Cieremans Named PCOM Student Researcher of the Year
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Cieremans Named PCOM Student Researcher of the Year

March 6, 2023

David Cieremans (DO ‘24)Selected by his peers for his contributions to clinical research and commitment to the principles of osteopathic medicine, David Cieremans (DO ‘24) was recently named Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (PCOM) Student Researcher of the Year (SROY).

The SROY Award was created in 2015 by the AACOM Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP). The award recognizes osteopathic medical students with highly competitive experiences and advancement in clinical, translational, or basic science research.

Student researchers are self-nominated for the SROY Award and receive consideration for the national honor from a pool of students nationwide. The national awardee is selected based on the student’s contributions to osteopathic research that align with the mission of both the osteopathic profession and COSGP—to advance the philosophy, practice, and science of osteopathic medicine.

For Cieremans, the path to realizing this achievement was not linear. A native of northern New Jersey, he knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Attending undergrad at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, Cieremans was a Classics major and member of the varsity crew team. After college, he accepted a one-year position at his alma mater, Regis High School in Manhattan, where he worked with students struggling academically and taught a medical ethics course to seniors.

“After that, I knew I wanted to get more clinical exposure,” said Cieremans. “I accepted a position at Columbia University Irving Medical Center as a research coordinator where I worked for four years in the department of neuro-oncology. I managed clinical trials for patients with brain tumors and was able to get involved in research with Dr. Fabio Iwamoto, Deputy Director of the department. Playing an active role in researching new therapies for individuals with few options was a powerful and rewarding experience for me.” During his time there, Cieremans also received his master's degree from Columbia and was awarded honors for his thesis work on glioblastoma biomarkers.

With a particular interest in orthopaedic surgery, Cieremans has been able to engage in research directly related to his interests during his time at PCOM. “I've been able to really explore my passion for orthopaedics during medical school,” he said. “After my first year, I was accepted to the Summer Medical Student Externship Program in Orthopaedic Surgery at New York University where I studied under Dr. Joshua Rozell. He has been an incredible mentor and has afforded me many opportunities to participate both in research and in the operating room.” Rozell, an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, is a board-certified hip and knee reconstruction specialist at the NYU Langone Orthopedic Center.

David Cieremans at podium speakingFollowing the summer program, Cieremans continued his research with Dr. Rozell and Dr. Ran Schwarzkopf of the Division of Adult Reconstruction at NYU. There he has contributed to a number of research projects, including the utility of prophylactic antibiotic cement in knee replacements, the impact of patellar design on knee replacements, and the long-term survival of hip and knee replacements in patients under the age of 65, among others. “I've been able to immerse myself and grow not only as a student but also as a researcher and contribute to the field of orthopaedics,” he said. In March, Cieremans will present his work at the annual conference of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As an Ensign in the United States Navy, Cieremans has also demonstrated his commitment to others through military research. Since his first year at PCOM, he has been working on a project with Lieutenant Commander (USN) Andrew Olson of the Naval Health Research Center and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. “We are developing a standardized approach to modeling casualty condition status over time with the help of military trauma surgeons,” said Cieremans. “Our goal is to better allocate resources and ultimately decrease morbidity in the field.” Cieremans is attending PCOM through the Health Professions Scholarship Program and will serve in the Navy after residency.

“I'm very humbled to have been selected as Student Researcher of the Year,” Cieremans said of his award. “I have had fantastic opportunities during school to study orthopaedic surgery and bolster my passion for the field…and for that, I'm extremely thankful. Conducting research has been a great parallel to my medical education in the classroom as well.”

Cieremans offered praise for the support he’s received from his advisors and mentors at PCOM, namely Joseph Rosenblatt, DO, associate program director of the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program. “I rotated with Dr. Rosenblatt at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in October and am currently working on a pediatric bunion study with him and Dr. Sara Ruzzi (PGY-1),” he said. “He is an amazing mentor and has given me the autonomy to draft the IRB research proposal, analyze films, perform statistical analyses, and write the paper for the study. I truly appreciate his confidence in me and the opportunity to affect clinical change in the pediatric orthopedic population so early in my medical training.” “Being a PCOM student has enabled me to work closely with him and the orthopedic surgery department, for which I am very grateful,” he added.

Asked about his plans going forward, Cieremans gave a preview, “I have a couple more projects cooking right now and am excited to share their results. I’m looking forward to applying for residency next year and serving our country proudly as a PCOM alum.”

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