A Month of Noteworthy Recognition for Third Year Medical Student Constantine Kanakis

Kanakis scored an academic hat trick in May with a conference presentation, research publication, and a prestigious medical student award.

It has been a month to remember for Constantine “Aki” Kanakis. The third year medical student scored an academic hat trick in May, having presented research at AUC’s Northeast Regional Symposium, being published in a medical journal, and winning the American Society of Clinical Pathology’s Medical Student Award.

Aki’s series of accomplishments began on May 12, when he presented research at AUC’s Northeast Regional Symposium in Rye Brooke, New York. His talk, “An Arbovirus Abroad: Service-Learning at AUC” was an in-depth look at the Zika virus and a student-led initiative to reduce its presence in Sint Maarten. Working with community partners and religious organizations, students were able to teach local adults and youth about Zika and disseminate actionable steps to reduce mosquito breeding grounds. Like so many of the presentations that day, Aki described the importance of building local relationships to impact health on a local level.

“The symposium was fantastic and I encourage more students to take advantage of this event in the future,” Aki said. “It was great to see all of the active work and research that AUC students are doing and to connect with each other outside of our clinical rotations.”

At the end of the event, Dr. Robert Hecht, Associate Clinical Dean for the United States, presented Aki with an Outstanding Student Presentation Award. He was one of a handful of student presenters to receive the award.

Aki presents his research at the 2018 Northeast Regional Symposium in New York


National Medical Society Honors Aki with Medical Student Award


Shortly after the symposium, Aki was published in JSM Clinical Case Reports. His article, “Primary Pulmonary T-Cell Lymphoma Occurring Six Years after Breast Carcinoma” reviewed the case of a 63-year old female patient whose rare tumor was almost missed due to medical error. Aki worked on the report with one of his mentors at AUC, Dr. Mohamed Aziz, Associate Professor of Pathology.

But the feather in his cap came on May 14, when Aki received the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s (ASCP) Medical Student Award. The society, which boasts a membership of over 100,000, gives out just ten awards a year to medical students who have achieved academic excellence, demonstrate leadership ability, and show a strong interest in the pathology profession. Aki has proven himself in all three areas, and continues to be an active leader both inside and outside of AUC. Last year, he was named one of ASCP’s Top 40 Under Forty laboratory medicine professionals and has regularly contributed to ASCP’s blog since 2016. 

“Receiving this award is a great honor, and even greater opportunity to share the spotlight on a lesser-known medical specialty which I am working toward a career in,” Aki said. “To me, pathology is the key to answering questions about various disease etiologies and improving healthcare for whole demographics of patients instead of one at a time—which is something I am very passionate about.”

When interviewed for this article, Aki made it a point to thank both Dr. Aziz and Dr. Cecil Cone, Professor and Chair of the Pathology Department at AUC, for their support and guidance.