Record-setting Research Day at Feinberg

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As a clinical psychologist, Jenna Duffecy, PhD, research assistant professor in preventive medicine, was not surprised by the skepticism. Treating depression over the phone rather than in person lacked face-to-face interaction, but it didn’t lack effectiveness.

A first time presenter at Lewis Landsberg Research Day, Duffecy’s was one of more than 290 entries in the eighth annual event hosted by the Research Office at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Growing into an expanded space, Research Day 2012 was held Thursday, April 5, inside the Feinberg Pavilion at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Meant to promote faculty and trainee development, the campus-wide event featured a record number of poster session competition submissions from faculty, graduate students, medical students, MD/PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and fellows, and clinical residents and fellows. The increased turnout meant an overflow crowd was on hand to hear keynote speaker Robert Goldman, PhD, Stephen Walter Ranson Professor of Cell Biology.

“Research Day creates a real sense of community among our student, staff, and faculty investigators, and provides a chance for the entire medical campus to see what kind of exciting science is going on here,” said Rex Chisholm, PhD, vice dean for scientific affairs and graduate studies. “The day creates great buzz about some of our novel, high-impact research, and also illustrates the role that mentorship plays at the medical school.”

For Duffecy, the chance to share work she has done alongside primary investigator David Mohr, PhD, professor in preventive medicine and psychiatry and behavioral sciences, with the hundreds of people in attendance, was a great experience.

Robert Goldman, PhD, Stephen Walter Ranson Professor of Cell Biology delivered the keynote presentation at Research Day 2012.

Robert Goldman, PhD, Stephen Walter Ranson Professor of Cell Biology delivered the keynote presentation at Research Day 2012.

“It’s been amazing to see everything that everyone is doing and it’s been lovely to get the opportunity to talk to all of the other researchers,” she said. “I know of certain things going on in my department, but the chance to see the different kinds of research and really talk to the people instead of just reading about it, is fantastic.”

Keynote Presentation

Goldman’s presentation outlined two case studies that displayed an unexpected link between rare diseases and basic science: parents.

He told the story of two mothers who contacted him regarding his research. Both had children with a rare disease and both believed his work could hold keys to a cure.

“It all comes down to them driving us to learn about their child’s disease,” Goldman said of the parental desire to find solutions to illness. “In these instances, two mothers have moved us in fascinating and irreversible directions that have revolutionized the way we think about cells.”

Award Winners

The 2012 Research Day award winners with Rex Chisholm, PhD, vice dean for scientific affairs and graduate studies.

The 2012 Research Day award winners with Rex Chisholm, PhD, vice dean for scientific affairs and graduate studies.

At the conclusion of Research Day, awards in the areas of basic science, clinical research, and public health were presented to individuals who showcased their work. Winners were chosen by a panel of faculty judges, and include:

Basic Science

Teresa Ezponda-Itoiz, postdoctoral fellow in cell and molecular biology: The histone methyltransferase MMSET/WHSC1 promotes an epithelial-mesenchymal transition and invasive properties of prostate cancer.

Clinical Research

Jennifer Duffecy, research assistant professor, Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies, preventive medicine: A Randomized Controlled Non-Inferiority Trial of Telephone-Administered vs. Face-to-Face Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression in Primary Care.

Public Health

Maura Waldron, research assistant, preventive medicine: Associations between objectively measured sedentary time, physical activity, and dietary intake.

The Women Faculty Organization also presented awards for outstanding work in basic science and clinical women’s health research. The winners were:

Women’s Health-Basic Science

Laura K. Moore, MD/MpH student in biomedical and mechanical engineering: Targeted Nanodiamond-Liposome Hybrids Enhance Breast Cancer Imaging and Therapy.

Women’s Health-Clinical Research

Robert J. McCarthy, research professor, anesthesiology: Systematic Lidocaine to Improve Postoperative Quality of Recovery after Ambulatory Laparoscopic Surgery in Females.

Women’s Health-Public Health

Karen Kaiser, research assistant professor, medical social sciences: Black Women’s Awareness of Breast Cancer Disparity and Perceptions of the Causes of Disparity.

Community-Engaged Research Partnership Award

The inaugural Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities Community-Engaged Research Partnership Award acknowledged the efforts of the DuPage Patient Navigation Collaborative. The collaborative, spearheaded by Kara Murphy, executive director of Access DuPage, and Melissa Simon, MD, assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology, preventive medicine, and medical social sciences, was established in 2001 to provide DuPage County’s low-income, medically uninsured residents with access to medical services.

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