Noah Sanchez, a student in the Medical Physics track of the Radiological Sciences Ph.D. program, has been selected as a Translational Science Training TL1 scholar for 21-22.
The Translational Science Training (TST) TL1 Program at UT Health San Antonio is supported by a NIH / National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a federally funded career development training program for improving the scope of predoctoral trainees and postdoctoral fellows research experience. The TL1 ‘Training Linked’ Program is linked to the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) administered by the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS) at UT Health San Antonio. The competitive award includes stipend support for TL1 scholars in addition to training and mentorship in translational science.
Sanchez is currently working under the guidance of Dr. Geoffrey Clarke on a research project which uses magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy methods for quantitating various metabolites in order to assist in the analysis of metabolism in human skeletal muscle.
“This research hits very close to home,” he said. “My family has had its run of Type II Diabetes Mellitus diagnoses which is one of the main pathologies we investigate.”
He described that his research project hopes to help people with Type II Diabetes to breast cancer survivors who experience sarcopenia due to breast cancer related therapy.
“These are issues that are very prominent in the San Antonio community,” he said. “This research, even if it involves more physics than most people would imagine when talking about medical research, is aimed to make diagnoses and metabolic assessments more precise and accurate so that people can receive the most appropriate care possible.”
Sanchez describes that he has always had a yearning to understand the underlying nature of things.
“It’s kind of been who I am. I learned in my younger days of how the sciences can help us approach a better understanding of our world,” he said. “Naturally, I was driven towards physics by the nature of the field but I had a seemingly tangential interest in medicine and the human body as well. I guess you could say I got pretty lucky when I learned that a field that paired my interests already existed!”
After graduating from Rhodes College with a bachelor’s degree in physics, he spent his time working under medical physicists at Emory University and learned how medical physics could be utilized to solve problems with metabolic diseases and conditions.
He was attracted to the Radiological Sciences Ph.D. program at UT Health San Antonio because quality of researchers.
“I remember asking respectable medical physicists about the programs and researchers I was interested in working with and UT Health San Antonio with Dr. Clarke always seemed to head the list with a blinding amount of praise,” he said.
He was also attracted to the diversity on the UT Health San Antonio campus.
“I love the people here and the people we work with,” he said. “Being half Mexican, it is awesome knowing I can both represent and help people like me.”
Sanchez plans to use the award to continue to work on his research. He also plans on attending the 2022 The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine annual meeting in London and presenting research sponsored by the TL1 grant.
“Being selected as a TL1 scholar was very motivating. This training and scholarship will prepare me with the tools to apply my research to a clinical setting,” Sanchez said. “Translational science lets me accomplish these dreams I have of using physics to change the world of medicine directly in the clinic.”