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:  F. Garrett-Bakelman, MD, PhD
Department:  Medicine and BMG
Contact:  Phone # 924-9220, email: fg5q@virginia.edu
Project title: 
Disease drivers in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Project description: 
Our laboratory is focused on the cellular events that underlie the establishment and progression of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), as well as biomarkers of the disease which can predict patients’ response to treatment and survival. We have several available projects that interested students can participate in. The first project is the design and implement validation approaches for potential biomarkers of disease. The second project involves the functional testing of potential disease drivers in AML. Applicants should expect cell and molecular biology work, however the lab can teach all necessary techniques. There are also side projects available, including computational biology projects, depending on time, experience and interests. The exact project will be tailored to applicant and lab interests.


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:  Shrirang Gadrey, MD
Department:  Medicine
Contact: 
Phone # (202) 679-2722, email:  smg7t@virginia.edu
Project title: 
Pilot testing of a novel respiratory monitoring system
Project description: 
With support from UVA’s Center for Engineering in Medicine, Dr. Shrirang Gadrey (Hospital Medicine) and Dr. Ronald Williams (Electrical and Computer Engineering) have developed a respiratory monitoring system with the overarching goal of analyzing thoracoabdominal motion to identify markers of imminent respiratory collapse. The system has been pilot tested among healthy subjects in the exercise physiology lab. We now seek the service of a medical student to collect data from acutely ill subjects in the UVA ER. The student will enroll patients that meet our study criteria in the ER and record elements of history, vital signs and physical examination using a pre-defined protocol. They will then apply our device to capture a 2 minute sample of target motion. Students are expected to become proficient in the systematic assessment of “labored breathing” at the bedside – a skill that will serve them well in their careers. Depending on their motivation, experience and interest, students will also have the opportunity to learn about translational research, signal processing and advanced analytic algorithms. Investigators are very open to considering longer term involvement that can result in authorship opportunities. We hope to share an intellectually stimulating summer with an enthusiastic and hard-working student.


Faculty:  Thomas P Loughran Jr, MD (2 student requested)
Department: 
Hematology Oncology
Contact: 
Phone # 243-9926/
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.


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