OU-COM’s fifth Research Day bigger, better
 
   

 

The college’s fifth annual Research Day was, by all measures, a resounding success and featured 46 projects, an increase of 10 from the previous year.

“This is a spectacular Research Day; the best one we’ve ever had,” said Dean Jack Brose, D.O. “I want to acknowledge not only the increase in the number of projects, but the increase in the quality of research that we’re doing. That’s what really strikes me. We’ve had a dramatic increase in the number of grant submissions this year, a dramatic increase in funding, and everything related to research seems to just keep going up. Our Research Day reflects that progress.”

Jack Bantle, Ph.D., Ohio University vice president for research, says to see the fruition of the university’s investment, in terms of technology and students, was very gratifying. The quality overall of COM’s Research Day, he says, “was definitely up, and participation was up. Good things are happening in research in osteopathic medicine.”

The almost four dozen posters covered a variety of research subjects, ranging from the effect of stress factors on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease to the role of zinc in hemostasis. (Titles and abstracts are available here.)

The diversity of projects, says Richard Klabunde, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology, is one of the strengths of OU-COM’s Research Day.

“The research here represents many different areas within the basic sciences as well as clinical research and that’s unlike most scientific meetings that most of us attend, where there’s primarily basic science projects. Research Day is very multidisciplinary.”

Although most projects fell into basic science and clinical research categories, some, such as “Effect of a Zinc Chelator and 17-Estradiol Administration on Bone Mineral Density of Ovariectomized Rats,” bridged the two categories.

“I’m impressed. It’s great to see the research supported by the college on display,” says Harold C. Thompson III, D.O., assistant professor of emergency medicine. “I think the work our students and faculty are doing will certainly have implications for future health care. I’m very impressed. And I’m pleased to see that the Center of Excellence cosponsored a number of the student projects.”

Nineteen student projects were on display on Research Day, representing the work of 24 students. Growing numbers of students engaged in research is the result of their response to the college’s push to have more students involved in research during the early phases of their medical careers. More than half of those student posters were a result of student participation in the Research and Scholarly Advancement Fellowship program this past summer.

Second-year students Utkarsh Acharya and Mohammad Khan, who presented “Does Gastric Acid-Suppressive Therapy (GAST) Increase the Risk of Pneumonia in Older Hospitalized Adults?”, participated in the summer program.

“I didn’t have a research background before I came to medical school,” says Khan, “so for me this was a new experience. This project was very exciting and challenging, and definitely kept me busy.”

Among the several benefits of the experience, Khan says, are learning to professionally present research and how to efficiently cull what you need from published research.

“I want to continue this project with Dr. Gau over this year. It is an ongoing project.” He says he plans to continue being involved in research through his third- and fourth-year rotations.

“Medical science changes every minute.”

Being involved in research, he says, makes you more aware of those changes and their importance to your medical practice.

Two prizes were awarded to students for the best basic science and clinical posters. “Student projects in each category were judged by a panel of five after a short presentation on the basis of professionalism, clarity of the presentation, ability to answer questions, readability of the poster and visual impact of the poster,” says Gillian Ice, Ph.D., M.P.H., chairwoman of the Research and Scholarly Affairs Committee, which, along with the Office of Research and Grants, sponsors Research Day. “The competition was close and overall the judges felt the students did an excellent job.”

This year’s clinical winners — there was a tie — were Rachel Holt (Diabetes Care in Extended Care Facilities: Appropriate Intensity of Care?”) and Kimberly Jackson (“Nutrition Transition and Health Consequences Among Kenyan Elders”). The top basic science poster was awarded to Robert Huff (“A Study of the Role of Drosophila CLIC in Programmed Cell Death”). The winners received $200 cash prizes.

Doug Mann, Ph.D., assistant professor of social medicine and one of the five judging clinical research posters, says the students were “impressive in their ability to answer our questions. We never caught them flat-footed. They were passionate about their research and had thought about almost every aspect of their studies and other ways they might do things. They are able to integrate their basic science and clinical knowledge very well.

“They’ve taken ownership of their research studies, and are not just tagging along with their mentors.”

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Last updated: 03/27/2008