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UI Premed Student Summer Research Internship

The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine (CCOM) will be conducting a pilot project this summer to fund 10 premed UI undergraduate students to perform a project with a CCOM faculty member over 8 weeks this summer 2021 that will lead to submission of a first and last author publication for the student and faculty member, respectively, by the end of the 8-week period.

Types of feasible projects might include the following:

  1. Analyzing an existing dataset.
  2. Performing an established lab assay and evaluating the performance characteristics of the assay or determining the prevalence of a biomarker on an existing repository of specimens.
  3. Writing an up-to-date review article on a given topic of interest.

But the goal of any project is that it be discrete, short-term, eminently feasible and lead to a publication.

The CCOM will provide:
• Student Stipend of $3000 for the 8 week internship period.
• Publication Costs
• Up to $500 for supplies, data services or core expenses. 

Project proposals will be posted below as well as on the MEDICUS/MAPS websites for students to see which projects most interest them. 
 

Faculty Mentors

Faculty members who are interested in mentoring a student should submit a one paragraph project description (200 words max) to Rob Piper by April 15 using the form located at https://uiowa.infoready4.com/CompetitionSpace/#competitionDetail/1840132.   
 

Student Applicants

Students will need to apply by April 23 listing their top five choices, their major, college, year in college, whether under-represented in medicine (Hispanic, Black, Native American, Pacific Islander, first generation, rural background, low income), provide their GPA, and list of science courses taken to date.  Students of all backgrounds will be eligible, but students with a background under-represented in medicine will be an important consideration in selection.  Students can apply online beginning April 16 at the following link: https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_abBU0eGhuMkzfng.  

Students who are currently registered for classes and are/will be registered for Fall classes as a premed undergraduate are eligible to apply.  Recent graduates are not eligible. 
 

Matching

Matching of projects with students will be subject to approval by the participating faculty member by May 1, 2021.
 

Projects

Project # PI Info Description

PI: Dr. Andrew Peterson, Clinical Professor and Head Team Physician
Location: UI Sports Medicine
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience:  Yes

Objective: Write a review article on the gyncologic care of the athlete and use the literature review afterward to develop a Delphi consensus project to assess common practice and standards of care.

This project has 2 aims:

1.  Write a review article on the gynecologic care of the athlete.  There are no comprehensive review articles in the literature that discuss the issues and care of common gynecologic conditions and circumstances that affect competitive athletes.  This review would ignore well described issues such as bone health and female athlete triad, but focus on topics such as:

  • Timing of menses for performance and injury prevention
  • Genitourinary infections in athletes
  • Gynecologic flora issues in athletes
  • Genitourinary trauma
  • Return to sport following childbirth and abortion (spontaneous, medical and surgical)

2.  Use the literature review from #1 to develop a Delphi consensus project to assess common practice and standards of care related to the topics covered in #1.

Aim 1 would easily be completed during the 8 week summer research internship.  The student would be first author on the manuscript and a prominent Sports Medicine journal has already expressed interested in publishing the work. 

Aim 2 would not be completed during the summer internship but would be finished by other members of the research team.  The student would also be included as an author on any manuscripts that are produced from that work. 

2

PI: Dr. Brooks Jackson, Professor of Pathology
Location: CMAB 312
Dates: June/July
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Determine, analyze, and write a comparison on the publication data of faculty in the Carver College of Medicine.  

Evaluation of CCOM faculty published scholarship

Objective: To determine and compare the percent of CCOM faculty who publish annually stratified by academic rank, faculty track (tenure vs clinical track), department, gender, highest degree (e.g. MD, PhD) using data collected annually by Dean’s Office. Statistical analyses will be performed by student in conjunction with ICTS statistician.

Student should be proficient in Excel and have excellent writing skills for manuscript preparation.

Opportunity to shadow for 4 hours with Dr. Jackson on Transfusion Medicine service.

3

PI: Dr. Vignesh Packiam, Assistant Professor of Urology
Location: UIHC, 3-RCP
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Analyze data from a novel combination treatment for bladder cancer and prepare a manuscript for publication. 

Intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the first step in management of patients with high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Unfortunately, 30-50% of these patients will experience disease recurrence and progression, with an attendant increased risk of death from bladder cancer. Radical cystectomy remains the preferred treatment option for patients who develop BCG unresponsive NMIBC. However, many patients will be either unwilling or unfit for surgery, particularly given the often advanced age of bladder cancer patients and the relatively high complication rate associated with cystectomy. We have been evaluating doublet intravesical chemotherapy regimen (Gemcitabine and Docetaxel) in this patient population with promising results. For patient with more refractory disease we have evaluated a novel combination of agents including IV Pembrolizumab and intravesical Gemcitabine and Cabazitaxel. In the ~10 patients who have been given this regimen, we have so far noted a 100% response. These results have not yet been reported and would make for an excellent small publication to highlight this data.

4

PI: Dr. Vignesh Packiam, Assistant Professor of Urology
Location: UIHC, 3-RCP
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a case report for publication on a recent radical cystectomy in a patient with leiomyosarcoma.

High grade leiomyosarcoma of the bladder is extremely rare. We have recently performed a radical cystectomy (bladder removal) in a patient with a 10cm leiomyosarcoma. We have high quality CT and MRI images, as well as high resolution pictures from the pathologist. Finally, we have tumor material banked in order to have genomic sequencing performed by the Sarcoma physicians. This would be a great case report that can be submitted for a high impact publication such as Lancet Oncology or NEJM, but if this is not successful there are easier back up journals such as Urology Case Reports.

5

PI: Dr. Vincent Magnotta, Professor of Radiology
Location: PBDB
Dates: June 1 - July 31
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Statistical analysis of MR imaging data and manuscript preparation.

We have been exploring the impact of diet in subjects with multiple sclerosis. We have collected MR imaging data in subjects undergoing different diet interventions. The volumetric MR imaging data has been analyzed to delineate size of anatomical brain regions as well as lesion load. We would like to correlate this data with assessments of subject performance on various activities including walking. This project would involve statistical analysis of the data and working on manuscript preparation from this data.

6

PI: Dr. Junjie Liu, Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology
Location: Flexible (computer-based)
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Data analysis of sleep studies from UIHC, reading pertinent papers and writing the results into a full-length manuscript for publication.

This project is ideal for a highly motivated pre-med student who is skilled at and comfortable with scientific writing, and would like to gain hands-on experiences with biomedical data analysis. Prior coursework in physiology is desirable but not mandatory. Although this project is entirely computer-based, the student only needs basic computer skills (no programming needed). Very briefly, we will showcase a novel biomarker signal that is computed from the data in clinical sleep studies. In theory, this biomarker can describe the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic tones during sleep. I have done the programming and ironed out the analysis protocol. The student will work with me to analyze at least 2000 sleep studies available from the sleep medicine clinic. Tentatively, the student will spend four weeks conducting data analysis and reading the pertinent papers, and four weeks writing the results into a full-length manuscript (around 3000 words). We aim to publish this in a peer-reviewed, PubMed-indexed journal, with the student as the first author. Besides the eight weeks of very intense work, the student needs to complete pertinent ethical trainings in advance (taking 10-20 hours), and revise the manuscript based on peer review afterwards (taking 20-30 hours).

7

PI: Dr. Nirav Dhanesha, Research Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
Location: 3160 ML
Dates: June 1 - July 31
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a case-control study evaulating stroke outcome in obese patients treated with reperfusion therapy compaed with lean stroke patients treated with reperfusion therapy.

Objective: To evaluate stroke outcome in obese patients treated with reperfusion therapy

Every year more than 15 million people in the world suffer a stroke, and ~800,000 of those are in the US. Stroke remains the main cause of disability in the US. Several studies have reported obesity as a significant risk factor for stroke and may worsen outcome by promoting thrombosis and vascular inflammation. The global prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically and 35% of first ever stroke patients being classified as clinically obese. In general, obese individuals had 64% greater probability of a stroke compared with healthy weight subjects.

At present, an acute ischemic stroke is managed by intravenous thrombolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) and/or mechanical thrombectomy (collectively referred as reperfusion therapy). Importantly, data regarding stroke outcome in obese patients treated with reperfusion therapy are scarce. In this project, we propose a case-control study using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) to evaluate the stroke outcome in obese patients treated with reperfusion therapy compared with lean stroke patients treated with reperfusion therapy. Data will be obtained from the NIS, the largest publicly available all-payer inpatient care database, with over 7 million discharges per year from short-term hospitals in 48 states in the U.S., representing about a 20% random sample.

8

PI: Dr. Colleen Stockdale, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Location: UIHC, 51217 PFP
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Work with a team to complete analysis, interpretation, and write a manuscript on a dataset of patients who have undergone cerifical LEEP procedures for cerfical dysplasia and experienced pain during the outpaitent procedure.

The UI Premed Summer Research Student will have 2 faculty mentors, Dr. Abbey Hardy-Fairbanks, Clinical Associate Professor, and myself (Colleen Stockdale, MD, MS). We are both experienced with Summer Research Fellowship Programs had have successfully mentored a number of medical students and pre-medical students individually and together. Many of our mentees have won awards for their work both at the CCOM Research Day as well as for presentations at national meetings. Thus, we have a proven track record of success.

We have a pilot data base of patients who have undergone cervical LEEP procedure for cervical dysplasia to assess their level of pain with various aspects of the procedure when performed in an outpatient setting. The student will work with a team to complete analysis, interpretation, and write-up a manuscript. The student may also submit the work for presentation to a regional/national meeting (abstract). The student may attend colposcopy and procedure clinic to better understand the procedures involved in the diagnosis and treatment of cervical dysplasia (including colposcopy and LEEP).

9

PI: Dr. Kelly Schieltz, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Location: 251 CDD
Dates: June 7 - July 30 or August 13, to account for vacation time
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Code clinician coaching behavior, analyze the data, and summarize the outcomes in a paper to be submitted to a telehealth, pediatric, or behavior analytic journal.

An Evaluation of Changes in Coaching Behavior When Directing Parents of Young Children with Autism to Conduct Behavioral Assessments and Treatments via Telehealth

Our NIH-funded team developed an effective and efficient behavioral assessment and treatment model for young children with autism who engage in challenging behavior (e.g., aggression and self-injury). Behavior analysts coach the parents of these young children in their homes via telehealth to conduct assessment and treatment procedures. Our research has shown that this telehealth model consistently results in reductions of challenging behavior by at least 90%, generalization and maintenance of treatment effects, high parent satisfaction, and lower service delivery costs (e.g., Lindgren et al., 2016, Pediatrics). Although this research has shown positive effects for the child and parent, no known research has been conducted on the behavior of the coach (behavior analyst) and the relationship with child and parent outcomes. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to qualitatively and quantitatively describe the coaching processes used across clinicians as captured on video recordings from our funded projects. Using single case and quantitative analyses, we plan to identify the variables related to the behavioral improvements obtained in this model. The summer intern will be expected to code clinician coaching behavior, analyze the data, and summarize the outcomes in a paper to be submitted to a telehealth, pediatric, or behavior analytic journal.

10

PI: Dr. Allan Andersen, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Location: 2-221 MEB
Dates: July-August
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Analyze a dataset of death certificate data from a longitudinal study of alcoholism and test whether prior epigenetic biomarkers of alcohol use predict early death or dementia for a publication.

The Andersen laboratory conducts research on the health effects of substance use across the lifespan, with a focus on changes in epigenetic and inflammatory biomarkers.   Students involved in this summer project will have the opportunity to analyze a dataset of death certificate data from a longitudinal study of alcoholism and test whether prior epigenetic biomarkers of alcohol use predict early death or dementia.

11

PI: Dr. Chau Pham, Clinical Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Location: UIHC
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: To describe and analyze the longitudinal clinical practice patterns of an academic oculoplastic practice in the context of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, identify changes, and discuss future implications. The student will prepare a publication for submission by the end of the internship. 

The SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic: an analysis of its effects on an academic oculoplastics practice at a tertiary care facility.

Purpose: To describe and analyze the longitudinal clinical practice patterns of an academic oculoplastic practice in the context of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, identify changes, and discuss future implications.

Study type: Descriptive retrospective single-center database analysis

Background information/Study rational: The SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the practice of ophthalmology. Reports from various groups have described drops in patient volumes – predominantly for non-urgent visits, a move to telemedicine, and significant financial burden particularly on private practices.1-3 Oculofacial plastic and orbital surgery as a subspecialty has unique characteristics that has made adaptation to these changes straightforward in some cases while more challenging in others. On one hand, examination techniques employed by oculoplastic specialists are particularly amenable to a telehealth model, but the clinical intersection with sinus and respiratory mucosa has presented significant difficulties.4 Oculofacial plastic societies world-wide have published guidelines regarding urgency of care and use of personal protective equipment during surgery with exposure to respiratory mucosa, however do not make recommendations regarding post-pandemic assessment and planning.5 Previous studies found a wave of patients seeking delayed care for chronic conditions after the SARS-CoV-1 outbreak, and as the current pandemic shows signs of slowing there is concern for a similar wave in delayed care.1,6 The current study will analyze volume and type of clinic and surgical visits at an academic oculoplastics practice prior, during, and in the closing months of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Danesh-Meyer, Helen V., and Charles NJ McGhee. "Implications of coronavirus disease 2019 for ophthalmologists." American journal of ophthalmology 223 (2021): 108-118.
  2. Chen, Even M, Parikh, Ravi. “COVID-19 and ophthalmology: the pandemic’s impact on private practices.” EyeNet Magazine. September (2020). Published online and accessed at: https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/pandemic-impact-on-private-practices?september-2020.
  3. Moon JY, Miller JB, Katz R, Ta T, Szypko C, Garg I, Lorch AC, Gardiner MF, Armstrong GW. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Ophthalmic Care at an Eye-Specific Emergency Department in an Outbreak Hotspot. Clin Ophthalmol. 2020;14:4155-4163
  4. Langer, Paul D., and Francesco P. Bernardini. "Oculofacial plastic surgery and the COVID-19 pandemic: current reactions and implications for the future." Ophthalmology (2020).
  5. Nguyen, Anne X., Kalla A. Gervasio, and Albert Y. Wu. "COVID-19 recommendations from ophthalmic and plastic reconstructive surgery societies worldwide." Ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery 36.4 (2020): 334.
  6. Huang, Yu-Tung, Yue-Chune Lee, and Chun-Ju Hsiao. "Hospitalization for ambulatory-care-sensitive conditions in Taiwan following the SARS outbreak: a population-based interrupted time series study." Journal of the Formosan Medical Association 108.5 (2009): 386-394.
12

PI: Dr. Angelena Edwards, Assistant Professor of Urology
Location: 3244 RCP
Dates: Flexible June 1 - Sept 1
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a chart review of patients who have a diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy and have seen a urologic provider along with characterizing the findings present on their urodynamics testing. 

Urologic Manifestations of Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Spinal muscular atrophy is a rare autosomal recessive disease that is characterized by degradation of the motor neurons in spinal cord and leads to progressive muscle weakness and atrophy.  This project will focus on patients with spinal muscular atrophy who experience lower urinary tract symptoms including urinary urgency, frequency, hesitancy, incomplete bladder emptying, recurrent urinary tract infections and/or the development of neurogenic bladder.  This will be a retrospective chart review of patients who have a diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy and have seen a urologic provider along with characterizing the findings present on their urodynamics testing (urologic test that shows the bladder pressures and bladder function).  There is very little published in the urologic literature about spinal muscular atrophy and its manifestations on the urinary system with a recent study only offering a cohort of 6 patients. This will be a combined study with the pediatric neurology with Dr. Katherine Matthews as a coinvestigator. Through this experience we will also be able to offer insight into the field of pediatric urology and pediatric neurology and the close relationship medical and surgical care can have in complex patients.

13

PI: Dr. Anjali Sharathkumar, Professor of Pediatrics
Location: UIHC, 1323 BT
Dates: May 17 - mid-July
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a short manuscript studying the response of SC DDAVP in an existing dataset.

Project will be retrospective chart review of patients with bleeding disorders and assess their response to DDAVP. These patients are treated with intranasal form of DDAVP. Since this is temporarily withdrawn from the market, we are using SC DDAVP at lower dose. We have observed that some patients who were nonresponsive to intranasal DDVP are responding to SC DDAVP.  We will be studying response SC DDAVP.  

Through this project, student will learn following skillsets:

  1. developing hypothesis driven research question
  2. IRB submission process (IRB application needs to be submitted)
  3. identifying pertinent variables and data-abstraction 
  4. basic statistical analyses i.e. descriptive statistics
  5. writing a short manuscript (expecting to submit to a high-ranking journal)
  6. learning to identify gaps in knowledge and therapeutic management
  7. subject knowledge: diagnosing coagulation disorders and its management 
14

PI: Dr. Charles Jennisen, Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine
Location: UIHC
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a case report and literature review of atraumatic rupture of the liver and spleen in patients with infectious mononucleosis.

Infectious Mononucleosis and Atraumatic Organ Rupture While Weightlifting

Hepatosplenomegaly is a common symptom in patients with infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Adolescents and young adults are usually advised to refrain from contact sports for a period to avoid traumatic rupture of the spleen or liver after becoming infected. Many athletes turn to other activities such as weightlifting while they are recovering. However, there have been reports of mono patients developing splenic rupture while lifting weights. In fact, atraumatic splenic rupture has been reported in up to 0.5% of patients with proven mono and is the leading cause of death in these patients. Recently, a University of Iowa patient with mono developed acute bilateral upper abdominal pain with referred pain to his shoulders while weightlifting. He was found to have ruptures of his spleen and liver with development of significant hematomas. This project involves writing a case report and literature review of atraumatic rupture of the liver and spleen in patients with infectious mononucleosis. Health care providers need to be informed of the potential for atraumatic organ rupture in mono patients and consider what anticipatory guidance they might provide infected patients including potentially recommending they avoid weightlifting.

15

PI: Dr. Peter Kaboli, Professor of Internal Medicine
Location: Iowa City VA Center for Access Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE)
Dates: June 1 - August 1
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a systematic review of healthcare access metrics with a specific focus on rural populations.

Measuring Access to Rural Healthcare

Access to care can be categorized across 5 dimensions, namely geographic, temporal, cultural, financial, and digital. Rural populations face unique challenges to accessing healthcare that may result in health disparities. To understand these potential disparities and design interventions to overcome them, appropriate metrics need to be applied and if not available, developed.

The objective of this 8-week summer research experience will be to write a systematic review of healthcare access metrics with a specific focus on rural populations. Additional context will include the perspective of rural veterans who experience unique barriers and facilitators to healthcare. The work will be completed at the Iowa City VA Center for Access Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) and will include a multi-disciplinary team of researchers who are studying access to care and the use of virtual modalities to improve access.  Collaborator at the Portland, OR and White River Junction, VT VA Medical Centers will add a richness to the experience. The summer research opportunity will include observation on the inpatient hospitalist service at the Iowa City VA and other clinical services pending interest and availability. A peer-reviewed manuscript for submission will be expected at the completion of the summer.

16

PI: Dr. Ryan Steinberg, Clinical Assistant Professor of Urology
Location: UIHC, 3014 RCP
Dates: June 1 - August 1
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a publication using a database of MRI guided prostate biopsies done at UIHC to assess parameters for prostate cancer. 

Prostate cancer remains one of the most common male cancers in the United States. Over the past 8 years, MRI has been shown to help detect potentially life-threatening prostate cancer that may have previously been missed on a standard biopsy. This has led to the development of technology which now allows urologists to utilize these MRI images to target notably abnormal areas during prostate biopsy. While much has been learned about cancer detection using MRI, there remains a number of unexplored parameters that may help to better determine (a) the likelihood of finding prostate cancer on biopsy and (b) in whom a prostate biopsy can be avoided. Our project aims to use a large existing database of MRI guided prostate biopsies done by the Department of Urology at Iowa to assess parameters, such as primary lesion density and multifocality, for these outcomes. Responsibilities for this project include data management, collaboration with a statistician for analysis, a literature review, and manuscript preparation. Students should be prepared to learn the basics of prostate cancer, statistical analysis, and academic writing.

17

PI: Dr. Marcelo Correia, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
Location: UIHC, E400 GH
Dates: May 17 - July 19
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a publication analyzing a dataset from EHRs of UIHC inpatients with COVID-19 who also have a diagnosis for chronic liver diseases or liver transplantation. 

Does chronic liver disease or liver transplantation change the outcome of inpatients with COVID-19?

We propose to analyze an existing dataset from EHRs of UIHC inpatients with COVID-19 who also have a diagnosis for chronic liver diseases (NASH, NAFLD, autoimmune liver diseases, liver cirrhosis, viral hepatitis) or liver transplantation. We have a dataset comprising 1,000 UIHC inpatients admitted with COVID-19 from March till December 2020. The project is currently approved by IRB with # 202006470. Our aims are: A) Aim 1:  Describe changes in liver function tests of inpatients with COVID-19 and underlying chronic liver disease or transplantation; B) Aim 2:  Describe the acute prognosis of inpatients with COVID-19 and underlying chronic liver disease or transplantation. Specifically, we will interrogate the outcomes associated with the severity of disease (that is, length of stay, need of supplemental oxygen, ICU admission, intubation rate, mechanical ventilation time, utilization of ECMO) in patients with COVID-19 and chronic liver disease or transplantation.  Preliminary data of this study has been presented at the Medical Student Research Conference 2020 by Vijayvardhan Kamalumpundi, a CCOM M1, who is still involved in the study and will be the second author of the publication.

18

PI: Dr. Imran Hassan, Clinical Professor of Surgery
Location: Flexible (computer-based)
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Compare the clinical outcomes of patients undergoing an open, laparoscopic or robotic IPAA utilizing the NSQIP database. By the end of the internship period, the student will prepare a manuscript for publication. 

Proctocolectomy with an ileal anal pouch anastomosis (IPAA) is the standard surgical treatment for chronic ulcerative colitis (CUC). The procedure is associated with significant perioperative morbidity given its complexity and the fact that these patients are often immunosuppressed. This operation has been traditionally performed by an open technique but is now being increasingly performed on minimally invasive (MIS) approaches such as laparoscopic and robotic platforms. Even though in general MIS approaches are associated with less morbidity there is limited data regarding the perioperative comparative effectiveness of these approaches in patients undergoing an IPAA. The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database (NSQIP) reports 30-day surgical outcomes in patients undergoing surgical treatment at affiliated hospitals in the United States. The database collects approximately 264 variables including patient demographics, comorbidities, diagnoses, treatment-related factors, morbidity and mortality. It is unique compared to other databases in that it includes data points that are relevant and significant in the outcomes of patients undergoing an IPAA. The aim of this study is to compare the clinical outcomes of patients undergoing an open, laparoscopic or robotic IPAA utilizing the NSQIP database. Our hypothesis is that patient and disease factors are more likely to impact outcomes than operative approach.

19

PI: Dr. Donna Santillan, Research Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Location: UIHC, 464 MRC
Dates: June 1 - July 27
Offers shadowing experience: No

Objective: Write a review article summarizing the literature regarding super morbid obesity in pregnancy and identify whether there are increased risks for the super morbid obese population.

Obesity is an increasing problem in the United States. In Iowa, 33.9% of the population self-reports being obese. Unfortunately, the prevalence of super morbid obesity (BMI > 50 kg/m2 ) is also increasing. This problem extends to the pregnant population. Obesity in pregnancy puts the birth parent at an increased risk of gestational diabetes, cesarean delivery, and preeclampsia. It also increases the risk for pregnancy loss, neural tube defects, macrosomia, preterm birth, and stillbirth. There are few papers that are focused on elucidating the risks for the super morbidly obese pregnant population to determine if their risks are any different. Understanding these risks is critical in rural states where there are fewer facilities that are capable of handling complications during labor and delivery. It is also important to identify these risks in order to properly counsel patients. This review article will summarize the literature regarding super morbid obesity in pregnancy and identify whether there are increased risks for the super morbid obese population.

20

PI: Dr. Mark Santillan, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Location: UIHC
Dates: June 1 - July 27
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a structured, comprehensive review paepr on the science, application, and promise of novel, state of the art immunologic strategies to prevent and treat preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia (PreE), a prevalent hypertensive disorder in pregnancy, affects 5-7% of all pregnancies, which equates to 400,000 U.S. pregnancies a year accounting for 15% of all maternal-fetal morbidity and mortality. Prevention of PreE is limited to aspirin which may reduce risk by 10-40%. Antihypertensives do not reverse the disease process, some are contraindicated, and magnesium merely prevents the rare eclamptic seizure. There is a critical need for more potent PreE prevention that addresses the early pathogenesis of PreE. Early stages of PreE is driven by dysregulated immunology. There is a small, but growing literature on cellularly or pharmacologically altering the early immunology of preeclampsia to prevent its development. I have been asked to write a review paper on immunologic contributions to the development/treatment of preeclampsia. A feasible summer project for a premed student is to write a structured, comprehensive review paper on the science, application, and promise of novel, state of the art immunologic strategies to prevent and treat preeclampsia. I will mentor the student on 1.) PRISMA structured and focused literature searches, 2.) construction of a narrative and systematic review, 3.) development of a literature data warehouse, 4.) writing the review, and 5.) steps of the publication process.

21

PI: Dr. Robert Roghair, Professor of Pediatrics
Location: 1270 CBRB
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Analyze a dataset of maternal and infant demographic and clinical data to determine relationships between hormone levels and predictor variables of interest.  This analysis will be used in a manuscript by the end of the summer.

Maternal and Neonatal Determinants of Critically Important Hormone Levels

Growth and development during the second half of pregnancy sets the stage for adult body composition and intelligence. Because of their premature separation from maternal and placental influences, preterm infants are at an increased risk of detrimental long-term outcomes.

We designed this study to describe relevant hormone levels from periviable to near term infants with consideration for maternal and neonatal factors that might affect those levels. We have published our findings with one hormone (leptin, PubMed ID 30845123), but have yet to analyze associations for the three other hormones that were part of our custom designed multiplex assay (insulin, IL-6 and MCP-1). Our database includes 142 infants without congenital anomalies born between 22 and 32 weeks gestation with plasma sampling daily for the first 2 days, then weekly until a postmenstrual age of 36 weeks. Maternal and infant demographic and clinical data have been collected, and they are stored in REDCap. Simple linear regression and generalized linear modeling will be used to determine the relationships between hormone levels and predictor variables of interest. Analysis of this dataset will result in at least one manuscript submission by the end of the summer.

22

PI: Dr. Bharat Kumar, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
Location: C42E-5 GH
Dates: June 1 - August 1
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Scoping review of literature meant to provide a preliminary assessment of the potentital size and scope of available research literature.  Prepare a report on the findings for publication. 

Professional Identity Formation During the Pre-Medical years: A Scoping Review

Most physicians graduating from medical schools in the United States have to complete a series of courses during their undergraduate years collectively called the pre-medical track.  These early experiences are pivotal in forming professional identities, but very little is known about how exactly these pre-medical years impact future physicians.

This project is a scoping review of literature meant to provide a preliminary assessment of the potential size and scope of available research literature.  We have already searched four major databases of peer-reviewed literature (MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, and Cochrane). Using these search results, over the course of eight weeks, I will work with the pre-med student to (1) identify relevant studies, (2) select relevant and reliable studies, (3) extract data, and (4) collate, summarize, and report the findings.  Having a pre-medical student as part of the team is important so that we have perspectives from an individual who is going through the process. 

We anticipate publication in a major medical education journal such as Academic Medicine, which has been favorable in publishing scoping reviews about professional identity formation.  This project may have major practical implications in adapting pre-medical curricula to better suit the needs of future and current physicians.

23

PI: Dr. Lucy Wibbenmeyer, Clinical Professor of Surgery
Location: UIHC Burn Unit
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Write a scientific article for peer review using data from UIHC patients treated for electrical injuries (EI) and review of EI literature. 

Electrical Injury Study and Review of the Literature

Electrical injuries (EI) represent a small fraction of burn injuries but they can have devastating outcomes. Sequela from EI include cardiac arrest, burns, contractures, amputations, cataracts, neurologic and psychiatric issues. A less common manifestation is paralysis. We recently had two patients who had paralysis after EI. We reviewed our database to determine if there were any other EI-induced paralysis and to determine EI outcomes at UIHC.

We have admitted a cohort of 162 EI patients from 2002 to 2019. We currently have demographics, injury data, hospital course, surgical history and follow up data on all patients. We also have neuropsychiatric testing on a subset. This data has been analyzed descriptively.

The next step is to write a manuscript with the results as well as perform a review of the EI literature to search for incidence of paralysis, neurologic and psychiatric sequela to include in the discussion.  As EI is relatively uncommon at any one institution, a review of the literature would be helpful for burn professionals.

The student will be mentored in how to search for EI literature and how to collate the results. They will then be instructed on writing a scientific article for a peer reviewed journal.

24

PI: Dr. Kamonpun Ussavarungsi, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
Location: C33 GH
Dates: June - July
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Evaluate the outcomes of mortality and transplant-free survival after antifibrotic approval in IPF. At the end of the internship, the student will prepare a manuscript for publication.

Effect of Antifibrotic Therapy on Mortality and Survival Outcomes in Idiopathic Pulmonary fibrosis

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive, fibrosing interstitial pneumonia of unknown cause, occurring primarily in older adults and limited to the lungs. IPF is characterized by progressive worsening of dyspnea and lung function and is associated with a poor prognosis. Antifibrotic medications have received FDA approval with conditional recommendations for IPF treatment based on clinical trial data showing reduced rates of disease progression. Further meta-analyses showed mixed results in long-term mortality benefit. We will retrospectively review IPF cohort at University of Iowa and evaluate the outcomes of mortality and transplant-free survival after antifibrotic approval. We will also review the literature in long-term mortality and survival benefit of antifibrotic therapy in IPF.

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PI: Dr. Kelly Messingham, Research Associate Professor of Dermatology
Location: 2080 ML
Dates: June - August
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Evaluate MC-eosinophil contact in BP lesions and prepare a short report for publication in a relevant dermatology or immunology journal. 

Evaluation of Mast Cell – Eosinophil Interaction in Bullous pemphigoid

Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is an autoimmune blistering disease caused by autoantibodies targeting skin attachment proteins. BP is one of several autoimmune diseases in which patients develop IgE autoantibodies, in addition to the typical IgG. We know that these IgE autoantibodies contribute to disease based on the dramatic improvement of patients treated with an IgE blocker, omalizumab, a drug commonly used for allergy and asthma. However, we do not understand how the IgE antibodies contribute to the skin blistering. In allergy, IgE autoantibodies interact with tissue mast cells (MCs) and eosinophils, cells are often elevated in skin from BP patients. Recent studies suggest that MCs and eosinophils interact in tissues and that this is critical for enhancing their activation and survival. The goal of this study is to evaluate MC-eosinophil contact in BP lesions. To achieve this, we will utilize banked skin biopsy samples from ten BP patients. Mast cells and eosinophils will be detected on thin tissue sections using immunofluorescent tags that bind to specific cell markers, MC tryptase or major basic protein. Additionally, CD48, a molecule known to mediate MC-eosinophil interactions will also be evaluated. Staining will be visualized, and images collected, with an epifluorescent microscope.

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PI: Dr. Yusung Kim, Clinical Professor of Radiation Oncology
Location: UIHC
Dates: Flexible
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Statistical analysis on clinical parameters of radiation treatment for use in a manuscript. 

Impact of 3D Radiation-Dose Maps in Survival Prediction, Using Deep-Learning Algorithm.

Dr. Kim’s multidisciplinary research team has developed a deep-learning-based survival prediction algorithm (DESEP) using pre-therapy PET-CT image datasets which algorithm and clinical validation had been was published. My lab has collected radiation-dose levels in BED (Biologically Effective Dose), along with all other clinical parameters (ages, TNM stage, etc.) for all cases. Statistical analysis will be performed by the intern student on how the clinical parameters (radiation dose level, ages, TNM stage, etc.) impact the prognostic performance of the DESEP algorithm when they are included as input parameters. An undergraduate research assistant (URA) has also been collecting and processing all 3-dimensional radiation dose maps from each patient’s treatment planning system that will be completed by the end of this spring semester. The impact of additional 3D radiation-dose maps, along with PET-CT datasets, will be statistically analyzed. The intern student will contribute to the statistical analysis and writing a manuscript. The student will also gain exposure to both clinical and research environments in the Radiation Oncology department, and will have the opportunity to participate in the research meeting, departmental clinical meetings, and observe clinical procedures. As a mentor, I will coordinate his/her shadow for a staff radiation oncologist.

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PI: Dr. Edgar Samaniego, Associate Professor of Neurology
Location: UIHC
Dates: June 7 - July 30
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Statistical analysis and manuscript preparation on the use of balloon-guide catheters to improve outcomes of Mechanical Thrombectomy. 

Project Title: Does the use of balloon-guide catheters improve outcomes of Mechanical Thrombectomy?

Introduction:  The Stroke Thrombectomy and Aneurysm Registry (STAR) collaboration is a multi-center database with approximately 10,000 subjects from around 80 institutions. I am one of the local PIs and I will provide guidance for the development of this project. The summer intern would have access to this database for statistical analysis and writing of a manuscript.

We will address the following question:  Does the use of balloon-guide catheters decrease the rate of distal embolization and improves outcomes in patients treated with MT?

Balloon-guide catheters are a specific type of catheter which allows “flow arrest” during mechanical thrombectomy. This technique adds an extra step to the procedure but may lead to improved outcomes with decreased distal embolization. A better understanding of the patient population who benefits from this technique may lead to a better patient selection.

This is a description of the database: Alejandro M Spiotta, MD, Letter: Twinkle, Twinkle Little STAR, How I Wonder What You Are: The Case for High-Quality, Large-Scale, “Real-World” Databases, Neurosurgery, Volume 87, Issue 2, August 2020, Pages E271–E272, https://doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa168

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PI: Dr. Kamonpun Ussavarungsi, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
Location: C33 GH
Dates: July - August
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Review current literature in antifibrotic therapy in connective tissue disease ILD. At the end of the internship, the student will prepare a manuscript for publication. 

Combination of Immunosuppressive and Antifibrotic Therapy in Connective Tissue Disease Related Interstitial Lung Disease

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive, fibrosing interstitial pneumonia of unknown cause. Antifibrotic medications have received FDA approval for IPF treatment based on clinical trial data showing reduced rates of disease progression. Other fibrotic interstitial lung diseases (ILD) share similar pathophysiology which may benefit from antifibrotic therapy. Connective tissue disease related ILD is believed to have initial inflammation with fibrosis evolution. Further clinical studies are ongoing to define the role of antifibrotic medications in non-IPF. Multiple questions remain unanswered e.g. (i) when to initiate antifibrotic medications, (ii) appropriate strategy; upfront combination of immunosuppression and antifibrotics or sequential therapy (iii) radiological pattern dependence. We aim to review current literatures in antifibrotic therapy in connective tissue disease ILD.

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PI: Dr. Issa Alhamoud, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Location: E204 GH
Dates: June 1 - July 30
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Investigate the clinical significance, long term kidney survival, aptient survival, and treatment outcomes of TMA in pediatric lupus nephritis. At the end of the internship, the student will prepare a manuscript for publication.

Outcomes of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (Ahus) in Systemic Lupus erythematous (SLE)

Lupus nephritis (LN) is common in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) in children with SLE is a rare life-threatening disorder of complement-mediated thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) with possibly high morbidity and mortality if not detected and treated early. It is featured by a clinical classical triad of non-immune hemolytic, consumptive thrombocytopenia, and acute kidney injury. In the past, the mainstay of  treatment of TMA-aHUS had been frequently plasmapheresis, However, Since 2011, the use of eculizumab, an anti–complement component 5 humanized antibody, has dramatically changed both the management and the outcome of TMA-related aHUS, becoming the front-line treatment of the acute disease and for the prevention of relapses. It blocks the cleavage of C5 to C5b, thus avoiding the generation of pro-inflammatory peptides C5a and C5b-9. The aim of this retrospective study to investigate the clinical significance, long term kidney survival, patient survival, and treatment outcomes of TMA in pediatric lupus nephritis.

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PI: Dr. Kathleen Sluka, Professor of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
Location: 2-242 MEB
Dates: June 1 - July 30
Offers shadowing experience: No

Objective:  Perform data collection, analysis, and manuscript preparation with the described study. 

Coronavirus disease has led to a global healthcare crisis which has burdened patients and healthcare systems. With a growing population of patients recovering from COVID-19 it is pertinent to obtain a better understanding of the persisting symptoms and functional impact of those reporting long-term effects. While patients have reported and advocated for further investigation of post-covid syndrome, little formal investigation has been completed to date. Limited understanding of the contributing pathophysiological sequalae has left clinicians to manage the varying symptom response reported by patients. This survey study will investigate commonly reported symptoms of fatigue, pain, dizziness, headache, depression, anxiety, difficulty performing physical activity, difficulty thinking or concentrating, and symptom aggravation with physical or mental activity in people suffering from post-covid syndrome. This study will also compare the symptom sequela of post-covid to other enigmatic disease such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Although the exact pathophysiologic mechanisms contributing to each of these disease processes are unknown, they share common symptom sequelae which may lead to cross-disciplinary investigation in treating symptoms of pain, fatigue, and functional limitation.

This project will provide the student hands-on experience performing survey-based research. They will perform data collection, analysis, and manuscript preparation with the described study.

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PI: Dr. Christopher Sales, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Location: Iowa Lyons Bank, Carver College of Medicine
Dates: June 1 - August 1
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Prepare a review paper for publication that describes the current state of the art in 3D-printed biomaterial corneal scaffolds.

Today’s bridge to tomorrow’s regenerative sight-saving technology: Review of 3D printed biomaterial tissue scaffolds for corneal tissue engineering, corneal wound healing, and corneal transplant surgery

Millions of people worldwide suffer from blindness caused by irreversible scarring of the cornea. The cornea is a highly evolved, optically clear 1 x 1 cm dome-shaped structure that transmits and focuses light into the eye. When the cornea becomes whitened from a scar, vision is severely impaired unless the tissue is replaced with a corneal transplant from a deceased human donor. Unfortunately, there are insufficient human corneas available for corneal transplantation worldwide. One approach to addressing this public health problem has been to engineer human-like corneas. Biomaterial scaffolds, onto and into which human corneal cells can be transplanted and grown, respectively, represent a promising avenue in the pursuit of manufacturing human-like alternatives to conventional transplant tissue. 3D-printing technology has accelerated the development of regenerative corneal technology by enabling highly sophisticated scaffold designs. A review paper that describes the current state of the art in 3D-printed biomaterial corneal scaffolds would be of significant interest to the literature in ophthalmology, corneal transplant surgery, and biomaterial engineering. The literature is highly specific and perfect for an 8-week project, after which, the student will be well-versed in this field and be connected to both bioengineering and ophthalmology faculty.

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PI: Dr. Po Hien Ear, Research Assistant Professor of Surgery
Location: 4235 MERF
Dates: June 1 - July 30
Offers shadowing experience: Yes

Objective: Perform drug screening experiments to identify novel anti-cancer drugs for NENs. Prepare an analysis using drug sensitivity data from previous experiments. 

Identification of Anti-cancer Drugs Targeting Neuroendocrine Neoplasia

The incidence of neuroendocrine neoplasia (NEN) comprising of neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) and neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) has increased markedly over the past several decades. Many patients with these tumors present with metastatic disease, and research into new treatment options for these tumors has been hindered by the limited number of cell lines and patient-derived xenograft models. Only 2 NETs cell lines are available in North America. Our laboratory takes advantage of the availability of resected patient NECs and NETs from the operation room and culture them as spheroids in extracellular matrix. These NET and NEC spheroids recapitulate NEN markers and can be used for screening libraries of compounds. From our previous screens, we identified inhibitors of histone deacetylases, proteasome subunits, tyrosine kinases, and cyclin-dependent kinases as effective cytotoxic agents for all NEC and NETs. Single and combination therapies of these drugs showed efficacy in patientderived xenograft models. Together these in vitro and in vivo preclinical models identified new potential FDA-approved therapies for SBNETs and NECs. We welcome new student(s) to use our NET spheroid platform to perform a drug screening experiment to identify novel anti-cancer drugs for NENs. Student(s) can also work on data analysis using our drug sensitivity data from previous experiments.