Lincoln Memorial University


LMU-DCOM Student Wins National Student Researcher of the Year

Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) student First Lieutenant John E. Cebak, PhD, earned the title of National Student Researcher of the Year (SROY) from the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP). The award will be presented at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) annual conference on Friday, April 28, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.


The National SROY award recognizes an osteopathic medical student researcher with highly competitive experiences in clinical, transitional or basic science research. The national awardee is selected based on the student’s contributions to osteopathic research that align with the mission of both the osteopathic profession and COSGP—to advance the philosophy, practice, and science of osteopathic medicine.


Cebak is a second-year osteopathic medical student at LMU-DCOM and is planning to graduate as a doctor of osteopathic medicine in May of 2019. Cebak will continue his former traumatic brain injury research in collaboration with Paul Wood, PhD, professor of pharmacology at LMU through a new LMU-DCOM Research Fellowship. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and agricultural biotechnology at the University of Kentucky (UK) in Lexington, Kentucky. Additionally, he holds a doctoral degree in anatomy and neurobiology at UK.


“During my time as a front-line combat medic in Iraq, I witnessed first-hand how intimate it is to provide life-saving interventions and more frequently how painful it is to watch someone suffer,” Cebak said. “Combat medics were often ill-equipped to treat those with serious brain trauma. This inadequacy lead me to pursue a doctorate in neuroscience studying the mechanisms of traumatic brain injuries.”


During graduate school Cebak found it gratifying to work on advancing the treatment of the injuries he encountered so frequently as a medic. During his time as a combat medic as well as in graduate school, Cebak worked alongside doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs).


“I learned of the osteopathic profession’s reputation for establishing a meaningful and intimate relationship with patients,” Cebak said. “Such a relationship allows the physician to substantially influence the overall quality of life beyond the apparent medical ailment. This philosophy of thinking is critically important to the complexities of serving those with traumatic brain injuries and I decided that I wanted to establish these skillsets for my own future patients.”


Cebak’s research has been published in several scholarly journals including the Journal of Neurotrauma and the Journal of Neurochemistry. He has published a book chapter in “New Therapeutics for Traumatic Brain Injury,” and has presented work on traumatic brain injury at events for both Michigan State University (MSU) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 


The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide health care in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1-800.325.0900, ext. 7082, e-mail, or visit us online at


The Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) is an official council of the American Association of College of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). The group was established in 1972, originally known as the Council of Student Presidents. COSGP serves as the official national representative voting voice of all osteopathic medical students. The members maintain communication, disseminate information, foster student leadership and provide a mechanism for the exchange of ideas between students of different colleges of osteopathic medicine.



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Harrogate, TN 37752