MSSRP available projects – 2020

 

Faculty:  Chang-Chia Liu, Ph.D. (2 students requested)
Department: 
Neurosurgery
Contact: 
Phone # 982-0463, email:  cl6gq@virginia.edu
Project title: 
Brain mechanism of pain in humans
Project description: 
Several unique neurophysiology and neuroimaging studies of pain involving the use of intracranial LFPs, Scalp EEG, MRI, fMRI, and/or simultaneous EEG-fMRI in humans and animals are ongoing in the lab. We are offering highly motivated students for the training opportunity on electrophysiology and neuroimaging data collection, advanced signal analysis, quantitative sensory testing, and/or multivariate statistical analysis for pain-related studies in the lab.


 

Faculty:  Mark Russell, MD 
Department: 
Dermatology
Contact: 
Phone# 924-5599, email:  mr2h@virginia.edu
Project title: 
Digital Photographic Database
Project description: 
Creation of a digital photographic database of clinical and dermatology teaching slides, and teaching tool. The finished instrument will be used for the education of medical students, residents, fellows, and attending’s in the department of Dermatology, the medical school, and the medical center. The student will be involved in the process of scanning, indexing, and validating the photographic contents in conjunction with an archivist and faculty member. The student will also be part of a team that evaluates, and refines the process, and teaching component. This project will appeal to students that are organized, detail-oriented, interested in research and development, and interested in learning more about primary skin disease and cutaneous findings of systemic disease.


Faculty:  Thomas Hartka, MD, MS
Department: 
Emergency Medicine
Contact: 
Phone # 924-8488, email:  trh6u@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu
Project title: 
Analysis of Mortality for AIS Injury Codes in Pediatric Trauma
Project description:  The Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) is a classification system for traumatic injuries which includes a severity estimation for each injury code. The severity of these injuries is largely based on adult data and it is not clear how these injury severity codes correlate with outcomes in pediatric trauma. This project will involve analyzing data from the National Trauma Databank to determine the mortality associated with AIS injury codes for pediatric patients. This project will involve data mining in a relational database.

Substantial previous programming experience is required (degree in CS or related field). Experience with R or Python is preferred. Please email me if you are interested and provide a CV.


Faculty:  Luke R. Wilkins, MD (2 students requested)
Department: 
Radiology
Contact: 
Phone # (517) 902-3328, email:  lrw6n@virginia.edu
Project title: 
Evaluating the efficacy of caffeic acid in treating metastatic colorectal carcinoma using hypoxic cell cultures
Project description: 
Embolization is a type of procedure where material is delivered through a catheter in an artery and causes cessation of blood flow. This procedure may be used for many different types of conditions and may use many different types of embolization materials (eg. small particles or spheres to occlude blood flow). Embolization can be used to treat trauma, cancer, or bleeding arteries. Our lab has evaluated addition of a cinnamic acid derivative called caffeic acid to embolic particles. Caffeic acid is a naturally occurring compound found in many commonly ingested foods (eg.avocado). Caffeic acid causes elevated intracellular lactate levels and decreased cellular growth and may be used as an alternative to normal chemotherapeutic drugs. The current study will assess the safety, toxicity, and feasibility of caffeic acid during embolization in a woodchuck model of hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer. In addition, we will be evaluating the efficacy of caffeic acid in treating metastatic colorectal carcinoma using hypoxic cell cultures.  Students should expect to gain experience in translational research study design, data collection, animal model experimental work, advanced cross-sectional image interpretation, and embolic delivery preparation.

 


Faculty:  Coleen McNamara, MD
Department: 
Cardiology
Contact: 
Phone # 243-5854, email: cam8c@virginia.edu
Project title: 
Microscopy and RNA transcriptional analyses on tissues obtained from a transgenic mouse expressing an ID3-GFP reporter allele.
Project description: 
ID3 is a transcription factor involved in the regulation of a broad range of genes involved in many facets of human physiology. Recent studies have revealed that a common coding mutation in ID3 is associated with increased risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis. Our present study seeks to understand how differential expression of ID3 in vascular tissue may serve as an underlying driver for variations in the development of atherosclerosis seen in vascular beds from different embryological origins. To answer this question, we will be using a combination of techniques including microscopy and RNA transcriptional analyses on tissues obtained from a transgenic mouse expressing an ID3-GFP reporter allele.


 

Faculty:  Thomas P Loughran Jr, MD (2 student requested)
Department: 
Hematology Oncology
Contact:
Bryna Shema, Phone #243-8431 /email: bcs6c@virginia.edu
Project title: 
Leukemia Registry
Project description: 
The Large Granular Lymphocyte (LGL) Leukemia Registry is the only national registry that collects, manages, and analyzes information on people with LGL leukemia. It also maintains a bank of blood and tissue samples from people with LGL Leukemia. The registry is maintained here at the University of Virginia and is directed by Thomas P. Loughran, Jr., M.D. The Registry has been actively recruiting patients for over a decade and as such, the records pertaining to the natural history and medical diagnostics and testing for patients in the Registry are largely paper documents that have been faxed or sent for inclusion in the Registry. With the advent of digital search, text extraction and language processing capabilities that are available to researchers, it would be hugely consequential to the research to convert the paper documents available in the Registry to digital format. This process would require team member(s) who are organized and detail oriented to help (1) create a digital files architecture to act as the foundation for storing patient files then (2) convert and organize the files within this structure so that they are available in an accessible fashion for ongoing research endeavors. Once data is converted to digital format, students will use digital search tools available to the lab on AWS as well as manual chart review to identify patterns and trends in the overall LGL Leukemia patient population. Students will also work with direct clinical questions and use R programming language to analyze the mined dataset. Students will work under the direct supervision of the Clinical Research Coordinator for the LGL Leukemia Registry with input from Dr. Loughran and members of the Loughran lab including direct work with MD/PhD student HeeJin Cheon. Students willing to aid in this project would need to have a basic understanding of Adobe Acrobat and the Windows operating system. Students will be required to complete IRB-required training on human subjects research prior to joining the lab. They will be trained in the structure of patient medical files, including recognizing different documents and the linguistics used in patient notes and testing. Students would also get a primer in the finer points of hematologic testing and the uses of different tests, specifically Flow Cytometry, T-Cell Clonality Testing and Complete Blood Counts with Differential. Students will also shadow Dr. Loughran in one clinic day at the beginning of their term in order to introduce them to the information about the disease and to give a firsthand experience of how the research directly impacts patients with this disease. Interested students may have the opportunity to continue working with the lab through future semesters or summer sessions. This experience is expected to benefit those that are interested in careers in medicine, clinical research and/or biomedical research.


Faculty:  John F. Angle
Department: 
Interventional Radiology
Contact: 
Phone # 296-3472, email: jfa3h@virginia.edu
Project title: 
Database Review
Project description: 
Chart review of catheter directed arterial thrombolysis in acute lower extremity arterial thrombosis or embolus. Students will review a database of procedures and collect clinical outcomes using EPIC review. Hypothesis: there are significant clinical predictors of failure that have not been previously described in the procedure outcomes literature.


Faculty:  Daniel Sheeran
Department: 
Department of Radiology 
Contact: 
Phone # 924-9279, email: dps7u@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu
Project title:
Imaging techniques related to MRI, CT, and ultrasound
Project description: 
Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) placement is an increasingly common procedure performed for patients with complications related to portal hypertension. This procedure has traditionally been performed with fluoroscopic guidance and anatomic landmarks. Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) has also grown in use with increasing ease of use and image quality. Most recently directional intravascular ultrasound (ICE) has been used in minimally invasive procedures beyond its traditional use in the heart. The goal of this project is to review the use of intravascular ultrasound in delineating the anatomy and feasibility of TIPS placement, and how it can augment the safety profile of this procedure. The student would learn imaging techniques related to MRI, CT, and ultrasound. In addition, the student would have the opportunity to see correlative cases in the angio suite to see the clinical application of this research project.


Faculty:  Richard Hall MD, MS
Department:  Medicine/Oncology
Contact: 
Phone # 924-4246, email:  rdh3q@virginia.edu
Project title: 
Thoracic Oncology Genomic Database
Project description: 
Our thoracic medical oncology team would like to support an interested medical student in a project to update clinical data contained in our team’s thoracic genomic database. This database contains both genomic mutation results as well as clinical data for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients diagnosed and/or treated at UVA since 2014. NSCLC comprises a heterogeneous group of cancers, many of which are driven by oncogene mutations. There is wide variability in treatment response based on the genomics of a patient’s NSCLC, and we have a number of ongoing retrospective projects exploring outcome differences in NSCLC that utilize this database. We would like to work with a medical student in updating the database for the years 2018 – 2019 as well as performing analysis work related to oncogene patterns and incidence over the past 5 years. This project is ideal for a medical student who is interested in internal medicine and/or hematology/oncology. It would provide an opportunity to work directly with both thoracic medical oncologists at UVA with the potential for clinical shadowing opportunities and an opportunity to learn about a career as a clinical investigator.


 

Faculty:  Nishtha Sodhi MD, FACC (2 students requested)
Department:  Cardiovascular
Contact: 
Phone # 924-2420, email:  NS9SA@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu
Project title: 
Understanding Contemporary Management of Patients with Mitral Regurgitation
Project description: 
Transcatheter therapies have completely revolutionized the management of valvular heart disease and structural heart disease. Often times, these therapies can provide a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open heart surgery with faster recovery times and sometimes are a patient’s only hope for treatment if they are otherwise prohibitive surgical risk. The Advanced Cardiac Valve Center at UVA is heavily involved with extensive clinical trial and clinical research on aortic, mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonary valve issues along with heart failure and other aspects in cardiology.

There is a large cohort of patients with mitral regurgitation (MR) who are either being under-treated or receiving therapies too late into their cardiomyopathic process. We are seeking to determine current real-world management of patients with both Primary MR and Secondary MR and determine the contemporary utilization of optimal heart failure therapy alone, surgical therapies, and transcatheter therapies (including both transcatheter mitral valve repair and replacement). This data will be obtained from institutional echocardiographic and EMR databases and potentially correlated with national databases to help guide future clinical care regarding optimal patient selection for each therapeutic modality, timing of therapeutic intervention, and expanding the cohort of patients receiving appropriate care. The selected medical student/s will have a designated faculty mentor, Dr. Sodhi, and will also be included in our Multidisciplinary Heart Team and have exposure and interaction with multiple cardiologists and cardiac surgeons and opportunity for clinical context of the research we are performing.


 

Faculty:  Yevgeniy Shildkrot (MD)
Department:  Ophthalmology
Contact: 
Phone # (718) 541-2146, email:  YS8Q@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu
Project title: 
Chart Review 
Project description: 
Retroactive Chart Review Study for 27 Gauge Pars Plana Vitrectomy performed within the University of Virginia Healthcare System


Faculty:  Lois Shepherd, J.D.
Department: Center for Health Humanities & Ethics
Contact:  Phone # 982-3970, email:  lls4b@viginia.edu
Project title: 
Designing, planning, and implementing a station for public, participatory writing, with the goal of engaging and collecting the diverse, voluntarily and anonymously offered perspectives of patients, staff, trainees, and visitors at the hospital 
Project description: 
Carried out in the Center for Health Humanities and Ethics, this project entails designing, planning, and implementing a site in the University of Virginia Medical Center that will be a station for public, participatory writing, with the goal of engaging and collecting the diverse, voluntarily and anonymously offered perspectives of patients, staff, trainees, and visitors at the hospital. The resultant collection of anonymous writings will be made available to the public, in part or as a whole, both to offer windows into shared experiences of diverse participants and to inspire further writings. Analysis of the received set of writings will be expected to provide insights into the personal journeys made through the medical center and its myriad spaces, and aims to uncover the ways that various people visiting/working in the hospital weave identity and story outside and beyond their more conventional, formalized contacts within the institution and its services. Beyond its research utility, the site will provide a safe refuge for reflection in the otherwise hectic environment of the hospital. Matters to be addressed include the logistics of siting and maintaining the writing “station,” review and management of the repository of submissions, ethical and/or legal implications of this activity and its outcomes, and longer-term conservation/preservation of participants’ writings.


 

Faculty:  Amber Inofuentes, MD
Department:  Department of Medicine
Contact: 
Phone # 243-4288, email:  ant4p@virginia.edu
Project title:
Develop and conduct surveys of bedside nurses and hospitalists
Project description: 
We are seeking one medical student to help develop and conduct surveys of bedside nurses and hospitalists on the general medicine units to understand the impact of Individualized Care Plans on frontline clinicians. The purpose of this survey is to explore whether the availability of Individualized Care Plans at the point of care has improved providers’ experience of providing care for patients who are frequently admitted. The patients enrolled in the Medical Subspecialties HOME program (for patients with high hospital utilization) often have co-existent complex behavioral and substance use disorders that can lead to provider burnout and moral distress and patients enrolled in the program describe trust as a barrier to better care. To develop the survey, the student will first have the opportunity to learn qualitative research skills (data collection and analysis) by conducting qualitative interviews with sample participants under the direction of an experienced qualitative researcher. As time and student interest allows, the student may also assist with qualitative analysis of interviews of patients enrolled in the Medical Subspecialties HOME program (who have individualized care plans) and development of a patient survey to be given prior to enrollment for new patients. Alternatively, the student may participate in quantitative patient-centered outcomes research for the program with disease specific metrics such as decreased adverse events (hypoglycemia, DKA for diabetics) or increased outpatient addiction and behavioral medicine engagement for those with substance use disorders. S/he will be invited to publish and present the results of the study with the research team.


Faculty:  Bryant Cameron Webb, MD, JD
Department:  Public Health Sciences
Contact: 
Phone # 924-1938, email:  BCW8Q@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu
Project title: 
Analysis of the performance of Medicaid across the US
Project description: 
Medicaid has had an increasing amount of changes since its creation in terms of execution and implementation. Programmatic changes driven primarily at the state level are important in providing adequate care to that also need to be recognized to fully understand its current position in the U.S. healthcare system and in the millions of Americans who depend on Medicaid to receive health care. As such, it is imperative to critically examine programs in each state to gain a better understanding of the extent to which the programs are fulfilling the legislative intent of Medicaid. In this report, we conducted a comprehensive review of Medicaid programs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In accordance with the guidelines set forth by CBO, we evaluated each program according to the level of access provided, the sustainability of each program, and the value regarding the cost of each program compared with metrics of health for the Medicaid population in each state. Our objective in this report is to provide a thorough and timely analysis of the performance of Medicaid across the US. In doing so, we hope that our findings will inform policy conversations moving forward and incite state-level legislature to consider opportunities for improvement in their respective programs. The medical student working on this project will prepare findings for publication.

Preferences will be given to candidates with a strong background in writing, Excel, SAS and/or SPSS.


Faculty:  Bryant Cameron Webb, MD, JD
Department:  Public Health Sciences
Contact: 
Phone # 924-1938, email:  BCW8Q@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu
Project title: 
Comparative Utility of Social Determinants of Health Screening Tools 
Project description: 
It has been well-established that social determinants of health (SDH), such as education, housing, and food insecurity, strongly affect health outcomes in the United States. Numerous screening tools have been developed for healthcare settings to identify and intervene in various social challenges encountered by patient. However, there is a lack of consensus on which screening tools are most accurate and effective. Our objective is to identify which SDH screening tool produces the most sensitive, specific, and accurate results. We want to assess the relative ability of different screening tools to identify SDH threats by comparing several SDH screening tools to gold standards identified in the literature. Each screening tool will be scored based on its ability to identify social challenges correctly. In turn it will enable researchers to identify the screening tool that offers the greatest utility for apprehending individuals with intervenable social needs. We will use these data to develop recommendations on which SDH screening tools are best suited for adoption by clinicians practicing in ambulatory primary care facilities similar to the University Medical Associates Clinic at the University of Virginia. Our aim is to provide further nuance to the growing body of literature regarding SDH screening tools and encourage greater adoption of these tools in the care of our patients. The medical student on this project will prepare findings for publication.

Preferences will be given to candidates with a strong background in writing, Excel, SAS and/or SPSS.

 


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