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2020 Summer Research Projects Examples

Dr. Kristen Ahlschwede

1 or 2 positions available

  1. Development of novel peptides and polymer-peptide conjugates to eradicate a staphylococcus epidermidis bacterial biofilm. Staphylococcus epidermidis is a common pathogen found on indwelling medical devices such as catheters and implantable devices. Unlike other pathogens, S. epidermidis is an opportunistic naturally occurring pathogen that is normally present on our skin. 
  2. Development and evaluation of novel hydrogel and oil/water emulsion formulations for the treatment of a dental bacterial biofilm. 

Dr. Pengli Bu

1 or 2 positions available

  1. To investigate how environmental contaminants adversely impact male reproduction. Cells derived from male reproductive system and tissue culture methods will be used as models to investigate gene expression changes in response to exposure to environmental chemicals. 
  2. To develop and characterize three-dimensional cell culture models. Cells will be cultured in traditional two-dimensional setting and novel three-dimensional platform and their physiological properties (such as maturation, polarity, and gene expression profile) will be compared and contrasted. 
  3. To investigate how chemotherapeutic agents cause liver injury. Cells derived from liver (hepatocyte, stellate cells, Kupffer cells and liver endothelial cells) will be assessed for cytotoxicity in response to exposure to environmental chemicals.

Dr. Danielle Candelario and Dr. Sean Kane

2 positions available

Investigating the predictiveness of two standardized exams (PCOA in the P3 year and Pre-NAPLEX in the P4 year) on RFUMS graduates' performance on the NAPLEX (national board exam). Additional factors related to NAPLEX performance will also be examined. Under the guidance of Dr. Kane and Dr. Candelario, students will be responsible for researching the literature, designing the study, interpreting statistical data, and creating a final poster presentation. No previous research experience is required, just a strong interest in assessment, data and research.

Dr. Rahul Deshmukh

1 position available

Development of novel drug formulations and analytical assay development and testing to support the project. Expectation- Lab activities along with literature search, review.

Dr. Sarah Garber

Up to 3 positions available

Research related to interprofessional approaches to Social Determinants of Health, Lifestyle Healthcare and access to care for marginalized patients. Activities may include, but are not limited to, literature review, statistical analysis, development of active learning activities.

Dr. Scott Hanes

1 position available

This will be an educational-based research project.

Dr. Lisa Michener

1 position available

Research will involve experiential curriculum assessment and development. Will conduct qualitative research regarding the perceptions, behaviors of students and preceptors involvement in experiential education.

Dr. Ateequr Rahman

1 or 2 positions available

  1. Increased prescription of opioid medications has led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids resulting in devastating consequences. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) aims to address the opioid crisis through decrease opioid overdoses and associated mortality rates and decrease opioid abuse. Pharmacists are ideally positioned to contribute toward these important public health goals as the interface between the community and the health care system.

    The study would utilize a survey methodology to study the attitude and opinions of pharmacy students toward opioid abuse. 
  2. Major depressive disorder in children and adolescents is a common condition that affects physical, emotional, and social development. Pharmacotherapy is recommended for patients with moderate or severe depression. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians tricyclic antidepressants are not effective in children and adolescents. Antidepressants have a boxed warning for the increased risk of suicide; therefore, careful assessment, follow-up, safety planning, and patient and family education should be included when treatment is initiated. This study will study the antidepressant prescribing patterns of physicians for adolescents and their adherence to guidelines by utilizing a secondary database.


Dr. Jamie Dillig may have an opportunity for two students to work on a part-time volunteer basis on a project related to an outreach camp.