MSSRP available projects - 2014

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MSSRP available projects - 2014



Available projects will be posted at the top of this page as preceptor forms are received.  Matched projects are moved to the bottom when the corresponding student form is received.

 


Faculty: Hui Zong, Ph.D
Department: Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology
Phone: 434-982-1956
Title: Competition and proliferation of tumor cells in glioma
Abstract: Using a genetic modified mouse model of glioma, we found that tumor cells are intrinsically competitive, implicating that cytotoxic treatment would never be effective to stop the progression of glioma, which is exactly what clinicians have been seeing in practice. Therefore, it is imperative to devise novel treatment strategies to control tumor cells. We are now exploring two such possibilities: 1) terminally differentiate tumor cells to stop their competition and proliferation; 2) set up a competition assay to screen for compounds that could curb the competitive behaviors of tumor cells. In a big picture, these experiments could provide "non-combative" but highly effective route of cancer management beyond glioma therapy.

 

Faculty: W.M.Scheld  (1 student requested) 2 ongoing projects the MSSRP member will complete
Department: Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases and International Health
Phone: 924-5991
Title: Anthrax and Inflammation
Abstract:
Complete an industry-sponsored laboratory study of anthrax spore challenge in mice when administered anti-inflammatory agent golimumab as an adjunctive therapy to show the concepts of A.) Do No Harm  and B.) added survival benefit. This study will be conducted in a mouse model, supplemented by biological instrumentation. Document, graph and prepare a presentation describing the results.

 

Faculty: W.M.Scheld  (1 student requested) 2 ongoing projects the MSSRP member will complete
Department:  Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases and International Health
Phone: 924-5991
Title: Innate Immunity
Abstract:Our laboratory has observed an extended period of survival enhancement from bacterial pathogens by using Toll-like receptor 4 agonist. The observed procedure protects the host for up to 21 days from lethal bacterial sepsis often without antibiotics. The MSSRP student will perform this "extended innate memory" observation and report it as above. This work will be performed in a mouse model supplemented by biological instrumentation.

 

Faculty: Jason Druzgal, MD, PhD
Department: Radiology and Medical Imaging
Phone: 982-1694
Title: Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Abstract:  Sports-related concussion (SRC) receives significant public attention due to its link with professional athletics, but the annual incidence of SRC in high school and collegiate populations greatly exceeds that of professional athletes. SRC was historically viewed as a benign injury, but there is growing concern over the cumulative effects of both SRC and sub-concussive head injury. A major limit to research of SRC is the lack of objective physiologic markers to evaluate the degree of injury. Current assessment of injured athletes for return-to-play relies primarily on self-reported symptoms and behavioral metrics. These assessment tools demonstrate significant test-retest variability and are potentially manipulated by athletes motivated to return to play. It also remains unknown whether normalization of the assessment metrics reflects an athlete truly returning to baseline regarding the underlying brain pathophysiology. Our study will use advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to study brain physiology of adolescent athletes in high impact sports. Unlike other imaging studies of head impact, our design will compare post-impact athletes against their own pre-season baselines. In addition, athletes will be stratified based on the number and severity of head impacts, as measured by biometric sensors. Quantifying head impact will allow us to evaluate both the acute effects of sub-concussive head impact and the chronic effects of cumulative head impact, a significant advance from simply looking at concussed athletes. Our MRI metrics will include: 1) high-resolution anatomy, assessing cortical thickness, 2) resting state functional MRI, measuring grey matter connectivity, 3) diffusion tensor imaging, measuring white matter integrity, 4) proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, measuring brain chemical composition, and 5) arterial spin labeling, measuring tissue perfusion. This battery of MRI metrics is selected for its likelihood to describe the physiologic signature of mild traumatic brain injury; and it represents a test that could be easily deployed on the thousands of clinical MRI scanners already available to the US population.  The specific project for the MSSRP student will involve analysis of magnetic resonance spectroscopy data already acquired for this study. The only absolute requirement for this position is a comfort level with at least one computer programming language (Matlab, Java, Python, etc). If you are interested, please e-mail Dr. Druzgal a CV that includes some description of your computer skills.

 

Faculty: Ashvini K. Reddy
Department: Ophthalmology
Phone: 982-1086
Title: Epidemiologic research on uveitis and medical retinal disease
Abstract: This is an excellent opportunity for an undergraduate medical learner to get involved with clinical and epidemiologic research on uveitis and medical retinal disease in preparation for residency and an academic career in ophthalmology. The focus of investigation will be epidemiologic investigations of uveitis and clinical investigations in diabetic retinopathy. The medical student will need to be able to work within a team to submit IRBs, construct databases, perform statistical analyses, and author papers for peer-reviewed journals.

 

Faculty:  Yuh-Hwa Wang, Ph.D.
Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics
Phone: 243-2785
Title:  Cancer-Causing Gene Rearrangements
Abstract:  Development of a DNA Fragility Test  as a Predictor of Susceptibility to Cancer-Causing Gene Rearrangements.

 

Faculty:  Kelli Reardon, MD
Department:  Radiation Oncology
Phone: 982-0777
Title:  Thoracic Radiation Therapy
Abstract:  Increased cardiac events have been seen in patients receiving thoracic radiation therapy, especially noted in left-sided breast cancer patients.  However, most of the data on this subject is on patients treated with older radiation techniques.  At UVA, we treat our left-sided breast cancer patients with a DIBH technique to minimize heart/LAD dose.  We want to develop a database looking at 100 pts treated with this technique and specifically look at the dose received by critical structures and subsequent cardiac events in these patients.  The medical student will work closely with one of our senior residents in creating this database as well as the faculty advisor.

 

Faculty:  Slobodan M. Todorovic, MD,PhD
Department:  Anesthesiology
Phone: 243-9993
Title:  The role of calcium channels in analgesia and anesthesia.
Abstract:  This project will involve studies of the role of voltage-gated calcium channels in anesthesia and analgesia using in vivo testing of pain sensation and loss of righting reflex in rats and mice.  At the system level, we directly examine the effects of Ca2+ channel modulators on pain sensation following injection into peripheral receptive fields of sensory neurons in intact animals and animals with mechanically (chronic constrictive injury)- or metabolically (diabetic)-induced peripheral neuropathy, as well as CaV3.2 knockout mice lacking T-type channels.

Our studies investigate how modulation of T-type Ca2+ channels in sensory and CNS neurons affects their function and how different anesthetic, analgesic and anticonvulsant agents selectively target particular classes of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. In particular, we are interested in testing new selective T-type channel blockers affect nociception and anesthetic end points in vivo.

 

Faculty: Jeffrey Young, MD, MBA (3 students requested)
Department: Surgery, Patient Safety
Phone:  982-3549
Title:  Communication and Safety Systems
Abstract:  We are examining communication and safety systems within the hospital. Last years students helped us develop a secure emergency radio system for the trauma and surgical critical care services. This year we will continue to expand the project. We are also trying to create a cimputational model using data from the clinical data repository to model the recovery of inpatients, and be able to determine whether interventions, such as radio communication and emergency dispatch, decrease length of stay, cost, and mortality.

 

Faculty: Matthew J. Barrett, MD MSc
Department:  Neurology
Phone:  243-2012
Title: Risk factors for hospitalization of Parkinson's disease patients
Abstract: Parkinson disease (PD) is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with increased number of hospitalizations and length of hospitalizations. Previously identified reasons for hospitalizations include PD related morbidity, indirect morbidity (trauma, pneumonia), and non-PD causes. The objective of this study is to investigate the risk factors for hospitalization of PD patients at UVA. The project will involve a literature review of the topic, extraction of key data elements from the charts of hospitalized PD patients, identification of controls from an outpatient PD clinic and database, and surveying of patients in the outpatient PD clinic. At the end of the project, the student will be expected to present a brief review of the topic and preliminary results at a weekly research meeting. There will also be clinical exposure to movement disorders and an introduction to using statistical software for data analysis.

 

Faculty:  Timothy Allen
Department:  Biomedical Engineering
Phone:  982-6751
Title:  Medical Device Design Projects
Abstract:Students will assist with medical device design projects and undergraduate BME student teams.  This might include device design (using Computer Aided Design), research into patient populations, referral pathways, and epidemiology of disease.  Projects currently being developed include tools for radiation oncology, devices for neonatal intensive care units, ophthalmology, and infectious diseases.  Students will receive mentoring from Dr. Timothy Allen - faculty in the Biomedical Engineering and David Chen - Director of the Coulter Translational Research Partnership.

 

Faculty:  Winston Gwathmey
Department:  Orthopaedics
Phone:  243-0245
Title:  Pearl-diver database review
Abstract:Pearl-diver database review:  we have purchased a limited time subscription to pearl-diver - one of the largest healthcare databases in the world with more than 1.1 billion HIPAA compliant patient records.  Research experience will be facilitating orthopaedic related research questioning, data analysis, processing and writing.

 

Faculty:  Leslie Blackhall, MD
Department:  Internal Medicine
Phone:  243-5730
Title:  Improve the treatment of distressing symptoms in cancer patients.
Abstract: While cancer patients suffer in many ways, pain is the most frequently noted symptom reported.  Opioid pain medications are often required for symptom management, but issues of drug abuse and diversion complicate patient care.  While the frequency of substance abuse has been characterized for patients with non-malignant pain, the occurrence and optimal management of drug abuse and diversion is poorly characterized for patients suffering from cancer.  This MSSRP project will build on previous work by faculty at the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center as part of the CARETrack program, a CMS funded grant seeking to improve the treatment of distressing symptoms in cancer patients.  The student will work with members of the team in seeking IRB approval, evaluating information within the database, and collecting data through chart review.  The project will seek to use information from urine drug screens, Opioid Risk Tool screening, and social work and clinical evaluations to establish the frequency of substance abuse in palliative care and cancer patients.

 

Faculty:  Leslie Blackhall, MD
Department:  Internal Medicine
Phone:  243-5730
Title:  Optimal care of patient with cancer
Abstract:  Optimal care of patients with cancer involves multidisciplinary interventions including management of pain and symptoms.  As patients disease progresses, hospice is often used to provide symptom management and end of life care.  Researchers at the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center are investigating the use of the CARETrack program (a CMS funded study) to provide rapid evaluation and treatment of cancer patients’ symptoms to improve quality of life.  One goal of this program is early referral to hospice care.  Many variables have been shown to affect hospice use, including ethnicity and socioeconomic status in national models of hospice.  This project will seek to evaluate the association between ethnicity and socioeconomic status and frequency and timing of hospice referrals, to see if the CARETrack program is successful in improving timing of referrals.  The MSSRP student will work with the team in seeking IRB approval, evaluating database information, collecting data through chart review, and performing statistical analysis.

 

Faculty:  Mark Kester, Ph.D.
Department:  Pharmacology
Phone:  243-2645
Title:  Evaluate the efficacy of nanoscale formulations as imaging, diagnostic or therapeutic agents in cancer.
Abstract:  Dr. Kester's research interests include the design, characterization and validation of nanotechnologies for targeted drug delivery. His laboratory has evaluated nanoliposomes, nanodendrimers and nanocolloids as effective drug delivery vehicles for pharmacological and molecular agents. Recent work focuses on nontoxic nanoscale systemic delivery systems for hydrophobic pro-apoptotic lipids as well as siRNAs that target mutated tumorigenic proteins. The MSSRP student will work with a team of scientists and engineers to evaluate the efficacy of nanoscale formulations as imaging, diagnostic or therapeutic agents in cancer.

 

Faculty:  Noah S. Schenkman
Department:  Urology
Phone:  243-9325
Title:  Developing a Urologic Telemedicine/Telecystoscopy clinic
Abstract:  The student will assist with all phases of a protocol to develop a clinic where a urologist in Charlottesville monitors and evaluates a cystoscopic exam done at a remote location. The first step is a feasibility study and  development of a telecystoscopy assessment tool. After pilot testing locally at UVA, the student will assist in collection of data and evaluation of telecystoscopy between Culpeper and UVA. Student will assist in all phases of data acqusition and analylsis.

In addition, if additional time exists, the MSSRP student is welcome to join in ongoing projects on clinical outcomes research in kidney stone disease and kidney cancer treatment.

 

Faculty:  Ravi Ghanta, MD
Department:  Cardiac Surgery
Phone:  924-5052
Title:  Outcomes and Quality of Life following Aortic Surgery
Abstract:  This study involves establishing a clinical database of patients who undergo aortic surgery at UVA. The purpose is to evaluate outcomes, re-interventions, quality of life, and cost following aortic surgery for aneurysms or dissections. The student will help create the database and perform chart reviews. The student will gain an understanding of clinical databases, aortic disease, IRB protocols, imaging, open and endovascular surgery and outcomes research. An understanding of Microsoft Access and/or statistics is helpful, however not required. In addition, the summer student will have the opportunity to participate in other cardiac surgery outcomes research and clinical observation.

 

Faculty:  Jennifer Charlton, MD (2 students requested)
Department:  Pediatrics
Phone:  924-2096
Title:  Effects of a premature birth on the development of chronic kidney disease
Abstract:
Our lab is interested in the effect of a premature birth on the development of chronic kidney disease, particularly how an ex utero environment affects renal development/maturation. We are interested in how nephrotoxins and acute kidney injury influences the development of  nephrons. Our lab also focuses on non-invasive ways to measuring nephron number.

 

Faculty:  Seth Yarboro MD
Department:  Orthopaedic Surgery
Phone:  243-0274
Title:  Educational  videos of key surgical procedures performed
Abstract:  The Trauma division in the Department of Orthopaedics will be conducting a project to create educational  videos of key surgical procedures performed on this service. These will primarily involve open repair of fractures of the pelvis and lower extremity. These videos will be used as a teaching tool for residents, and are expected to contain a combination of didactic and intraoperative footage.  The medical student involved in this project should have experience with video editing software. This opportunity will provide the student with experience in the operating room setting. The student will develop understanding and application of sterile technique.  Further, as time permits, the participating student may have the opportunity to work on other ongoing projects in the division.

 

Faculty:  Mark D. DeBoer, MD, MSc., MCR
Department:  Pediatrics
Phone:  924-9833
Title: Lifestyle and social predictors of obesity and growth in early childhood
Abstract:  We are interested in lifestyle and social predictors of obesity and growth in early childhood as seen in a nationally-representative set of children ages 2-6 years old.  This project involves statistical analysis using SAS, a high-powered statistical program.

 

Faculty:  Rebecca Dillingham, MD/MPH
Department:  Department of Medicine
Phone:  982-0103
Title:  Stress Reduction Practices for People Living with HIV
Abstract:  This project will ask the student to work with the principal investigator and research staff to use principles of user-based design to develop and assess a cell-phone delivered stress-reduction intervention. The intervention will be delivered to an existing cohort of individuals who are using a tailored app for people recently diagnosed with HIV. The student will be involved in user interviews and development and assessment of the video product.

 

Faculty:  William Guilford, Ph.D.
Department:  Biomedical Engineering
Phone:  243-2740
Title:  Treatment for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI)
Abstract:
Our team is developing an improved processing device for fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), which is the subject of intensive recent press coverage for its remarkable ability to treat Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). This infection frequently occurs in the hospital setting following broad-spectrum antibiotic application that alters the ‘normal’ intestinal flora; this allows C. difficile to colonize and proliferate, resulting in symptomatic infection ranging from mild diarrhea to severe colitis, toxic megacolon, and death. Fecal microbiota transplant has been shown to be extremely effective in treating CDI, but is not widely adopted by physicians due to lack of standardization, lack of appropriate disposable tools, and the distastefulness of the procedure. Thus, we are developing a novel, disposable processing tool that will address many of the barriers to adoption of FMT. A student will learn CAD, and work with the preceptors to refine and prototype designs, and test the design. The student will be co-mentored by Dr. William Guilford (Biomedical Engineering) and Dr. Glynis Kolling (Division of Infectious Diseases).

 

Faculty:  Eric Houpt MD
Department:  Infectious Diseases
Phone:  243-9326
Title: Design of PCR-based assays and apply the assays to specimens/materials
Abstract:  Our laboratory is engaged in several molecular diagnostic projects to detect infectious diseases, such as bloodstream infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and subtyping assays.  For this MSSRP project the student would learn design of PCR-based assays and apply the assays to specimens/materials.

 

Faculty:  Thomas P Loughran Jr, MD
Department:  Medicine/Cancer Center
Phone:  243-9926
Title:  Genomic Analysis of LGL Leukemia
Abstract:  Our lab is involved in the study of Large Granular Lymphocyte Leukemia.  The research project will involve the validation in a large patient registry of putative mutations previously discovered by next generation sequencing of paired tumor/normal samples.  Once prevalence is established, additional studies will examine patient data for trends such as correlation with symptoms or treatment response. Mechanistic studies to determine the contribution of certain mutations to disease phenotype will be undertaken when possible to do so in the time allotted.

 

Faculty:  Jun Yang, M.D.
Department:  Medicine / Hematology Oncology
Phone:  243-8901
Title:  NF-kappa B/Stat3 interactions in LGL leukemia
Abstract:  NF-kappa B/Stat3 interactions in LGL leukemia.  NF-kB and Stat3 pathways are constitutively activated in LGL leukemia and other cancers.  Studies on other malignancies showed that the two pathways share downstream targets. In the case of LGL leukemia, inhibition of each pathway induces apoptosis.  However, the mechanisms of NF-kB/Stat3pathway interaction in the LGL leukemogenesis, cell survival and proliferation are unknown.  Experiments for this project are designed to investigate the activation and engagement of downstream targets. 

2. Regulatory function of soluble IL-2 Receptor alpha (sIL-2Ra) in T-LGL leukemia. The IL-2/IL-2-Receptor quaternary complex plays an important role in promoting lymphocyte survival, proliferation, DNA replication and mitosis. It is known that Stat5a/b molecules activated by the IL-2R complex via the JAK1/3 kinase promote the transcriptional activation of D cyclins. High levels of sIL-2Ra are observed in the culture medium of LGL leukemia cells. The biological function of the sIL-2Ra remains unknown. Experiments for this project are designed to discover possible mechanisms of sIL-2Ra in LGL leukemogenesis.

 

Faculty:  Andrew M. Southerland, MD, MSc
Department:  Department of Neurology/Stroke Center
Phone:  924-2783
Title:  Cervical Artery Dissection Expression
Abstract:  The Cervical Artery Dissection Expression (CADEX) study is an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association funded, IRB approved clinical research/genetics project prospectively enrolling patients with cervical artery dissection (CeAD).  CeAD, dissection of the carotid or vertebral arteries in the neck, is a major cause of stroke in young and middle-aged adults with unclear pathogenesis.  Risk factors include connective tissue disease, fibromuscular dysplasia, cervical trauma or exertion, migraine, and hypertension, but none of these fully explain the cause of the arterial wall injury.  We hypothesize that patients experience a transient arteriopathy at time of event predisposing their cervical arteries to weakening and dissection. 

In order to test this hypothesis, we are obtaining whole blood RNA from venous sampling within 4 weeks of dissection, and measuring differential RNA expression compared in the same patients at 3 and 6 months, and versus non-CeAD controls at time of event.  We will determine whether there is a reproducible gene signature corresponding to CeAD risk at time-of-event. 

During the 8 week MSSRP, the student's primary responsibilities will be to assist in the identification and enrollment of prospective cases of CeAD and controls.  A secondary goal will be to help codify our growing clinical and genetics database of CeAD cases as part of the multi-center Cervical Artery Dissection and Ischemic Stroke Patients (CADISP) study.  In this study, we have both prospectively and retrospectively enrolled 160 CeAD patients for whom we have both clinical data and a DNA repository.  The greater CADISP-Plus database, in which we are the leading U.S. enrollment site, includes over 1300 cases and controls.  Student writing projects within this database include analyses of stroke risk by collateral score, description of non-European CeAD cases, and an updated epidemiological study in the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky cohort.  Following the MSSRP project, we anticipate the student will submit an abstract for presentation at the 2015 AHA/ASA International Stroke Conference in Nashville, TN, with manuscript development to follow. 

The research team (Drs. Southerland and Worrall) have experience mentoring students in the MSSRP since 2012, with two students awarded moderated abstracts (ISC - Honolulu 2013, San Diego 2014) and one student awarded a platform presentation (ISC - San Diego 2014).  Manuscripts for all student projects are under revision. 

The student will have access to computer, office space, and administrative assistance for the duration of the MSSRP.

 

Faculty:  Susan M. Pollart, MD, MS
Department:  Family Medicine/Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development
Phone:  924-9030
Title:  Faculty Life Cycle in Academic Medicine
Abstract:  The student will conduct a literature review and analysis of the faculty life cycle in academic medicine and identify needs for specific faculty development programs at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. The research will be framed using Vigggiano  & Stroble's (2009) Career Management Life Cycle Model with an emphasis on eight phases: recruitment, orientation, exploration, engagement, development, vitality, transition, and retirement. The student researcher will also help analyze faculty employee engagement data by rank and explore network data to better understand communication networks among faculty across the School of Medicine.

 

Faculty:  Leigh Cantrell MD MPH
Department:  Obstetrics and Gynecology
Phone:  924-5100
Title:  Frailty: an outcome predictor for elderly gynecologic oncology patients.
Abstract:  The objective of this study is to determine if frailty predicts surgical complications among elderly women undergoing gynecologic oncology procedures.  We are prospectively studying a cohort of gynecologic oncology patients age ≥ 65, undergoing surgery on the Gynecologic Oncology service. Frailty is evaluated using a validated assessment tool. The primary outcome measures include 30 day postoperative complication rates.  The medical student will have the opportunity to be involved in the consent process, survey administration, data collection, statistical analysis, and writing an abstract if so desired.

 

Faculty:  Craig S. Nunemaker, Ph.D.
Department:  Medicine, Endocinology and Metabolism
Phone:  924-0229
Title:  Inflammatory factors that disrupt insulin-producing cells in early type 2 diabetes
Abstract:  Type 2 diabetes is a devastating metabolic disorder that affects more than 25 million Americans and is characterized by insulin resistance and declining insulin production. A key element in the progression of diabetes is the destruction of insulin-producing cells in pancreatic islets called beta-cells. Our hypothesis is that a key trigger of beta-cell dysfunction is chronic exposure to fat-derived inflammatory mediators such as cytokines, reactive oxygen species, and lipid factors. For this project, students will learn to use fluorescence microscopy techniques to examine possible underlying causes of beta-cell dysfunction in mouse models of obesity and diabetes at the level of the pancreatic islet. Specifically, students will assess the effects of pro-inflammatory factors on isolated islets by the following endpoints: (a) glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, (b) glucose-stimulated calcium changes, (c) cell death, and (d) islet metabolism measured by mitochondrial activity. Though not guaranteed, MSSRP students often secure co-author status on a peer-reviewed publication.

 

Faculty:  Bijoy Kundu, PhD
Department:  Radiology and Medical Imaging
Phone:  924-0284
Title:  Assessment of Myocardial Glucose and Fatty Acid Metabolism from Dynamic PET Images of Mouse Heart In Vivo
Abstract:This project will evaluate myocardial glucose and fatty acid (FA) metabolism in mouse heart using tracer kinetic models. My laboratory has established quantitative tracer kinetic models to evaluate glucose metabolism in normal and stressed mouse heart from dynamic 2-[18F] fluoro-2deoxy-D-glucose(FDG) Positron Emission Tomography (PET) images in vivo (IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science 2013; The Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2013; Journal of American Heart Association 2013). This project will assess FA metabolism from dynamic 11C-palmitate PET images of mouse heart in addition to evaluating FDG metabolism in vivo.  Students with a programming background in MATLAB will be preferred.

 

Faculty:  Jiang He
Department:  Radiology and Medical Imaging
Phone:  243-1011
Title:  Loading miRNA and siRNA into exosomes and in vitro evaluation of the complexes in cell culture.
Abstract:
We are exploring ways to engineer exosomes as next generation of drug and gene delivery carriers. Exosomes are nano-sized vesicles of endocytic origin that are involved in cell-to-cell communication including shuttle RNA, mainly mRNA and microRNA. As exosomes naturally carry RNA between cells, these particles might be useful in gene cancer therapy to deliver therapeutic short interfering RNA (siRNA) to the target cells. Despite the promise of RNA interference (RNAi) for use in therapy, several technical obstacles must be overcome. Exogenous siRNA is prone to degradation, has a limited ability to cross cell membranes and may induce an immune response. Naturally occurring RNA carriers, such as exosomes, might provide an untapped source of effective delivery strategies. The actual work will be working on different ways of loading miRNA and siRNA into exosomes and in vitro evaluation of the complexes in cell culture.

 

Faculty:  J. Jared Christophel MD MPH
Department:  Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Phone:  243-9391

Title:  Facial Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery: Psychological Distress After Reconstruction, Optimizing Auricle Repair, EMR Productivity Analysis, and Suture Simulators

Abstract:  As a member of the Otolaryngology clinical research team, the student will have the opportunity to:

-Meet most of the UVA Department of Otolaryngology.
-Join us in clinic and in the OR on the facial plastic surgery service.
-Manage an ongoing research project looking at measures of psychological distress in patients undergoing facial reconstruction.  The student will be designing and creating a patient education video, assisting in data collection, entering data into a project database, analyzing the data with statistical software, and drafting or editing the final paper.
-Collaborate with the JMU faculty who created a custom speaker array capable of assessing sound localization in a horizontal plane.  We will be testing the effect of auricle shape (after otoplasty) on binaural hearing.
-Collect and analyze data on faculty academic productivity before and after implementation of an electronic medical record.
-Assess resident performance on suture simulators.

The student last year finished with a first author paper, and will be co-author on three additional papers."

 

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