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STARS shines spotlight on student research

by Rodney Tanaka

September 8, 2011

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The fourth annual Student Technology and Research Symposium (STARS) 2011 highlighted a wide range of topics and breadth and depth of student research at Western University of Health Sciences on Sept. 6, 2011.

The symposium was developed to provide a forum for students to present their research experiences to the university community. Sixteen students presented their work. Click here for a full list of participants.

“You are the cream of the crop,” said Steven Henriksen, PhD, WesternU Vice President for Research and Biotechnology. “We’re very impressed with the quality of research that is going on here. It’s part of my responsibility to stimulate this kind of activity throughout the university and to help young scientists to get together and understand what research is all about.”

STARS brought together students with varying levels of research experience. Ann-Marie Aumann, College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2014, worked with Assistant Professor Babak Faramarzi, DVM, Msc, PhD, on “Foal Hematology.” They compiled foal reference tables based on blood and serum samples from 71 client-owned foals. The goal of this ongoing research is to provide clinicians and scientists with specific and relevant foal blood work values in order to better assist the process of evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of neonatal foals.

This was Aumann’s first research project, which was intimidating at first, she said. She learned that research takes diligence and passion. All her hard work truly made an impact when she compiled charts that helped her visualize patterns in the data.

“That’s when it really came alive to me, that this information is useful,” Aumann said. “We have so much information we collected and we have so much more that is coming in. There are going to be a lot of things unearthed by this study. Research is hard work, but when you have this exciting, new information coming in, it’s so rewarding.”

Matthew Nalamlieng, College of Podiatric Medicine Class of 2014, worked with Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Lester Jones, DPM, MS, and Assistant Professor Jarrod Shapiro, DPM, on “Outcomes of Lapidus Arthrodesis vs. Basilar Osteotomy for First Ray Hypermobility: A Systematic Review.”

The project emerged from a classroom discussion with Dr. Jones about hypermobility. Nalamlieng’s interest in the topic and the encouragement of Drs. Jones and Shapiro prompted him to pursue it further. Taking that next step and conducting research helps students take the next step in their education.

“You take more ownership of your education and you care more about what you’re studying,” Nalamlieng said. “You take your education beyond what the professor gives you.”

Zafeer Fazelbhoy, College of Pharmacy Class of 2014, said he has always been interested in research and already has research experience. He presented “Mapping pERK activation following acute and repeated stress in male and female mice,” a project under the guidance of Associate Professor Kabirullah Lutfy, PhD, MSci, BPharm.

He encouraged other students to get involved in research and in STARS.

“I learned to be patient and troubleshoot. You lose some sleep over it,” he said. “It’s very inspirational to be part of this symposium.”

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