Resident Research Testimonials

As someone who never had a significant interest in research in medical school, I was a bit nervous about the research project requirement at UVA.

LeAnn Denlinger, MD

LeAnn Denlinger, MD, PGY-3

But this was quickly overcome. During the spring of my intern year, the chiefs organized a research course, exposing us to the basics of clinical questions, literature searches, the IRB application, and biostatistics. In addition, they generated a large database of current and potential projects as well as willing research mentors at UVA. Towards the end of my intern year, I contacted a well-known mentor, Dr. Ellen Keeley, regarding a potential project in Cardiology. I immediately  connected with her energy and enthusiasm. Dr. Keeley helped guide me through the research process by obtaining IRB approval and granting me access to a large, multi-year database. Together, we are looking at delays in care regarding the treatment of NSTEMIs and developing an algorithmic approach to ensure patients get the care they need as quickly as possible. Hopefully, with faster and more guideline-based care, we will be able to improve the morbidity and mortality rates in patients presenting to UVA with NSTEMIs. Overall, it was easy to get involved in a structured and substantive research project. Thankfully, my project is more than just “crunching numbers” but is focused on making a real difference in patient care.

It was really amazing to take a study from idea to protocol to enrollment by the end of my intern year.

Daniel Stein, MD

Daniel Stein, MD, Class of 2017

There are lots of opportunities to get meaningfully involved in research at UVA. Everywhere I looked, senior attendings were happy to go out of there way to get residents involved. Most people start looking for projects by the end of the first year as the research methods course gets started. I was lucky enough to get started early in my first year with the GI department, and had more opportunities than time to pursue after that. My research has primarily focused on the “luminal” side of GI.

I completed a project early in intern year looking at outcomes with Remicade in ulcerative colitis from a database at UVA. This was an opportunity to see the department’s commitment to providing the opportunity to present my work. I had time off to travel to a national conference (during a busy inpatient rotation) and funding for transportation and lodging from my PI.

I was then lucky enough to take advantage of one of the residency program’s departmental grants to start a pilot trial of linaclotide (Linzess) in use for preparation for capsule endoscopy. This funding allowed me to pay for the medication and pharmacy costs and made the work possible. It was really amazing to take a study from idea to protocol to enrollment (still underway) by the end of my intern year. I loved the opportunity, and everyone in the department was really supportive along the way, from volunteering to help enroll subjects to interpreting the tests. In some spare time, I worked on two chapters for the 2016 version of the 5-minute clinical consult.

Overall, it is typical for residents to have at least one first author manuscript or publication, and this is my goal. Scholar’s Day provides a great opportunity to see this in action — I’m amazed by all the great work people have done. Even for those with no previous research experience, the great mentorship combined with the research course mean that you will have ample help here at UVA. Overall, opportunities are everywhere you look!

UVA’s commitment to research is seen through the ample opportunities that exist to pursue your specific interests.

Michael Loguidice, MD

Michael Loguidice, MD, Class of 2016

The Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Virginia fosters intellectual curiosity among residents and supports the pursuit of knowledge through research opportunities. Immediately upon commencing my residency at UVA, I was paired with a mentor tailored to my specific research interests. With the intent to pursue a fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine, I was extremely pleased with the ease in which I was able to find a mentor in the Cardiology Division.

Since the start of residency, my research mentor and I have published one research project focused on heart rate variability (HRV) in burn trauma patients. HRV is a noninvasive technique to assess the degree of fluctuations between the intervals of normal heartbeats and has been proven to be deranged in various pathological states. Since patients who suffer burns demonstrate evidence of cardiac myocyte death, despite hyperdynamic left ventricular function via echocardiography, we attempted to identify patients in the immediate post-burn period at risk for a complicated hospital course and death. Two specific HRV measurements were found to be inversely related to the percent of total body surface area affected by the burn. Most importantly, these two parameters (standard deviation of NN intervals and low frequency power) were shown to be a strong predictor of death and possibly to a greater extent than the percent of total body surface area affected by the burn. Our study suggests that deranged HRV in the early post-burn period, when combined with the percent of total body surface area affected by burn, may result in improved risk prediction in this patient population. We think that medications such as beta blockers that improve HRV may prove to be a prophylactic, therapeutic intervention in burn trauma patients.

UVA’s commitment to research is seen through the ample opportunities that exist to pursue your specific interests, the supportive faculty who are highly respected within their individual fields, and the program’s requirement for residents to present research at the annual Scholars’ and Research Day. By requiring PGY2’s to identify a research mentor and offering residents dedicated research blocks, we are able to put enough time into a project to see it to fruition.