Student Spotlight: Kayal Parthiban

“Working at the Center for Clinical Research has been the most valuable clinical experience I’ve ever had. As I prepare for medical school, I’m getting firsthand experience with the way clinical research translates to patient care.”

Kayal Parthiban first started working with the Texas Heart Institute as a summer volunteer during high school. After graduating with honors in Biology, Medical Humanities, and Political Science from Baylor University in 2021, Parthiban returned to THI’s Center for Clinical Research (CCR) as a Research Intern to gain additional experience prior to entering medical school.

At THI, Parthiban assists the CCR team by analyzing protocols for ongoing cardiovascular trials, scanning medical records to identify potential study participants, and visiting eligible patients to educate and recruit them into such trials. During these patient visits, Parthiban explains the particular study’s design, answers clinical and administrative questions, and educates patients on the nature of clinical trials.

Presently, Parthiban is aiding in the ALIVE (American Less Invasive Ventricular Enhancement) trial, which studies the potential of a novel, minimally invasive procedure to restore heart function in patients with heart failure resulting from a previous heart attack. The investigative procedure involves the placement of two “anchors” that pinch off scarred regions of the left ventricle, reducing stress in the surrounding myocardium (heart muscle).

“Working within the CCR at THI has allowed me to participate in ‘benchtop-to-bedside’ medical innovation,” said Parthiban. “I can see in real time the effects of translational medicine. The CCR team provides a really supportive and encouraging environment—I always have someone to turn to for mentoring.”

Parthiban’s colleagues at CCR have also enjoyed her time with the group. “It’s truly been a pleasure having Kayal in the Center,” said Casey Kappenman, CCR’s Interim Administrative Director. “She consistently displays sound judgment, knowledge, and a commitment to connecting our patients with the best research opportunities at THI. I have no doubt she will excel as a physician.” Gabrielle Phillip, Clinical Research Recruitment Manager, added, “Kayal is a highly intellectual and compassionate individual who has been an essential member of our team. Because of her passion for health care, she has shown great initiative in assisting the Center with meeting study goals. Her professionalism, attention to detail, and exceptional work ethic will further guide her along the path of achieving her career goals.”

While studying at Baylor, Parthiban served as the president of the American Medical Women’s Association and as a supplemental instructor in biology. As a senior, she became a clinical research assistant for the Waco COVID Research Survey, helping local authorities determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in Waco. Additionally, she has experience in cardiovascular research, having presented a clinical research project on “Carotid Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Outcome Improvements” to the San Antonio Methodist Hospital system.

Outside of academia, Parthiban has worked as a Medical Policy Analyst at the Advanced Continuing Education Association (ACEA). There, she authored articles for the Continuing Education Journal, created various curriculums for Continuing Medical Education requirements for physicians, and led a literature review project on physician burnout.

As she prepares to enter medical school, Parthiban is passionate about becoming a physician focused on the constant improvement of health care through research, innovation, and education.

By Skylar Buchan