January 12, 2018

Updated with awards: 100 research projects exhibited at 2018 Medical Student Research Symposium

Pictured from left are Uche Ononuju and Lauren Newhouse.

Medical students like Uche Ononuju and Lauren Newhouse couldn't help but check out the competitors - all 100 of them - at the annual Medical Student Research Symposium held Jan. 12 in the Wayne State University School of Medicine's Scott Hall cafeteria and the adjacent Margherio Family Conference Center.

"It's fun to see other people's posters and compare," said Ononuju, a second-year student who presented a poster detailing research about continuous positive airway pressure therapy in an animal model, completed last summer at Case Western University in Ohio.

Her project, the result of an eight-week summer research program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, was her first foray into basic science research as a graduate student.

Newhouse, a fellow sophomore, stayed closer to home last summer. She was one of two dozen WSU students accepted to the School of Medicine's Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship program, and worked in the lab of Professor of Internal Medicine Noreen Rossi, M.D., at the John D. Dingell Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Poster categories included basic science studies, prospective clinical science studies, prospective clinical assessment/improvement studies, retrospective clinical science studies, and retrospective clinical care and public health studies.

"These posters are all very well done and so diverse in topic," Newhouse said.

Medical student Connor Buechler won the event's coveted Dr. Hershel and Lois Sandberg Travel Award, given to the poster with the highest total score from judges, for "A primate model of pegivirus co-infection with SIV." He also won first place in the Basic Science category. (See end of article for all winners).

The annual symposium gives students an opportunity to discuss and deliberate research and accompanying results with fellow students and faculty, and strengthens the message that clinicians can also have fulfilling research careers. All WSU medical students were eligible to submit abstracts on a research project to which they made a significant contribution in their undergraduate or graduate years.

Third-year student Shivali Patel participated in the symposium (and summer research) last year as well.
"It's always a new learning experience," she said.

Patel's poster, "Myelin content and axonal size/density is reduced in early-course schizophrenia: Evidence from multi-echo T2 imaging study," was stationed next to that of second-year student Fereshteh Azad. Azad noted how appreciative she and her fellow medical students are of the Office of Medical Student Research and Innovation, established last July to assist students interested in research and entrepreneurship.

"They've been helpful with finding research opportunities," she said. "You get to hear more about different fields and learn different things."

The event is co-organized by Dr. Rossi; Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology Dennis Goebel, Ph.D.; and the Office of Medical Student Research and Innovation's Gini Gilchrist. The organizers acknowledge Dean Jack D. Sobel, M.D.; Vice Dean of Medical Education Richard Baker, M.D.; Henry Ford Health Systems Director of Research Margot LaPointe, Ph.D.; and Office of Medical Student Research and Innovation Director Joseph Dunbar, Ph.D., and especially the symposium judges, for their support.

Award winners included:

Sandberg Travel Award
Connor Buechler. Mentor: David O'Connor. "A primate model of pegivirus co-infection with SIV."

Basic Science
First place: Connor Buechler. Mentor: David O'Connor. "A primate model of pegivirus co-infection with SIV"
Second place: Prabhpreet Bassi. Mentor: Ronald Cohn. "Assessing the Therapeutic Potential of CRISPR/CAs9-Mediated Gene Modulation in Merosin-Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy Type 1A"
Third place (tie): Lily Lu. Mentor: Lisa Robinson. "Elucidating the regulation of Adam17 mediated shedding of CX3CL1 in vascular endothelium"
Third place (tie): John-Michael Guest. Mentor: Ashok Kumar. "Therapeutic efficacy of isavuconazole in experimental Aspergillus fumigatus endophthalmitis"

Prospective Clinical Science
First place: Shivali Patel. Mentor: Jeffrey Stanley. "Myelin content and axonal size/density is reduced in early-course schizophrenia: Evidence from multi-echo T2 imaging study"
Second place: Lydia Su. Mentor: Thomas Gardner. "Non-perfusion of Mid-peripheral Retina Reduces Retinal Function in Patients with Diabetic Macular Edema"

Prospective Clinical Assessment/Improvement Studies
First place: Madeline Berschback. Mentor: Jennifer Mendez. "Effect of Pediatric Mentoring Program: A Study of Medical Student Empathy and Attitudes toward Obesity"
Second place: Nathan Wood. Mentor: David Willens. "Cooking for Calmness: A Pilot Study of a Culinary Curriculum's Impact on Internal Medicine Resident Burnout"

Retrospective Clinical Science Studies
First place: Jacob Markel. Mentor: David Markel. "Early Results of a Modern Cementless Total Knee System"
Second place: Alec Bonifer. Mentor: Vijaya Kumar. "Association of serum biomarkers with severity of pulmonary embolism"
Third place: Sanjana Kulkarni. Mentor: David Eisenstein. "Prevalence of Patients with Pregnancies of Unknown Location Treated with Methotrexate"

Retrospective Clinical Care and Public Health
First place: Tabitha Moses. Mentor: Mark Greenwald. "Factors Associated with Sedative Use and Misuse Among Heroin Users"
Second place: Morgan Ellis. Mentor: Robert Welch. "Optimizing enrollment strategies for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) clinical trials: A secondary analysis of the ProTECT III trial"