Second Annual Research Symposium

On October 16, 2012, the AU/UGA Medical Partnership hosted its second annual Research Symposium, which showcased the activities of students during the summer between their first and second year of medical studies.  Students were encouraged to engage in a scholarly activity which could include laboratory science or clinical research.  Students more interested in a participatory clinical experience were encouraged to also engage in “inquisitive observation and reflection” in order to derive a more complete understanding of the health problems within the context of the greater community.

Over half of the current second-year class participated in a summer project, with 13 conducting research as part of the MCG Medical Scholars Program.  While many students stayed in Georgia, several traveled out-of-state to focus on research that was of particular interest to them.  Wes Bryson worked with Richard Caprioli, PhD, in the Mass Spectrometry Research Center at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  “I had a wonderful time meeting and working with people from a wide range of educational backgrounds and cultures,” said Wes.  “It was an excellent experience to engage in the research process that helps to continually advance our understanding of medicine.  My research was the perfect opportunity to combine my previous experience in mass spectrometry with the knowledge I gained during the first year of medical school.”

Alexandra Whitaker-Lea worked with Medical Partnership faculty member, Philip V. Holmes, PhD, and studied the effects of oral contraceptives on locus coeruleus galanin expression and anxiety-like behavior.  “My participation in the Summer Medical Scholars Program gave me the opportunity to participate in research, which I have never done before, in an area of science that I am particularly interested in,” said Alex.  “As medical students, I think it is easy to overlook the amount of work that goes into creating medications and technological advances that ultimately will improve and guide our future practice of medicine.”

While the main goal of the Research Symposium is to showcase student research, the symposium also offers first year students with the chance to learn more about summer opportunities and to ask second year students about their experiences.  Applications are currently being prepared and submitted for summer 2013. 

Student Quotes:

"During my summer research experience I was able to do surgery (cannula placement) on rat subjects.  It not only gave me a chance to learn more about neuro anatomy and physiology, but allowed me to care for a pseudo patient with anesthesia as well as post-operative care.” – Brian Brewer

 “Working at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center through the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons' Summer Intern Scholarship allowed me to gain many experiences in the surgical field normally reserved for those who are at least in their 3rd year surgery rotations or surgical residencies. Though I had only completed my first year of medical school, I was able to stand at the operating table and feel the beating hearts and expanding lungs of numerous patients, round with surgeons as they talked with patients postoperatively, and observe experimental surgical procedures for a rare form of lung cancer.” – Eric Wang

 “I focused on a feasibility study for oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion (OLLIF), a novel spinal fusion technique pioneered by Dr. William Tally, a spinal surgeon at Athens Orthopedic Clinic.  I enjoyed the chance to review a subset of the anatomy I had studied previously, as well as the opportunity to delve into more intricate aspects such as biomechanics and surgical techniques.  I was involved in gathering and analyzing data, and observing in the operating room. Furthermore, I contributed authorship to a book.  As my first experience submitting work for publication in scientific literature, this was truly an exercise in patience, insight, and sedulity.”  - Boris Kovalenko