MSSRP available projects - 2015

SOM Home > Research > Research > For students and postdocs > MSSRP available projects - 2015

MSSRP available projects - 2015



We will post available projects for 2015 starting in January.  Please check back then.

 


Faculty:  Craig S. Nunemaker, PhD
Department:  Medicine
Phone:  924-0229
Title: 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 sometimes secure co-author status on a peer-reviewed publication.

 

Faculty:  Daniel G Maluf
Department:  Surgery / Transplantation
Phone: 243-6573
Title:  Research in transplantation, genomics and biomarker discovery
Abstract:  Student will be part of a multidisciplinary team that helps to understand translational research. Under this system, after the student has an allocated project (complexity in concordance with education level) they are exposed to bench research but also they have contact with patients in the clinical side. As part of their training, they can observe surgical procedures (i.e., biopsies; transplant surgery) and patient evaluation and follow-up (clinical). This experience allows the students to integrate science with medicine and learn to write abstracts and manuscripts. Moreover, because of the complexity of the data analysis that is part of our research, the students are exposed to data analysis with faculty and students from the Department of Biostatics. We are part of a similar program for students from the Department of Biostatistics, where we teach them (hands on) how some of our reactions and equipment works and perform basic network analysis with genomic data.

 

Faculty:  Jim Tucker, MD (2 students requested)
Department:  Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences/Division of Perceptual Studies
Phone: 924-2281
Title:  Children's reports of past-life memories
Abstract:  This is part of an ongoing project involving more than 2,500 cases of young children from around the world who have reported memories of previous lives. Students will review individual case reports (including medical records, interviews, and correspondence) and code the material into variables.  They will then enter the information into a database, which enables analysis of various features of the cases.  Students will participate in a weekly research meeting that focuses on the scientific study of unusual phenomena, including near-death experiences and cases of purported past-life memories.  They will also have the opportunity to watch several television documentaries that have been made about this work.

 

Faculty:  Matthew J. Barrett, MD MSc
Department:  Neurology
Phone:  243-2012
Title:  Risk factors for hospitalization of Parkinson 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 direct complications of PD and indirect complications such as falls, fractures, pneumonia, and UTI.  The objective of this clinical research study is to investigate the risk factors for hospitalization of PD patients. The project will involve retrospective chart review of hospitalized patients at UVA and hospitalized non-PD control subjects. Project start-up time will be minimal because a database has already been created, the study is IRB-approved, and chart review has already begun. Participation in the project has the potential to lead to presentation of an abstract at a scientific meeting.

 

Faculty:  Paul W. Read
Department:  Radiation Oncology
Phone: 924-9288
Title:  Outcomes of head and neck cancer patients treated with radiation therapy
Abstract:  The UVA Department of Radiation Oncology has a long track record of publication its outcomes in Head and Neck Cancer.  We also have a close relationship with the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. This research position will update our Nasopharyngeal, Oropharyngeal, Unknown Primary, Hypopharyngeal, and Salivary Gland Cancer Databases.  We will write a paper on clinical outcomes of one of these groups, likely the salivary gland cancers. The student will also have the opportunity to work on an institutional clinical initiative for collecting patient reported outcomes in head and neck cancer.

 

Faculty:  Mohan Nadkarni, MD
Department:  Medicine, Division of General, Geriatric, Palliative, and Hospital Medicine
Phone:  924-5608
Title:  Improving Care for Undeserved Patients with Chronic Illness
Abstract:  The University Medical Associates  (UMA) Insulin Titration Program. The student will join faculty, medical students and pharmacists in expanding the UMA Insulin Titration program which provides enhanced clinical care to underserved patients with diabetes to improve medical outcomes. Students contact patients on a weekly basis to help motivate and coach patients for lifestyle changes that help improve outcomes in those with chronic illnesses as well as work with patients during regular clinic visits.  The student, with direction from Drs. Helenius and Nadkarni, will help design and implement an expansion of this successful program for patients. Students will participate in Data collection and analysis and presentation of results of the program.

 

Faculty:  Nancy McDaniel, MD, FAAP, FACC
Department:  Pediatric Cardiology
Phone:  924-2357
Title:  Clinical Skills Needs Assessment and Evaluation
Abstract:  The broad goal of this project is to evaluate clinical skills education at UVA. The student will conduct a literature on clinical skills education for medical students, review the clinical skill learning objectives across the curriculum, inventory the formal ways these skills are taught, inventory the assessments, and review resources including the CPD history and physical examination lists, texts, videos etc.  The student will identify gaps, redundancies (purposeful and not) and make recommendations for improvement. These recommendations will be shared with curriculum leaders.

 

Faculty:  Bijoy Kundu, PhD
Department:  Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging
Phone:  924-0284
Title:  Myocardial Metabolic Remodeling in Cardiac Hypertrophy
Abstract:  Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) due to hypertension is an important risk factor for the development of systolic and diastolic heart failure (HF). In pressure overload LVH the heart switches from fatty-acid to glucose metabolism. This initial adaptive response, however, becomes maladaptive when sustained and may trigger the onset of functional and structural remodeling of the heart leading to LVH and HF. Recent data our laboratory obtained using FDG PET imaging of mouse and human hearts with transverse aortic constriction (TAC)-induced pressure overload LVH and hypertension-induced LVH, respectively, suggest indeed that alterations in glucose metabolism precede changes in cardiac function and structure. The temporal and causal relationship between metabolic remodeling and impaired cardiac function and the development of LVH is, however, unknown. The TAC mouse model lacks some of the key features of the human disease, most importantly the slow progressive development of pressure overload. This makes it impossible to distinguish the maladaptive from the adaptive metabolic response and to identify the window for aggressive therapeutic strategies that could be used to improve clinical outcome in human hypertension. We thus propose to establish the temporal relationship between myocardial glucose metabolism and the progression to left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) model that is widely used as a model for transition from stable compensated LVH to systolic HF, by serial FDG PET and MRI in vivo and ex vivo metabolic analysis of SHR and control Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rat hearts over 12 months. This research will thus allow us to identify when metabolic changes become maladaptive and to define a window for aggressive therapy to prevent disease progression.

 

Faculty:
Department:
Phone:
Title:
Abstract:

 

Faculty:
Department:
Phone:
Title:
Abstract:

 

Faculty:
Department:
Phone:
Title:
Abstract:

 

Faculty:
Department:
Phone:
Title:
Abstract:

 

Faculty:
Department:
Phone:
Title:
Abstract:

 

Faculty:
Department:
Phone:
Title:
Abstract:

 

Faculty:
Department:
Phone:
Title:
Abstract:

 

Faculty:
Department:
Phone:
Title:
Abstract:

 

Faculty:
Department:
Phone:
Title:
Abstract: