Students take part in expanded Student Research Summit

Asha Nookala, MS 4, was one of 23 School of Medicine students who presented posters at the 2013 Health Sciences Student Research Summit on April 4 at the UMKC Student Union.
Asha Nookala, MS 4, was one of 23 School of Medicine students who presented posters at the 2013 Health Sciences Student Research Summit on April 4 at the UMKC Student Union.

Asha Nookala, MS 4, spent nearly two years doing research on nonalchoholic fatty liver disease at the School of Medicine and preparing her results. Her work went on display and won first place among medical student presentations on April 4 at the 2013 Health Sciences Student Research Summit.

“This has helped me develop a deeper understanding of medical research and given me some hands on experience,” Nookala said, who will present her poster later this month at the 2013 Experimental Biology Conference, an international scientific conference in Boston.

Nookala was one of 23 SOM students who gave poster presentations at the annual research summit that took place at the UMKC student union for the first time. This year’s event included student research projects from each of the health science schools, as well as the School of Computing and Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences. Students presented 125 posters at this year’s event.

Hirak Shah, MS 5, received the second-place award from the School of Medicine, Fizza Abbas, MS 5, third-place, Joshua Williams, MS 3, fourth place, and Caitlin Nichols, MS 4, the fifth place award. (To view this year’s School of Medicine student posters, go to https://www.med.umkc.edu/research/students.shtml.)

“The research summit was a success for the number and quality of posters presented,” said Agostino Molteni, M.D., Ph.D., director of student research at the School of Medicine. “It represents the wide variety of research from basic research to translational research in the different branches of health care.”

Many of the students, he said, will join Nookala in presenting their posters again at national and international meetings.

Molteni said the effort to bring together students from many different schools throughout the University provided them the opportunity to interact and communicate to generate better ideas and learn the art of collaboration.

Wayne Carter, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, gave a keynote address prior to the poster session.

Joshua Williams, MS 3, said he had been researching Down Syndrome for more than a year and had worked on the project he presented at the research summit for more than six months. Williams said one of the research skills he obtained from his work was learning how to look up and find pertinent journal articles.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Williams said. “I think the best thing I’ve learned is how to look up journal articles and how to do the background work that’s not only useful in research but also useful in clinical medicine, too. It was a little intimidating at first and still is a little my mentors and the librarians at the medical school helped a lot. ”

Chanakyaram Reddy, MS 6, said the research requires plenty of patience and diligence to obtain the correct results.

“This is basic research, you get down to the cellular and molecular level and that’s the basis of clinical medicine,” Reddy said. “It all starts and the cellular and molecular level and then these trials go on to the clinical level and into practice. So this is good to really understand the pathology and the mechanisms of disease.”

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