Philadelphia News & Search
A Massachusetts doctor with ties to Pennsylvania and New Jersey has been identified as one of the victims of a deadly avalanche in a Canadian national park.
Lauren Zeitels and Victor Fedorov, friends and internal medicine residents at Massachusetts General Hospital, died in the avalance at Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, according to the Boston Globe.
The avalanche was believed to have occurred March 12 and their bodies were recovered several days later.
Zeitels, 32, grew up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and received degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, according to Massachusetts General.
Her LinkedIn profile said she received a bachelor of arts degree in biochemistry and a master’s in chemistry, both in 2006, from the Ivy League school.
She then studied at the University of Cambridge on a Gates scholarship and obtained her medical degree and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University before joining Massachusetts General in Boston.
She graduated from Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren, N.J., in 2002 as valedictorian, according to a news account from the time.
Zeitels displayed in an early interest in science and medicine: By the time she graduated from high school, she had done genetics work at Rutgers University’s Waksman Institute of Microbiology, been selected for a national youth science camp and won an honorable mention in a DuPont Co. science essay challenge, according to the New Jersey Hills report.
At Penn, Zeitels was part of the prestigious Vagelos Scholars Program in molecular science, in which students pursue scientific research and either a double major or a joint undergraduate-master’s program.
Zeitels was “simply a wonder,” Art Casciato, the former director of Penn’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, told The Daily Pennsylvanian when the then-senior won the Gates award to study at Cambridge. None of Penn’s previous winners of the scholarship “can quite claim Lauren’s extraordinary degree of academic excellence,” he said.
The young doctor’s interest in bridging gaps between medical treatment and research was prompted by her grandmother’s dementia, according to a 2014 profile of her on the Gates scholarship’s website.
“You can learn a lot from seeing how disease manifests itself in patients, bring those observations back into the laboratory and use them to identify and understand which pathways are being affected,” she said at the time.
Massachusetts General called Zeitels a “strong advocate for scientific investigation driven by curiosity and fueled by a desire to offer hope to those suffering from disease.”
Fedorov was born in Moscow, grew up in Richmond, Va., studied at Weill Cornell Medical College and did doctoral research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before arriving in Boston, according to the Globe.
Boston news outlets described the two physicians as close friends, outdoor enthusiasts and experienced hikers. Colleagues at the hospital were stunned and saddened by their sudden deaths.
“We mourn these dedicated and promising physicians who were full of life and embodied the kind of devotion, compassion, and brilliance that represent the best of medicine and humanity,” Katrina Armstrong, physician-in-chief, and Jatin Vyas, residency program director, wrote in an internal memo, the Globe reported.
Philadelphia News & Search