A Vanderbilt University Medical Center Alumni Publication

Vanderbilt Medicine

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Where are they now? WEB ONLY

By Jon Coomer
July 2009

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer¹s disease, but it's not an easy disease to diagnose. No single test can prove it, and a skilled physician can only diagnose the progressive and fatal brain disease with about 90 percent certainty.

Thanks in part to the Canby Robinson Society Erik Musiek, M.D., Ph.D., MD/Ph.D., '07, chose a research career in medicine that is allowing him to pursue research using positron emission tomography (PET) scanning for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer¹s disease. A second-year neurology resident at the University of Pennsylvania, Musiek plans to continue research on neurodegenerative diseases.

Musiek, one of the first two M.D./Ph.D. students to be funded by the CRS, received a Ph.D., in pharmacology in addition to his medical degree before completing an internship in Medicine at Vanderbilt.

"The Canby Robinson scholarship greatly impacted my decision to come to Vanderbilt, which was a wonderful experience and which set me on my current career path," he said. "The scholarship has eliminated the financial burden of medical training, and has allowed me and my wife Amy (VUSM '04) the flexibility to pursue research-oriented careers, which are often less lucrative and require extra years of training."

Musiek said he had a tremendous experience at Vanderbilt. "Since leaving Nashville I have come to appreciate even more how special a place Vanderbilt is," he said. "Vanderbilt has the feel of a small, tight-knit community where faculty really know and care about their students, yet has all the benefits of a world-class academic center. This is a rare combination."

Erik and Amy, a dermatologist studying cutaneous lymphoma at Penn, currently live in Philadelphia and have a one-year-old daughter, Emma.

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