UF surgical resident earns research incentive award

Alex Cuenca, M.D., a third-year surgical resident at the University of Florida College of Medicine, recently received a Research Incentive Award from the UF Medical Guild.

Cuenca, who is taking three years out from his clinical training to earn a basic science research doctorate degree through UF’s Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences, or IDP, is studying innate immunity and neonatal sepsis.

He was one of 10 second-year IDP students to win the UF Medical Guild’s Research Incentive Award this spring. Cuenca’s research project, “The role of interferon-gamma inducible protein 10 in survival to neonatal sepsis” was selected as a winner by a student peer-review committee. He received a $750 award to support expenses related to his doctoral research.

Cuenca, who is planning to specialize in pediatric surgery, said he hopes his research efforts will lead to the discovery of a target for new or novel therapeutics to prevent neonatal sepsis. He currently works in UF’s Laboratory of Inflammation Biology and Surgical Science under the leadership of his faculty mentor, Lyle L. Moldawer, Ph.D., a professor and vice chairman of research in the UF department of surgery.

Founded in 1959 as a non-profit volunteer organization, The UF Medical Guild’s mission is to promote fellowship among the members and to render service to the Health Science Center. The Research Incentive Award is just one of many awards it provides each year to medical and graduate research students. The group currently has more than 140 members and is open to spouses of UF’s Health Science Center faculty.