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5 Presentations You’ll See at This Year’s Discovery Day

The platform presenters for the Drexel University College of Medicine’s annual research day, called Discovery Day, divulge on their research topics and tips for success.

October 31, 2019

The Drexel University College of Medicine’s annual research day, called Discovery Day, will this year boast over 300 presentations on biomedical science and clinical research topics from doctoral, postdoctoral, master’s, medical and undergraduate students across the University.

After a keynote address by Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD, a nationally recognized cancer prevention and control expert, the main event of the day will commence — the platform presentations.

We asked five of these College of Medicine student presenters about their research and advice to give you a taste of what you have to look forward to at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Nov. 7!

Stacia Lewandowski, pharmacology and physiology graduate student in the College of MedicineStacia Lewandowski, pharmacology and physiology graduate student in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies of the College of Medicine

Describe your platform presentation in a few sentences.

We are studying cocaine addiction using genetically modified animals as a research tool. We have manipulated protein levels in these animals, and as a result are examining the effects of this manipulation on cocaine associated behaviors.

What is your key piece of advice for being a successful researcher? 

Don't be intimidated by new techniques, experiments or concepts.

What is your favorite thing about being a graduate/medical student at Drexel? 

The long-lasting friendships I've made.

Lina Maciunas, biochemistry and molecular biology graduate student in Drexel's College of MedicineLina Maciunas, biochemistry graduate student in the  Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies of the College of Medicine

Describe your platform presentation in a few sentences.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are among the 12 highest-priority pathogens for which we need new antibiotic treatments. My research aims to understand how this pathogen manages to evade being killed by the last-resort antibiotic, vancomycin. I have identified differences by which vancomycin turns on the resistance pathway in the two most clinically relevant VRE strains (VRE-A & VRE-B).

What is your key piece of advice for being a successful researcher?

Always take detailed notes. Future you will thank past you.

What is your favorite thing about being a graduate/medical student at Drexel?

I have always appreciated the open-door policy held by many Drexel faculty. Their mentorship has been instrumental in my growth as a scientist.

Margo Randelman, neurobiology and anatomy graduate student in Drexel's College of Medicine Margo Randelman, neuroscience graduate student in the  Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies of the College of Medicine

Describe your platform presentation in a few sentences.

My presentation will be on the use of a novel form of respiratory rehabilitation to improve breathing following cervical spinal cord injury. With this training, we intermittently increase levels of carbon dioxide to challenge the respiratory circuit and look at the changes in the circuit anatomy as well as functional recovery of breathing following training. 

What is your key piece of advice for being a successful researcher?

To collaborate, network and be open to try new things. This will not only strengthen your current projects, but may also lead to many more interesting ideas and opportunities.

What is your favorite thing about being a graduate/medical student at Drexel?

The supportive community and the collaborative environment within my program and department.

Ogan Kumova, pediatrics graduate student in Drexel's College of MedicineOgan Kumova, microbiology and immunology graduate student in the  Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies of the College of Medicine

Describe your platform presentation in a few sentences. 

Our research focuses on the immune system of the newborn babies, especially premature neonates. We have identified that neonates fail to respond to infection in a timely manner. However, we found that administration of probiotics to this vulnerable population allows them to effectively mount an immune response to pathogenic infections.

What is your key piece of advice for being a successful researcher?

Love the research that you do — be passionate about it! You will have great days, you will have okay days, and you will have bad days. At the end, if you are enthusiastic and believe in the work you do, you can always keep going.

What is your favorite thing about being a graduate/medical student at Drexel?

Drexel is a very collaborative environment with supportive faculty and senior leadership. I love the translational aspect of research that is being done at Drexel.

Jayesh Gupta, surgery medical student in Drexel's College of MedicineJayesh Gupta, medical student in the College of Medicine

Describe your platform presentation in a few sentences.

Pediatric cervical spine injuries are rare. However, since they can carry a serious risk of morbidity and mortality, physicians are challenged with correctly identifying injuries vs exposing children to unnecessary radiation from excess imaging. To accurately identify and manage such injuries, a cervical spine protocol has been implemented at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. The purpose of this project was to determine whether the implementation of this standardized protocol would decrease radiation exposure, decrease imaging costs, and overall maintain accurate identification of cervical spine injuries in children. 

What is your key piece of advice for being a successful researcher?

My best advice is to be persistent in every aspect of research process. Be persistent about contacting faculty and physicians. Be persistent when your research and analysis doesn't go your way. Present at as many poster sessions and conferences as you can. 

What is your favorite thing about being a graduate/medical student at Drexel?

The amazing mentorship that I have received from the faculty. Physicians are more than willing to have me participate in research projects and are excited to provide education and teaching.