NEWS | December 6, 2011

UC Davis medical student wins prestigious scholarship


UC Davis School of Medicine student Keisuke Nakagawa has received a Looking to the Future Scholarship from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS).

medical student Keisuke Nakagawa © UC Regents
Keisuke Nakagawa

Established to encourage medical residents and students to commit to careers in cardiothoracic surgery, the scholarships cover registration, travel and hotel fees for the 2012 STS annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Winners are also assigned mentors to assist in planning their conference education programs and to facilitate introductions to leaders in the field.

Nakagawa, a second-year medical student, had not seriously considered surgery as a specialty until he observed open-heart surgery.

"After that, I knew exactly what I wanted to do," said Nakagawa, who is drawn to the "intensity and innovation" of the field. In addition to scrubbing in on surgeries, he is working with Doug Boyd, professor of surgery, on research that involves using regenerative xenograft patches to repair and rebuild cardiac structures.

"It's a great team," said Nakagawa. "They have given me opportunities to understand what cardiothoracic surgery does for patients. Thanks to them, I am really inspired about my future."

The society's annual meeting brings surgeons together from around the globe to share information on diagnosing and treating cardiovascular and thoracic diseases. UC Davis cardiothoracic surgery faculty encouraged Nakagawa to apply for the scholarship, which helps make the conference accessible to students.

"Keisuke is one of our best and brightest," said David Cooke, assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery and associate program director for the cardiothoracic surgery residency. "The conference is a fantastic opportunity for him to gain exposure to experts beyond UC Davis who are all developing new therapies to improve patient care and outcomes."

UC Davis Health System is a leading referral center for high-risk adult and pediatric patients with complex diseases of the heart, chest, lungs and esophagus. The cardiothoracic surgery team combines extensive experience with the latest technologies and compassionate care to offer complete range of advanced treatment options. For information, visit