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posted: 7/21/2014 9:57 AM

SIU med students work with researchers during summer program

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Karen Carlson, SIU School of Medicine

Thirteen medical students are getting a look at life inside a research laboratory during a summer research program at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

The Mentored Professional Enrichment Experiences (MPEE) is an eight-week SIU elective between the first and second years of medical school. During the summer, students work with physicians or researchers at SIU or other medical campuses.

"As medical students learn medicine, it's important that they also understand the value of research as part of the health-care field," said Eric C. Niederhoffer, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in Carbondale and MPEE program coordinator. "We've found that this program inspires medical students to continue their research into their latter years of medical school and into their careers."

Students are studying a variety of research topics in basic and clinical medicine, including treating infants in the NICU, reducing hospital re-admission rates after orthopaedic surgery, studying outcomes for video-assisted lung cancer surgery, and working with at-risk schools to improve children's health. They will give formal presentations about their experiences to the medical school community this autumn.

The students, their project titles and their mentors are as follows:

Patrick Fitzgerald, Potassium-evoked glutamate release in the hippocampus and hypothalamus of GHRKO mice, Erin R. Hascup, Ph.D., assistant professor at SIU's Center for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders in Springfield; Fitzgerald is the son of Mike and Sue Fitzgerald of Godfrey.

Michael Ginnetti, Risk of early revision of primary TJA in patients with metabolic syndrome, Sonia Vasdev, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedics and Khaled J. Saleh, M.D., professor and chair of orthopaedics at SIU. Ginnetti is the son of Richard and Andrea Ginnetti of Bloomington.

Grace Hile, Does increased serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin induced in rats by excess vitamin D reflect impaired vitamin K status and decreased bone mineralization?, Christopher Masterjohn, Ph.D. and Duncan Ferguson, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana. Hile is the daughter of Bill and Ann Osborne of Moline and the wife of Paul Hile of Monroe, Mich.

Brittany Koch, Decision making in the NICU, Beau Batton, M.D., associate professor and chief of pediatric neonatology at SIU; Koch is the daughter of John and Jean Koch of Carbondale.

Alexander Kurdi, Thirty day re-admission rates and socio-economic status: support network and discharge planning for orthopedic surgeries conducted at Memorial Hospital, Tony Zheng, clinical researcher, and Khaled J. Saleh, M.D., professor and chair of orthopaedics at SIU; Kurdi is from Streamwood.

Kyle McCullough, Disease-free survival and surgical outcomes for video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy and thoracotomic lobectomy in non-small cell lung cancer: a pilot study, Stephen R. Hazelrigg, M.D., professor and chief of cardiothoracic surgery at SIU; McCullough is the son of Michael and Gayle McCullough of Decatur.

Kyle Morgenstern, Analyzing cognitive data to develop a predictive model for at-risk schools - a project within the Springfield collaborative for active child health (Collaboratve), Tracey Smith, DNP, assistant professor of family & community medicine and assistant director of medical student education at SIU; Morgenstern is the son of David and Becki Morgenstern of East Peoria.

Benjamin Voss, Investigation of the effects of ASA score, cognitive function measurement, and different post-operative medications on thirty-day readmission rates, Sonia Vasdev, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedics and Khaled J. Saleh, M.D., professor and chair of orthopaedics at SIU; Voss is the son of Ron and Diane Voss of Mascoutah.

Erik Wright, A study to assess primary outcomes on consecutive hip fracture patients who underwent surgery within 48 hours compared to >48 hours after implementation of hip fracture protocol, Sonia Vasdev, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedics and Khaled J. Saleh, M.D., professor and chair of orthopaedics at SIU; Wright is the son of Mark and Mary Jo Wright of Freeport.

Established in 1970, SIU School of Medicine's mission is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and community service. Its website is and its main number is 217-545-8000.