Acevedo Garners ACTRI Award for Graduating School of Medicine Seniors

June 5, 2017 | Patti Wieser

Joseph Acevedo, MD, receives the ACTRI Award during the Class of 2017 awards ceremony on June 3 at UC San Diego School of Medicine. From left are ACTRI director Gary S. Firestein, MD; Acevedo; and ACTRI education director Colin Depp, PhD. Photo by Jill Dumbauld Nery.

Joseph Acevedo, MD, whose scientific studies focus on cost-effective analysis of head and neck cancer treatment, has received the UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) Fourth-Year Medical Student Award. Acevedo was honored during the School of Medicine Class of 2017 Senior Awards ceremony on June 3. He received a medical degree at UC San Diego on June 4.

“Joe is an unusually productive and impressive student and one who provides a model for physician-scientists in training,” said Colin Depp, PhD, director of the ACTRI Education Program. “His original thesis work, under the excellent mentorship of Dr. James Murphy, exemplifies clinical and translational work by addressing a clinically relevant problem through advanced empirical methods.”

As an ACTRI TL1 trainee in 2015-2016, Acevedo studied whether elective neck dissection is cost effective among patients with squamous cell carcinoma. His primary research mentor during his TL1 year was Dr. Murphy, a former ACTRI KL2 grant awardee. Acevedo’s findings indicated that dissection improved health outcomes and reduced costs over the long term, and led to his first-author publication, Analysis of Elective Neck Dissection in Patients with Clinically Node Negative Oral Cavity Cancer, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) in 2016. He also was an author on a second paper, Bilateral Mucopyocele of the Torus Tubarius Presenting as Headache, published in JAMA Otolaryngology. Both publications were during his year in the TL1 program, which is administered by ACTRI.

Acevedo received a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2007, and worked as an engineer and instructor in the biotech industry and medical field before entering medical school at UC San Diego. Last year he received a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Clinical Research.

This summer, Acevedo will begin his residency in otolaryngology head and neck surgery at Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center.

“I am honored to receive this award and would like to acknowledge my mentors and colleagues – without them, none of my research would be possible,” Acevedo said.

The ACTRI award, designed to recognize students with outstanding potential for future contribution to translational research, is typically given to one fourth-year medical student per year.

In addition to Acevedo receiving the ACTRI award, nine former TL1s supported by ACTRI received other awards during the ceremony. These honorees and their awards include the following:

  • Katherine (Kelly) Fero: American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Certificates of Commendation for Academic Achievement, Foundation Achievement Award in Surgery
  • Kristen Kelley: American Academy of Neurology Student Award
  • July Lee: John and Lola Ross Award in the Sciences and Culture of Medicine
  • Laura Muehl: American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Certificates of Commendation for Academic Achievement
  • Saisindhu Narala: Merck Award for Outstanding Academic Accomplishments, American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Certificates of Commendation for Academic Achievement
  • Sonal Noticewala: Arlene J. and Dr. Bernard Goodhead Service Award in Oncology
  • Anna Schoenbrunner: American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Certificates of Commendation for Academic Achievement
  • Bayard Wilson: Merck Award for Outstanding Academic Accomplishments
  • Casey Williamson: Jean and Elliot Marvell Award in Radiation Oncology



About UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute:

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium, led by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Science. Established in 2010, ACTRI provides infrastructure and support for basic, translational and clinical research throughout the San Diego region to bring discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside, and facilitates training and education of the next generation of researchers. ACTRI carries out its activities in collaboration with institutional and corporate partners and currently has more than 1,300 members.

www.actri.ucsd.edu