By Christin Senior | February 19, 2018 4:28 pm


Can a drone act as a “first responder” to a patient suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest?  Is Botox the answer to a rare disease that affects blood flow to the hands and feet? These and other research studies will be explored at the 9th Annual Medical Student Research Conference on Thursday, Feb 22 at the UCF College of Medicine.

The day-long research showcase, held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., is the culmination of the Focused Inquiry and Research Experience (FIRE) module, a two-year research project required of all M.D. students at UCF. During the mini-conference, first-year students will present their research proposals to peers and faculty while second-years will present their findings. The students’ oral and poster presentations will be judged by faculty and fellow students and prizes awarded in various categories.

The FIRE module is designed to teach students how to create new scientific knowledge, increase their appreciation for research discovery and build in them a “spirit of inquiry.” The required course is unique nationally and allows many UCF students to present and publish their research before they ever graduate from medical school.

Students this year selected a range of health-related topics, some based on personal interests or experience, and worked with research mentors including College of Medicine core and volunteer faculty, faculty from other UCF colleges and physicians and scientists from across the community and country.

First-year student Alexander McClanahan will present his research proposal for a study that will explore the use of drone technology to help save lives.

“Drones offer a unique benefit in that they can potentially deliver emergency materials quicker in response to a person having cardiac arrest as opposed to traditional emergency response,” McClanahan explained. “The idea is to have a drone onsite in the community so that if someone has a cardiac arrest you can activate a drone and have it deliver an AED defibrillator.”

Second- year med student Chris Schow will present his pathological findings of bone lesions in a pre-Columbian Peruvian mummy. He partnered with UCF anthropologist Dr. Marla Toyne to study the human remains that are believed to be between 600 and 1,000 years old.

“I liked this project a lot because it combined my interest for anthropology and medicine,” Schow said. “It allowed me to use what I’m learning in medical school to come up with a differential diagnosis for what is going on with the skeleton and also looking at the impact it has on the individual and the culture.”

The full day of poster and oral presentations will include a plenary talk titled “So What’s Aging? Is Aging a Disease?” by invited speaker, Dr. Edward Lakatta from the National Institute on Aging.

The event is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. Up to six credits of CPD (formerly CME) are available and are free for participating physicians.

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