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University of Kansas Medical Center students showcase their work at 40th Annual Student Research Forum

April 09, 2018

By Kristi Birch

Nobel Laureate Maria Capecchi
Nobel Laureate Mario Capecchi, Ph.D., delivering the 2018 A.L. Chapman Keynote Research Lecture.

More than 150 students from the schools of Health Professions, Nursing and Medicine participated in the 40th Annual Student Research Forum at the University of Kansas Medical Center April 2 and 3.  Students presented their research projects through poster sessions, oral presentations and a three-minute thesis competition in which they had 180 seconds to sum up their work for a non-scientific audience.

The projects ranged across disciplines and fields, from social and emotional determinants of health to basic bench science. Rebecca Cates, an honors student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, presented her research assessing the mental health of refugees from several countries who have relocated in the Kansas City, Kansas, area. Mohammed Alshehri, a doctoral student from the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science in the School of Health Professions, shared his work researching the link between obesity and diabetic peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage caused by high blood sugar that can result in pain and numbness in the extremities. Pengcheng Lu, from the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Medicine, showed his work creating an online biostatistics program.

A team of 99 judges, faculty volunteers from the three schools, selected 51 first- and second- place winners across schools and departments, who were announced at an awards banquet at the Terrace on Grand in Kansas City, Missouri, on the evening of April 4.

Two new awards were created this year to recognize departments that provided the most judging support; for 2018, these went to the School of Nursing and the Department of Occupational Therapy Education in the School of Health Professions. "SRF is a campus-wide event that is run completely by students, but without the help and support of the faculty, SRF would not be possible," said Melissa Ruggiero, a graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics who co-chaired the event. "We hope to continue to increase overall campus participation and foster relationships and collaborations that span beyond individual programs for years to come."

Mario Capecchi, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, delivered the 2018 A.L. Chapman Keynote Research Lecture on the second day of the forum. Capecchi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2007 for his pioneering work developing a technique to engineer a strain of mice in which a particular gene is turned off, enabling researchers to discover the function of any given gene and create animal models of human disease.

Select students from two area high schools, Wyandotte and Schlagle, were also invited to showcase their community-based health research projects through posters sessions at the forum. Some of the winning students from the Student Research Forum will present at the annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit next year in Topeka. At this event, public institutions in Kansas showcase students' research to legislators and the public to help them understand more about how this research that could impact their constituents and communities.  

Last modified: Jul 26, 2018
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