is providing $105,000—in grants of $5,000 each—to support summer research fellowships. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa student Natalie Kamada, who is in the Doctor of Medicine Early Acceptance Program, will spend the summer working in a pediatric oncology setting in the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology. She will complete a research project under the leadership of childhood cancer expert Bruce Shiramizu, a JABSOM professor and pediatrician.

Kamada was born and raised in Waikele on Oʻahu, and graduated from Maryknoll High School.

“I decided to become a St. Baldrick’s Summer Fellow to further understand how cancers affect children and to aid in the early detection of cancer cells that could lead to relapse,” said Kamada. “I hope to identify the presence of cancer cells to help improve treatment types and the health of children.”

In the early acceptance program, if Kamada continues to remain in good standing, she will enter medical school at the John A. Burns School of Medicine after she graduates from UH Mānoa. She says she is interested in many areas of study, including pediatrics, radiology and oncology.

“In a more personal sense,” said Kamada, “I hope to become a doctor who can understand the needs of her patients and can contribute back to her community.”

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