Current Undergraduate Research Opportunities

For a step-by-step guide on getting involved in CHS Undergraduate Research, click the link "How Students Get Involved" and read the instructions.

  • Please scroll down to see which opportunities are compatible with your major, field of interest, or future career objectives, then contact Dr. Andreatta to request an interview for the project you are interested in pursuing.

  • Opportunities below are open to all UK undergraduate majors, not just those in CHS!  

  • Research opportunities offered through the College of Health Sciences Undergraduate Research Program are only available for academic credit. 



Title of Opportunity: UK Rehab MakerSpace: Joint rehab project between "All About Communication” (AAC) - Research Lab  and The Kentucky Appalachian Rural Rehabilitation Network (KARRN)  (OPEN)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentors: Drs. Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker, Janine Schmedding-Bartley, Judith L. Page from  CSD and Dr. Patrick Kitzman from PT.

Departments: Communication Sciences & Disorders and Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit for Fall

Position Availability: Summer 2024 (some volunteer opportunities) and Fall 2024 (for credit only)

Description:  The All About Communication Research Lab (AAC) (https://www.uky.edu/chs/aac-lab) and the Kentucky Appalachian Rural Rehabilitation Network (KARRN) (https://www.uky.edu/chs/karrn) have created a “makerspace” to experiment and create useful rehabilitation/habilitation aids for individuals with a variety of different disorders that affect their quality of life. By sharing  ideas, tools, and knowledge, we can improve their participation in life and foster better and greater interaction with their surroundings. Our "makerspace" is an inclusive place to create, build, collaborate, explore, and learn together.

We are looking for students who like to physically create things with their hands and are willing and not afraid to dive in and learn some technical skills including basic electronics, programming, using craft tools, 3-D printing, and learning how real-world signals are converted for use by digital equipment (computers, iPhones, iPads), to name a few.  No prior experience is needed to participate in this research opportunity. Training by one of the faculty will be provided for you...or we'll work to together to figure out how to do something! 

All participating students must be available on Wednesdays between 3 and 4 pm for in-person and/or on-line Zoom meetings among lab participants.  Current makerspace tools and technology include:

  • 3D printer (QIDI X-MAX)
  • Soldering station
  • Laminating station
  • Electronics
  • Computer/software
  • Crafts/hardware supplies
  • Sewing supplies
  • Tools

Our UK Rehab Makerspace is in search of student research aides to participate in several ongoing as well as developing new projects including:

  • 3D printing of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and assistive technology (AT) tools, 
  • rehabbing donated AT and durable medical equipment (DME), 
  • adapting toys and books for inclusive play,
  • creating AT switches, 
  • evaluating our makerspace impact, and
  • developing your new ideas to help someone do something they couldn't do before.

Prerequisites: 

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Availability Wednesdays 3 to 4 pm in-person or via Zoom.
  • Any major is welcome including CSD, HHS, PT, OT, AT, rehab and biomedical engineering, and those with similar interests 
  • Student must be detail-oriented, very organized, reliable, and responsive to email.
  • Student must be willing to take direction and instruction and not afraid of making mistakes. 
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team and collaborative team.

Posted: 2-23-24



Title of Opportunity: "All About Communication” - Research Lab Projects  (OPEN)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Drs. Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker, Janine Schmedding-Bartley, & Judith L. Page

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Summar 2024 (some volunteer opportunities) and Fall 2024 (for credit only)

Description:  The All About Communication Research Lab (AAC) is comprised of 3 faculty members in the Dept of Communication Sciences & Disorders (Drs. Cooley-Hidecker, Schmedding-Bartley, & Page) who together investigate communication assessments and various treatments for children and adults with complex communication needs.

The AAC Research Lab faculty are in search of several student research aides to assist with the overall work of the lab in several ongoing projects. The undergraduate positions offered by the AAC Lab will provide an opportunity for students to become actively involved in one or more ongoing projects with different combinations of faculty and doctoral students.  All students will have an opportunity to assist with a variety of tasks including: application preparation for human subjects approval, transcription of client data, data entry, data cleaning, data coding, data management and library research, research poster preparation and presentation, and lastly material preparation for use in assessments and interventions.  

No prior experience is needed to participate in this research opportunity. Training will be provided for you. All participating students must be available on Wednesdays between 2 and 4 pm for on-line Zoom meetings among lab participants.  

Prerequisites: 

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Availability Wednesdays 2 to 4 pm
  • Any major is welcome, but CSD students are preferred
  • Opportunity is open to 2nd semester Freshman through Seniors
  • Student must be detail-oriented, very organized, reliable, and responsive to email
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team

Posted: 2-23-24



Title of Opportunity: Interviews with speech-language pathologists about their perspectives on literacy (OPEN)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Anne Olson and Dr. Joneen Lowman

Graduate Students: Ryan Foote

Departments: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit only

Position Availability: Summer 2024 and Fall 2024

Description: Reading scores in the United States have undergone a significant drop in recent years. Current research indicates that a lack of an agreed-upon definition for the measurement of reading comprehension may be hampering a full appreciation of this current trend. The purpose of this study is to assess school-based speech-language pathologists’ and elementary school teachers’ conceptualization of reading comprehension. Understanding each professional group's thoughts and perspectives on what constitutes reading comprehension may allow us to more clearly measure this behavior for greater consistency in research. 

This research opportunity will consist of collaborating with a 2nd-year CSD graduate student working on a master's thesis. This graduate student needs assistance with transcribing and coding participant-recorded interviews. Undergraduate students will learn about the qualitative research process, models of literacy, and the coding process used in word-to-word transcription procedures.  Bi-weekly meetings with the graduate student conducting the study will be a required part of the position's duties.

Prerequisites:

  • CSD major preferred
  • Minimum 3.2 GPA
  • Strong organization and oral/written communication skills 
  • Competency in Microsoft Office   
  • Ability to work independently
  • Students must be detail-oriented, very organized, reliable, and responsive to email

Posted: 2-14-24



Title of Opportunity: DASH-ing to Heart Health: Supporting Economically-Disadvantaged Black Women with an Interactive "Meals that Heal" Resource Book (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Brandi White, PhD, MPH

Departments: Health and Clinical Sciences

Position Type: Academic credit only

Position Availability: Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024

Description:  “Meals that Heal” is a research study that will develop, disseminate, and evaluate a health information resource for medically underserved, racially marginalized communities. The interactive resource book will provide tailored health information about hypertension risk reduction and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), including culturally relevant and low-cost DASH recipes for hypertension disease prevention or management. The resource book will be marketed to a broad audience through community-based partnerships and networks.
    
Students selected to participate in this research study will gain experience conducting a literature review, conducting key informant interviews, transcribing and analyzing qualitative data, working as part of a research team, and potentially gaining valuable publication and presentation experience.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Interest in health equity research and/or community engagement  
  • Strong organization and oral/written communication skills 
  • Competency in Microsoft Office   
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a research team, follow up on assignments, and take initiative on projects 
  • Students must be detail-oriented, very organized, reliable, and responsive to email.
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive and collaborative team.
     

Posted: 1-10-24



Title of Opportunity: Injury Prevention with Industrial Athletes (construction workers) (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Emily Gabriel, PhD

Departments: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit only

Position Availability: Spring 2024 and Summer 2024

Description: The industrial setting is an emerging place of employment for athletic trainers with a primary purpose for injury prevention of employees who perform what would be considered "athletic" forms of work. In the research conducted by our lab, we are interested in the attitudes toward injury prevention that individuals in the construction industry may have. The purpose of the current study is to assess these attitudes towards injury prevention within groups of our "industrial athletes". We hope the results of our study will inform the development of strategies to increase the adoption and adherence to injury prevention programs by these individuals. Greater adherence to injury prevention will lead to reduced injury, less absence from work, and better overall health for these remarkable athletes. 

Participants in our study will complete a demographic survey and several other surveys to assess attitudes towards injury prevention programs. The student will be an integral part of the research team and will assist in the analysis of the surveys. Students will gain knowledge in survey-based research, injury prevention, use of Remark OMR software (allows for scanning of paper surveys and automated data entry), and statistical analyses. Students will also have the opportunity to gain experience writing scientific abstracts and potentially a manuscript based on student interest. There is also the potential for the student to have their own portion of this study, that will lead to additional presentation and/or authorship opportunities.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Must have data manipulation experience. 
  • Experience using computer software or with data entry, and advanced written communication skills.
  • Student must be detail-oriented, very organized, reliable, and responsive to email.
  • Student must be willing to take direction and instruction and not afraid of making mistakes. 
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive and collaborative team.
  • Prefer students with an interest in pursuing a health-related field.

Posted: 1-4-24



Title of Opportunity: Student Project Assistant (SPA) for Trans-disciplinary Equine-Assisted Collaborative for Health (TEACH) (Contact Dr. Andreatta for availability)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Kimberly Tumlin, PhD

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Paid student position

Position Availability: Spring 2024

Description of Position: This paid opportunity is looking for a student to work 20 hours per week providing support for a project that will explore the feasibility and development of an equine-assisted collaborative that includes trans-disciplinary training programs, clinical services, and programs of research at the University of Kentucky.

Responsibilities and Duties: The person hired for this position will report directly to the Project Director, Marth Biddle and work closely with all members of the interdisciplinary project team. The person in this position will identify and engage academic, clinical, and community stakeholders who are critical to the inception and future success of TEACH.  This position will involve completing interviews and surveys with stakeholders to generate evidence that will support training, clinical and research services offered through TEACH. Based on this evidence and the literature, the hired student will support the development of a final report documenting proposed training, clinical, and research programs that will be supported within TEACH. This final report will also explain how TEACH will foster trans-disciplinary academic, clinical, and community partnerships that will support the University of Kentucky becoming an international leader in teaching, conducting research, and providing clinical services in equine assisted therapy.

Qualifications and Skills: The ideal candidate for this position will have experience with MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They will also have a personal interest in horses and equine assisted therapy.  The person in this position will be expected to act independently by identifying opportunities for engaging academic, clinical, and community stakeholders. Effective verbal and written communication skills are essential when conducting interviews and surveys. The characteristics of (1) following through on commitments according to a timeline and (2) anticipating and resolving challenges to achieve objectives, are desired. Experience in conducting interviews and surveys and having skills in transcribing the results of interviews and surveys into databases is desirable but not essential. 

Salary and Benefits: $20/hr, plus the opportunity to be included as a co-author on presentations and publications.  No health or retirement benefits are included.

Posted:  12/8/23



Title of Opportunity: Increasing Clinical Rotation Supply through Churn Analysis (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Shelley Irving, MSPAS, PA-C

Departments: Physician Assistant Studies

Position Type: Academic credit only

Position Availability: Spring 2024 and Summer 2024

Description:  Graduate programs in medically-related professions (e.g., physicians, nurses, and physician assistants) require clinical training in clinical settings (e.g., physician offices, hospitals, clinics).  Given the growth of programs in medicine, nursing, physician assistants, etc., the demand for these clinical placements is growing substantially. At the same time, medical providers are expected to be more productive (see more patients). Thus providers may not have time to be clinical supervisors for students in training. These trends make finding clinical placements more difficult. We are applying a business data manipulation technique known as "churn analysis" to our past rotation schedule data to discover trends that can inform us as to how we can improve our ability to maximize obtaining clinical rotation sites.  

Our goal is to better understand supervisor behavior to see which types of clinical sites are more likely to take more students more often, and conversely to see why sites drop out or take fewer students. This project is important because it will help with understanding where our program needs to invest its effort to increase opportunities for clinical placements, and conversely to avoid seeking placements at sites more likely to drop out. 

Student researchers will be expected to perform the following activities:

  • Taking extracted placement data and formatting it to be able to calculate churn statistics.
  • Apply logic statements (in Microsoft Excel) to classify all placement changes.
  • Summarize the types of placement changes.
  • Calculate several types of churn statistics.
  • Write up findings and observations.
  • Review current literature.

While performing these activities, students will learn about basic research skills, data manipulation using Excel, learning how to use Excel logic and other formulas, computation and presentation of statistics, and lastly, develop experience in scientific writing. Students will have publication opportunities as part of this research work. Students will work with project staff in Lexington and they will meet with the faculty director of the project during her weekly office hours in Lexington.  

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Must have Excel or Google Sheets experience with formula and charting use.
  • Must have data manipulation experience. 
  • Interested in improving skills in analysis. 
  • Prefer students with experience in searching and summarizing research and business literature.
  • Student must be detail-oriented, very organized, reliable, and responsive to email.
  • Student must be willing to take direction and instruction and not afraid of making mistakes. 
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive and collaborative team.

Posted: 11-3-23



Title of Opportunity: Supports and barriers to using virtual reality in Physical Therapy practice.  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Patrick Kitzman.

Departments: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit only

Position Availability: Fall 2023 and Spring 2024

Description: This is an ongoing survey study examining the supports and barriers to implementing virtual and extended reality in Physical Therapy practice in Kentucky.  The student will learn how to conduct literature searches, help with analyzing survey based data, and will learn how to prepare abstracts for state and national meetings and a manuscript.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Familiarity with conducting literature searches,
  • Previous work experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint would be preferable.
  • Student must be detail-oriented, very organized, reliable, and responsive to email.
  • Student must be willing to take direction and instruction and not afraid of making mistakes. 
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive and collaborative team.

Posted: 10-19-23



Title of Opportunity: Equine-Assisted Collaborative for Health (EACH) (Interviews for Spring openings)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Kimberly Tumlin, PhD

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Spring 2024

Description: Nationally, services using horses for transforming and improving human health lack a single approach for measuring success beyond the reduction of diagnoses or other program-level outcomes. Functionality including physical, mental, behavioral, cultural, and spiritual health are core to our well-being and human flourishing. The Equine-Assisted Collaborative for Health (EACH) project is intended to give voice to scientific advancements as well as draw together a community, practice, and research for active partnerships for measurements, methods, and precision analytics.

As an EACH trainee student, you will actively participate in building multidisciplinary resources that are accessible and culturally responsive which visually explains published research for weekly communications on EACH. The first part of this experience emphasizes dissemination and translation of research. The second set of tasks will include facilitating podcasts, blogs, and published research with the faculty mentor. Trainees will focus on research methodology, developing questions, and data analysis. Both field and lab-based opportunities are possible during this project. For any field experiences, you must have your own means of transportation to the off-campus location. 

Prerequisites:

  • Motivated individual with an interest in equestrian sport
  • Hardworking, detail-oriented, organized, and reliable
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25 and sophomore or higher standing.
  • Prefer students with sports medicine, biomechanics, and/or an engineering and physics backgrounds
  • Experience with media creation, podcasting, and blogging is helpful

Posted:  10/4/23



Title of Opportunity: Promoting the Health of the Equestrian Athlete Initiative (Interviews for possible Spring openings)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Kimberly Tumlin, PhD

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Summer 2023 and Fall 2023

Description: The Equestrian Athlete Initiative in the UK Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI) is performing groundbreaking research on equestrian athlete. We are conducting various exercise-based experiments and motion-capture data analysis to promote increased occupational and recreational longevity of athletes in equestrian sports. As an undergraduate research student, you would help conduct surveys, strength, flexibility, body composition, balance, and reaction time tests that are currently part of our experimental procedures. Both field and lab-based opportunities are possible during this project. For any field experiences, you must have your own means of transportation to the off-campus location.  Both Summer and Fall 2023 opportunities exist.

Prerequisites:

  • Motivated individual with an interest in equestrian sport
  • Hardworking, detail-oriented, organized, and reliable
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25 and sophomore or higher standing.
  • Prefer students with sports medicine, biomechanics, and/or an engineering and physics backgrounds
  • Familiarity with computer programs such as MATLAB and SPSS are desirable

Posted:  4/24/23



Title of Opportunity: Discovering Mechanisms of Injury and Recovery in the Lower Extremity (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Brian Noehren

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Fall 2023 and into Spring 2023

Description: Our lab is focused on understanding the underlying mechanisms of several common injuries that occur in the lower extremity. We use a variety of methods to answer our research questions, including:

  • 3D motion capture,
  • Advanced muscle strength assessment,
  • Magnetic resonance imaging,  and
  • Clinical behavioral measurements and the
  • Use and development of computer code to process and analyze the data we collect.

Students working in our lab serve in a variety of capacities, such as observing clinical evaluations, assisting in data collection, and processing data. The undergraduate students working in our lab gain an understanding of anatomy, common clinical assessment techniques, and joint mechanics. Students also have an opportunity to assist physical therapists in research treatment studies ongoing in the laboratory. Students that work in the laboratory for an extended period of time also have the opportunity to present research at national conferences. Leadership opportunities also exist for students who return for a second semester to help train and supervise newer students.

We are looking for 2 students to join our lab who have excellent attention to detail, a strong work ethic, are interested in a future career in the medical field, and enjoy working in a collaborative team environment.

Prerequisites: 

  • Prefer a current Freshman or Sophomore but will also consider a Junior for position
  • Must commit to a minimum of 8-10 hours per week (fall/spring) on the project, which is equivalent to 3 credits of coursework.
  • Must be interested in working in a lab over multiple semesters
  • Minimum 3.4 GPA
  • Preference will be given to Pre-PT students and Pre-Med

Posted: 9-7-23



Title of Opportunity: University of Kentucky Aphasia Lab Research Projects (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Christen Page, PhD, CCC-SLP

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: Fall 2023

Description:  The purpose of this study is to identify the effect of functional strategies and support services on life participation (how individuals participate in previously enjoyed activities).  Using the life participation approach to aphasia (LPAA Project Group, 2001), the University of Kentucky Aphasia Lab aims to provide long-term functional support services for individuals with chronic aphasia and their caregivers (participants).  The support services within the Aphasia Lab will provide mechanisms to increase communication opportunities and confidence for individuals with aphasia (communication deficits following a stroke) and awareness of communication competence by their caregivers/co-survivors.  With these services, participants will re-engage as active members of a communicating society.  Support services will include: 

  • Strategies to facilitate participation in vocational, social, or educational activities;
  • Caregiver/co-survivor education to reduce burdens and reveal communication competence for individuals with aphasia; 
  • Group interaction to increase confidence and communication opportunities for individuals with aphasia.   

Students who are chosen to participate in this undergraduate research experience will learn research skills through the following tasks:

  • Critically appraise research articles.
  • Assist with manuscript preparation/revisions.
  • Manage data collected from assessments given to persons with aphasia and caregivers.

Dr. Page has multiple years of experience mentoring undergraduate students as they complete research projects.  She provides clear instructions with examples/resources and is available and happy to answer any questions that may arise.  While this project may require multiple semesters to complete, students could potentially present findings at a state or national conference. 

Prerequisites: 

  • Familiarity with conducting literature searches is preferred but not required
  • Dependable and punctual and responds to email in a timely manner
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • General knowledge and basic experience in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are needed.
  • Students must have strong organizational and communication skills.
  • Students must be willing to learn new things and be receptive to direction and instruction
  • Students must be willing and feel comfortable working as part of an interactive team in the lab

Posted: 8/15/23



Title of Opportunity: Acute changes in the brain following exercise sessions (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta  (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Matt Hoch, PhD, ATC 

Graduate Student: Ke'La Porter, MS, ATC

Department: Athletic Training & Clinical Nutrition and the UK Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI)

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2023

Description:  The UK Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI) is currently conducting studies involving the addition of perceptual and cognitive challenges (i.e., reaction time, attention, and memory) to movement assessments and exercise programs to improve the overall performance of traditional athletes and those who are in the military, firefighting, and law enforcement. The goal of this research work is to reduce the rate of injury that these groups suffer during competitive athletic events or during the execution of critical field work performed by military personnel, law enforcement and first responders. 

As an undergraduate student you will help with data collection and analysis involving novel physical performance assessments and training sessions. Students will gain experience in assessing novel measures of physical performance and cognitive function, instructing participants during data collection, and data management. This opportunity is available for the Fall semester but may be extended longer based on the interest of the student and needs of the research team. No prior experience is required; however, being comfortable using technology is important. Specific training will be provided. 

Students selected to participate in this research project will gain experience working as part of a large research team, and potentially gain valuable publication and presentation experience as well. 

Prerequisites:

  • Must have at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA
  • Be available to work on some evenings (5-8 pm) and weekends 
  • Preference for student pursuing sports medicine or health care fields
  • Must be responsive to emails
  • Must be responsible, detail-oriented, organized, and reliable 
  • Motivated with a strong work ethic 
  • Must be a team player and open to feedback

Posted: 8/9/2023



Title of Opportunity: Research at the Center for Telehealth Education, Research, and Outreach (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta  (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA-F   

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2023

Description:  The Center for Telehealth Education, Research, and Outreach (CTERO) seeks to improve patients’ access to healthcare across the lifespan and settings through telehealth.  CTERO believes that e-health is only as strong as the quality of the providers, the evidence supporting the telehealth services, and the relationship with the patient and community. To that end CTERO has multiple research projects looking at provider and patient education, the efficacy of telehealth services, and methods for engaging users.  

CTERO seeks to add energetic, forward-thinking, and creative student researchers to our team. Selected students will be assigned to projects that match their interests and skill sets. Projects include but are not limited to developing interactive online learning, transcribing and analyzing interviews and user responses, conducting literature searches, designing evaluation tools, and promoting telehealth best practices via social media channels.  

Selected students must be team-oriented, open to learning, think creatively, and be self-motivated. Students will have the opportunity to increase their general knowledge of telehealth and gain experience with various research methodologies including the use of various technologies. Selected students may assist with  
    •   Participant recruitment
    •   Development of online training 
    •   Organizing and managing data
    •   Transcribing and analyzing interviews and videos
    •   Conducting literature searches
    •   Managing outreach activities

No prior experience is required; however, general comfort in using and learning about technology is preferred. Training will be provided. 

Prerequisites:

  • Must have at least 3.2 cumulative GPA
  • Open to students across disciplines (e.g., healthcare, learning design, technology, communication, public health, etc.)
  • Have access to a computer/laptop and stable Internet
  • Be available Mondays from 3 – 5 pm for lab meetings
  • Must be responsive to emails
  • Thrive on the details and enjoy finding patterns
  • Willing to take specific direction and work as part of a research team
  • Highly responsible and keenly aware of patient privacy issues
  • Experience with Microsoft Office applications such as Word
  • Very detail-oriented, organized, reliable, and careful

Posted: 8/4/2023



Title of Opportunity: Older Adults’ Acceptance of Telehealth as a Treatment Modality (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta  (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA-F   

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2023

Description:  Telehealth uses videoconferencing platforms like Zoom to connect healthcare providers with patients.  Many claim that telehealth is the answer to increasing older adults’ access to healthcare. However, the availability of telehealth does not equal acceptance, which is the first step toward actual use.  This study sought to validate a tool for measuring older adults acceptance of telehealth.  The study’s results can inform how providers make decisions regarding the support and education required to help older adults successfully use telehealth. 
    
As part of the study, we interviewed older adults about their perception of telehealth. We are currently seeking two motivated students to assist with coding the interviews and assisting us in identifying themes.  As part of the team, you will learn about telehealth and how patient input can help you deliver quality care as a future provider. Students selected to participate in this research project will gain experience transcribing and analyzing qualitative data, working as part of a research team, and potentially gaining valuable publication and presentation experience as well.

Prerequisites:

  • Must have at least 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Must be responsive to emails
  • Thrive on the details and enjoy finding patterns
  • Willing to take specific direction and work as part of a research team
  • Be a team player and enjoy learning
  • Highly responsible and keenly aware of patient privacy issues
  • Experience with Microsoft Office applications such as Word
  • Very detail-oriented, organized, reliable, and careful

Posted: 8/4/2023



Title of Opportunity: mHealth Technology and Invisible Chronic Illness (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta  (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Jami Warren, PhD   

Department: Health and Clinical Sciences (HHS, MLS, CLM)

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Interviewing for Spring 2024 start date

Description:  Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is an invisible chronic illness that affects between 500,000 and 3,000,000 people in the United States annually. Individuals with POTS often experience delays to diagnosis as well as misdiagnosis because symptoms often overlap with other conditions. Recently, POTS has gained press coverage because symptoms of POTS are being noted among patients who have had COVID-19. In our recent research with POTS patients, mobile and connected health technology (e.g., smartphones wearable sensors) were mentioned as a potential way to help patients decrease their time to diagnosis by providing them with a means to record objective data to give to their physicians. Mobile Health (mHealth)—the use of mobile information and communication technology in improving health--can provide key health information to physicians throughout a patient’s diagnostic journey.

In this phase of our study, we will be utilizing focus group feedback from our previous work to develop and test a mobile health app in a small clinical trial with diagnosis-seeking POTS patients. Our lab needs additional students to begin in January 2024. The student will help with study-related tasks such as communicating with participants, managing online surveys, compiling, and possibly helping to analyze data.

Students selected to participate in this research project will gain experience conducting focus group interviews, transcribing and analyzing qualitative data, working as part of a research team, and potentially gaining valuable publication and presentation experience as well.

Prerequisites:

  • Prefer HHS students interested in patient-provider communication.
  • Must have at least 3.5 cumulative GPA
  • Possess a basic understanding of the research process
  • Willing to take specific direction and work as part of a research team
  • Highly responsible and keenly aware of patient privacy issues
  • Experience with Microsoft Office applications such as Word and Excel.
  • Very detail-oriented, organized, reliable, and careful

Posted: 7/17/2023



Title of Opportunity: Patient-Centered Outcomes in the ICU Recovery Clinic (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kirby Mayer

Graduate Student Mentor name (If applicable): Lindsey Jubina

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2023

Description:  We are looking for 1-2 undergraduate students to assist with our research initiatives and become an integral part of our research team. The ICU Recovery Clinic at the University of Kentucky Clinic provides care to ICU survivors through an interdisciplinary approach. Students entering any health profession will encounter patients with complex needs and who are ICU and COVID-19 survivors. Our research will allow the undergraduate students to better understand recovery and trajectory of care after hospital discharge. Our lab, REBOUND, has many ongoing research projects that students will have the opportunity to be involved with. We are creating a large data base of all the patients we serve in the clinic for current and future research initiatives.

Participating students will have the opportunity to understand and help with the process of retrospective studies, data analysis, and manuscript creation. We are looking for undergraduate students to assist with data organization and extraction through our electronic medical record system called EPIC. The time requirement for each student will be 3-5 hours per week minimum.

Prerequisites:

  •     Minimum GPA 3.25
  •     Sophomore or Junior preferred
  •     Prefer that students engage in our lab for at least 2 semesters
  •     Reliable, responsible, and responsive to emails
  •     Organized and motivated with an excellent work ethic
  •     Familiarity with basic Microsoft Excel (needed for entering data)
  •     Prefer students with a health sciences or health profession background
  •     Current electronic medical record access is a bonus but is NOT required for participation

Posted:  7/6/2023



Title of Opportunity: Study, develop and testing of mobile and gaming health technologies to improve the health outcomes of families of critical care patients and cancer patients suffering from cognitive impairment. (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anthony Faiola        

Department: Health and Clinical Sciences (HHS, CLM, MLS)

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2023

Description:  This experience will focus on research projects involved with two digital interventions that support family and patient care.

  • Project #1: Title: Addressing the mental health disparities of families of cancer and ICU patients: A clinical study on the efficacy to reduce mental trauma using the mobile app intervention. 
    • Summary: Families, caregivers, or next-of-kin (NOK) with a family-member receiving critical care and cancer treatment require medical updates, communication from staff, and proximity to their loved one. Such a situation has a direct impact on the mental health of family members. Decades of research have demonstrated that patient NOK are at higher risk for developing mental trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and disruptions to family relationships, especially those from rural communities who experience socioeconomic inequalities. To address this problem we have developed a new mobile health (mHealth) intervention (FamCare+) that enhances communication and coordination between (remote) families and healthcare staff at point-of-care FamCare+ is intended to create informed families, with lower anxiety and depression, while building trust and satisfaction with healthcare services. FamCare+ functionality provides families outside the clinical setting (in a remote location) with vitals/wellness updates, video conferencing, chat/texting, and counseling social/mental health services. Clinicians at the bedside input real-time information in qualitative measures, along with chat/video if needed. 
  • Project #2: Title: Health gaming intervention for critical care patients and cancer patients suffering from acute cognitive impairment (due to post-intensive care syndrome, e.g., dementia, delirium, etc. and chemo brain)
    • Summary: Millions of patients each year suffer from the acute cognitive impairment either from post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) or chemo-brain. In the former, ICU patients develop PICS due to prolonged pharmacological sedation and mechanical ventilation, resulting in disorientation, delirium, degradation of working memory, and other detrimental effects of cerebral and cognitive dysfunction. In the latter, cancer patients have similar cognitive challenges after chemotherapy and the adverse cytotoxic effects that extend to the central nervous system. We posit that we can augment/enhance neuroplasticity through a newly developed digital substrate, which we identify as a form of neurostimulation therapy, i.e., an interactive gaming environment where patient moves through a 3D space as a (first-person) avatar of her/himself. The game is designed to increase cognitive and sensory engagement through (embedded) selective attention (SA) exercises that provide stimuli by directing the patient to focus and filter visual and auditory information through dichotic listening and shadowing tasking. 

Student Teamwork: For Project 1, our research team is collaborating on identifying a strategy to study the efficacy of FamCare+ on cancer patient NOK mental health in rural Kentucky, particularly those with socioeconomic disparities. Clinical studies using FamCare+ with families at two Markey Cancer Center Research Network locations is currently in progress and will continue through 2023-24. For Project 2, our research team will continue to test the game in clinics through 2023-24. If clinical patient outcomes prove positive, we intend to convert the game to a virtual reality environment.

Summary of Learning: Students will learn (from both projects): 1) how to coordinate within a research team to perform a range of research duties, 2) how to assist in the testing of the two digital health technologies in the ICU, cancer infusion center, and other healthcare facilities, 3) how to collect data that can validate the use of these new mHealth technology. Students may also be involved with collecting, sorting, and reviewing background literature reviews for research posters and papers submitted for publication.

Prerequisites: 

  • Must be a junior or senior undergraduate student.
  • Must sign up for 3 credits.
  • Must have a schedule that aligns with Professor Faiola.
  • Must have an interest in learning clinical research methods: study design, collecting data, and writing papers, etc.
  • Must have basic Microsoft Office Suite skills (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).
  • Must have an interest in how mobile and gaming health technology can improve health outcomes.
  • Should be willing to work on campus and remotely.
  • Should have the ability to create and maintain collegial working relationships with others; and the ability to work independently, with a high level of motivation.

Posted: 8/1/23



Title of Opportunity: Voice and Speech Rehabilitation Research Lab [VSRR] Projects  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Keiko Ishikawa 

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: Fall 2023 and possible Summer 2023

Description: The Voice and Speech Rehabilitation Research Lab (VSRR) is in search of highly motivated undergraduate students who wish to participate and be a part of an exciting new opportunity in voice and voice therapy. The VSRR lab is looking for research assistants who are CSD students and who have a strong interest in voice production. Strong preference will be given to students who are rising Juniors. 

The VSRR Lab will study how real-world environments can affect a person’s ability to maintain learned voice and speech therapy techniques to ensure positive treatment outcomes.  Since this is a new lab, the first group of students selected to participate will be specifically helping Dr. Ishikawa develop her new lab at UK, so flexibility and an interest in helping to set up the new lab are required. In general, students are needed to help in the following VSRR lab activities:

  • Participant recruitment
  • Assist with in-person and online data collection 
  • Running acoustic analyses on sound recordings 
  • Editing sound and video files
  • Data organization using spreadsheets
  • Assist with protocol development and manuscript preparation  

Selected students will have the opportunity to participate in the development of conference presentations and journal publications. No prior experience is needed to participate in this research opportunity. Training will be provided for you.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum 3.2 GPA
  • Students must be CSD or Pre-CSD majors with strong interest in voice production, voice treatment, and/or the physiology of speech.
  • Students who have done well in basic science courses, speech A&P, and speech science are especially encouraged to participate.
  • General knowledge and experience in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are expected and necessary.
  • Students must have strong organizational and communication skills, and strong problem solving skills too.
  • Students must be willing to learn new things and be receptive to direction and instruction
  • Students must be willing and feel comfortable working as part of an interactive team in the lab

Posted: 3/10/23



Title of Opportunity: Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute: Firefighter Health Research Initiative (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nick Heebner

Graduate Student Mentors: Ms. Jen Tinsley

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Summer 2023 and Fall 2023

Description:  This opportunity will be supporting injury and health research with the Lexington Fire Department. We work with firefighters to improve thier health and wellness throughout their career and conduct research studies to learn more about how we can improve their well-being and reduce the risk of injury and chronic pain. Most of the work will be assisting with data input, data collection, and data processing. The hours will be flexible but a minimum of 5 hours a week is requested. This opportunity is posted for the Spring semester but can be extended longer if the student and research team are interested. Our lab group is looking for at least 2 students to join our team.

Prerequisites:

  • Successful student applications will have a strong interest in clinical research
  • Experience with Microsoft Excel and Word
  • Motivated and very detail oriented with a strong ability to work as part of a team
  • Prefer student in the allied health professions
  • Prefer student with interest in pursuing the undergraduate research certificate

Posted: 2/28/23



Title of Opportunity: Ankle Sprain Prevention Research Study (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Emily Gabriel, PhD, ATC

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Summer 2023

Description:  Our lab’s research study is centered on determining what motivates individuals with a history of ankle sprain to be compliant with a home injury prevention program. We are also wanting to determine if the injury prevention program improves both self-reported function and measured functions assessed in the lab (strength, range of motion, balance, agility).  Students will learn how to assess different measures of function related to the ankle including administering the Y-Balance Test, using an EasyAngle to assess range of motion, and using an EasyForce device to assess strength. Students will gain experience on instructing participants on performing home exercises designed to prevent future ankle sprain injuries. This experience would specifically be impactful for a student wanting to pursue a career in a health profession such as athletic training and physical therapy, but all majors are welcomed to interview.

Prerequisites:

  • Previous experience working with patients or customers
  • Motivated individual with an interest in athletic training and rehabilitation
  • Hardworking, detail-oriented, organized, and reliable
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00

Posted:  1/19/23



Title of Opportunity: Educating Healthcare Providers about the Impact of Disabilities on Care (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Patrick Kitzman, PhD

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2023 and Spring and Fall 2024

Description: Individuals with disabilities routinely express challenges and barriers to accessing healthcare or being listened to effectively by healthcare workers. Several challenges affecting access include provider knowledge and personal/professional biases about disability. This project will examine what educational experiences exist or don't exist for training healthcare providers to work with individuals with a variety of disability types. We will also directly examine the biases that students in healthcare professional programs bring to their education.  The results of this work will lead to the development and testing of new educational materials (multiple mediums) aimed at decreasing biases about disability. Students will assist with literature reviews of biases and stereotypes about disability in healthcare. They will also examine existing training materials and educational offerings provided by national support organizations to assess their quality and usefulness. Students will also assist with developing new educational materials, infographics, and evaluation forms for use in our own research.

Prerequisites:

  • Familiarity with word processing and conducting literature searches
  • Familiarity with programs for developing documents such as Canva, Adobe, Powerpoint, etc.
  • Motivated individual with an interest in disability research
  • Hardworking, detail-oriented, organized, and reliable
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00

Posted:  1/18/23



Title of Opportunity: Dementia Simulation and Person-Centered Care  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Christen Page, PhD, CCC-SLP

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: Fall 2023

Description: Currently, 55 million individuals worldwide live with dementia. This number is expected to rise to 78 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050 (WHO, 2021).  Individuals with dementia present cognitive-linguistic deficits in the areas of attention, memory, language (speaking, reading, writing, understanding), and executive functions as well as reduced mobility and sensation (hearing and vision. Speech-language pathologists (SLP) are qualified to provide compensatory strategies to enhance the individual’s independence, and reduce responsive behaviors associated with dementia. Addressing these physical, psychological, and social needs of a person with dementia aligns with person-centered care (PCC).  An SLP’s understanding and appreciation of PCC can begin during academic training. A pedagogical approach gaining acceptance in Communication Science and Disorders (CSD) involves simulation-based learning. Simulation provides realistic learning opportunities through interactive, experiential techniques that mimic real-world experiences. The purpose of this study is to describe graduate CSD students’ perceptions of an in-person dementia simulation on future clinical practices in relation to PCC.

Participating in this undergraduate research experience will facilitate your learning of research by completing the following tasks:

  • Deeper understanding of dementia through a dementia simulation experience.
  • Learning how to write and measure short-term goals related to person-centered care.
  • Complete quantitative analysis (frequency counts) of short-term goals.
  • Complete qualitative analysis (thematic analysis) of reflective essays 

Dr. Page has multiple years of experience mentoring undergraduate students as they complete research projects.  She provides clear instructions with examples/resources and is available and happy to answer any questions that may arise.  While this project may require multiple semesters to complete, students could potentially present findings at a state or national conference. 

Prerequisites:

  • Familiarity with conducting literature searches is preferred but not required
  • Dependable and punctual and responds to email in a timely manner
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • General knowledge and basic experience in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are needed.
  • Students must have strong organizational and communication skills.
  • Students must be willing to learn new things and be receptive to direction and instruction
  • Students must be willing and feel comfortable working as part of an interactive team in the lab

Posted: 11/7/22



Title of Opportunity: COVID-19 influence on student, faculty, and staff anxiety (FULL)

Contact: Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Randa Remer, PhD & Cheryl Vanderford, PA-C

Department: Health and Clinical Sciences

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2023

Description:  The purpose of our study is to investigate the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on student, faculty, and staff anxiety with an aim to identify if specified factors pose a risk for higher anxiety perceived by students, faculty, and staff. Using a data-driven approach, gaps in student support will be identified to inform further actions to enhance student success.  Additionally, areas of support will be identified to help faculty and staff who are also experiencing anxiety.

Students interested in this project will assist with one or more of the following activities:

  • Conducting a comprehensive review of the literature on anxiety related to students, faculty, and staff
  • Conducting a comprehensive review of the literature on anxiety related to students, faculty, and staff influenced by COVID-19
  • Identifying valid tools for assessing anxiety
  • Offering student perspectives on survey content
  • Assisting with the development and dissemination of a survey
  • Conducting interviews
  • Taking notes and transcribing interviews

Participating students will learn more about the impact of anxiety on overall health, wellness, and academic outcomes. Further, they will gain experience with conducting research, interpreting results, and participating in poster presentations, speaker presentations, and/or publication of research.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Dependable and responsible
  • Self-directed, with the ability to work independently
  • Familiarity with Excel, Word, and library databases
  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Interested in survey and focus group type research
  • Preference is given to those willing to commit to 2 semesters of work

Posted: 9-28-22



Title of Opportunity: Mobile Health System to Support Cancer Navigation and Rehab (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Ming-Yuan Chih, PhD

Department: Health and Clinical Sciences

Associated Center: Markey Cancer Center

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2023 and Spring 2024

Description: Dr. Ming-Yuan Chih’s mHealth research lab is working to develop and evaluate several mobile technology-based interventions to enhance patient health and improve care. Students who are interested in joining his mHealth research lab will have the opportunity to work on a  project designed to improve cancer care navigation and rehab services via mobile technologies (e.g., smartphones or wearables) for underserved patient populations, including those from the Appalachian region of Kentucky. The primary responsibility of the student researcher is to assist Dr. Chih and his team in preparing and executing research activities. Students will assist with patient education, technical support, data collection and analysis. Students will have exposure to mHealth research and acquire skills in patient communication, research methods, and data management. The student researcher will work with Dr. Chih to define the scope of work and the learning objectives for the research experience.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Have interest in mobile technology, rural health, and/or cancer service research
  • Prefer students from Appalachian Kentucky, or with prior experience with the Appalachian region and/or rural healthcare
  • Strong work ethic, a fast learner, and flexible
  • Detail-oriented, organized, and reliable
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team

Posted: 9-27-22



Title of Opportunity: Recovery of skeletal muscle following ACL injury (FULL)

Contact person: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faulty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Fry

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: TBA

Description:  Our lab is interested in promoting skeletal muscle health and strength. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries result in significant weakness that is not restored with traditional rehabilitation strategies. This weakness prevents a return to sports/activity, increases re-injury rates, and promotes overall poor health outcomes. We have recently shown that ACL injury up-regulates myostatin signaling in quadriceps muscle, which promotes muscle fiber atrophy along with dysregulated activity of other cells residing within muscle (muscle stem cells) to reduce muscle quality through fibrosis. These changes likely promote weakness after ACL injury, and our lab is interested in preventing these molecular changes to improve functional recovery after injury. We have collected clinical muscle samples from patients with ACL tears, and the student will have the opportunity to perform immunohistochemical laboratory techniques on muscle fibers from these human samples to assess molecular and cellular changes to skeletal muscle and how different types of physical therapy may impact muscle health after the injury. We have also developed a mouse model to simulate the clinical condition in which we will probe the mechanistic role of myostatin on muscle adaptations after ACL transection. We will be utilizing multiple transgenic mouse models along with a pharmacological inhibitor or myostatin, and the student will have the opportunity to be involved in immunohistochemical, biochemical, and/or in vivo functional strength experiments using mouse skeletal muscle. Additionally, the student will have the valuable opportunity to be a co-author on a peer reviewed research article.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.5
  • Enthusiastic about science and learning
  • Preference given to students who can commit to multiple/consecutive semesters
  • Detail-oriented, organized, reliable/responsible

Re-posted: TBA



Title of Opportunity: Emerging Practices in Quality, Safety, and Patient Experience (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta  (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Karen Clancy, PhD

Department: Health and Clinical Sciences

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: TBA

Description:  

Recent legislative changes have highlighted the need to understand how quality, safety, and patient experiences fit into the mainstream of healthcare management strategies.  These factors, combined with the global pandemic response to COVID-19, are influencing the re-design of health delivery organizational frameworks and many healthcare practices. Our research group is seeking student assistance to help us further our research work in these areas. 

We are seeking student help to prepare a comprehensive literature review on emerging trends and practices in health care related to quality, safety, and patient experience. Student help in preparation of this review will be invaluable for developing publications and grants that will help further extend the research work performed by our group.  Selected students may also have additional opportunities helping support associated faculty and graduate student research as well. Selected students can expect to learn about the research process, the use of research databases, writing skills associated with creating annotated bibliographies, and learn how to produce a literature review. All of these skills are easily translatable to the student’s own academic and clinical work.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.3
  • Strong basic writing skills
  • Experience with writing annotated bibliographies and literature reviews is preferred
  • Experience with Word and Excel, or similar types of software.
  • Very detail-oriented, organized, reliable, and careful

Posted: TBA



Title of Opportunity: Study of the link between oral/dental diseases and systemic diseases.  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Oelisoa Mireille Andriankaja

College/Department: College of Dentistry

Position Type: Academic credit only

Position Availability:  TBA

Description: This research project is entitled "Lipid lowering agents use in periodontitis and diabetes Study (LLIPDS)". This project was originally conducted at the University of Puerto Rico from 2017 to 2020. The study assesses mechanisms that may explain the link between diabetes and gum disease (or periodontal disease) by investigating the relationship between typical cholesterol lowering medications (e.g., statins) and inflammation.  Cholesterol-lowering medication use may be associated with reduced occurrence of gum disease among diabetic patients. Findings from this study will be highly relevant for public health given the high prevalence of gum disease among diabetic patients, and would be informative for developing new strategies and treatments to prevent gum disease as well as to help develop new local delivery of the medication to treat the disease in the future.  

Students who are selected to participate in this project will contribute to the study and will learn to conduct a literature review, present (poster or oral) his/her work, learn to write and publish a manuscript, and learn to write a new research project. These are important skills for students to develop for future academic and clinical work.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA   
  • Students must be responsible and committed to project
  • Students must be willing to learn new things and receptive to direction and instruction
  • Students must be willing to work as part of a team 
  • Students must be available to work at least once a week 
  • Basic knowledge of health sciences, biology, statistics, and public health topics is preferred but not required 

Posted: TBA



Title of Opportunity: Understanding the Pathogenesis of Periodontal Disease (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Octavio Gonzalez 

Department/College: College of Dentistry

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: TBA

Description: 

Our group is interested in identifying the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease, particularly associated with: 1) the role of host-bacteria interactions and 2) the effects of aging on the gingival innate immune responses. These studies seek to identify new molecular pathways that would provide the foundation to prevent/treat periodontal disease, which is still affecting 50% of the US adult population. For this, we use in vitro (cell cultures) and animal models combined with several molecular techniques.  Previous undergraduate students have had very productive experiences in our group with the opportunity to present the main findings at local scientific meetings as well as co-authoring publications in top dental and immunological journals.

Prerequisites: 

  • GPA 3.5 or better
  • Availability for lab work at least 6 - 8h/week for at least 1-2 years
  • Complete UK online training (4 courses) for working in the lab
  • Preference will be given to students with excellent academic performance, interested in pursuing dental education and involved in the research certificate program from UK CHS

Re-posted: TBA



Title of Opportunity: Sports Medicine Research Institute: Perceptual Cognitive Deficits in Patients with Chronic Ankle Instability (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Danielle Torp (Postdoctoral Scholar)

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: TBA

Description:
The current research opportunity is designed to support current and future studies at the Sports Medicine Research Institute focused on identifying the perceptual and cognitive impact of lower extremity musculoskeletal injuries in human participants. Injuries such as these can lead to an inability of individuals to return to activities that the person engaged in previously and may also result in an overall diminished quality of life. Our lab is devoted to uncovering underlying mechanisms that might cause someone to experience negative long-term outcomes after joint injury, specifically ankle sprains. 

Students selected to join our lab group will have the opportunity to assist with subject recruitment, data collection, and analysis using methods such as 3D biomechanics (using motion capture), muscle activity (using electromyography), wearable sensors, balance measures, ultrasound, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the development of conference presentations and journal publications. 

Prerequisites:

  •     Interest in clinical research
  •     Dependable, responsible, and able to work as part of a collaborative team
  •     Detail-oriented and self-motivated
  •     Experience with Microsoft Office
  •     Prefer students in the health sciences professions
  •     Prefer students with interest in pursuing the CHS Undergraduate Research Certificate

Posted: TBA





 

Past Research Projects - CLOSED


 


Title of Opportunity: Muscle Adaptations After Massage (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Esther Dupont-Versteegden

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: TBA

Description:  Our laboratory is studying the effect of massage on muscle function and their biological/cellular effects. We use both animals (rats) and humans to test how muscle tissue changes in response to massage as an intervention and as a therapy. We are currently looking at the anabolic effects of massage, but we are also interested in studying the changes in the inflammatory response environment and the changes to the extracellular matrix of the tissue.

Students will participate in the analysis of muscle tissue collected from rats and humans after atrophy and following massage. The student will learn about:the research process in basic science, techniques related to analyzing muscle tissue, muscle biology, and the impact that therapeutic interventions have on the biology of muscle tissues

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.5
  • Very detail-oriented, organized and reliable
  • Some experience and background in cell biology
  • Have an interest in working in a basic science lab
  • Ability and time to attend lab meetings on Friday afternoons

Re-posted: TBA



Title of Opportunity: Analyzing muscle changes in female rats following massage  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Esther Dupont-Versteegden, PhD

Graduate Mentor: Alex Sklivas

Department: Rehab Sciences Doctoral Program

Position Type: Undergraduate academic credit

Position Availability: TBA

Description:  Due to the aging population, there is a growing need for discovering different therapeutic methods that may be able to recover some of the lost muscle function and mass following an injury that may leave an individual sedentary. The loss of muscle function due to a lack of use is called disuse atrophy and, in our lab, this is studied using elderly animals (rats) to test different functional and structural muscle changes resulting from conditions that mimic disuse in the human. Previous work from our lab has found that muscle massage may have important therapeutic effects on the muscles of old rats following disuse atrophy of their hind limbs. We are currently working on examining and comparing the sex differences (male vs. female) in animals that may be present during muscle recovery using therapeutic massage. 

Our lab is seeking motivated students with an interest in muscle biology and who wish to gain hands-on experience in laboratory skills that are used to study muscle physiology. Students will be assisting in the preparation and analysis of muscle samples taken from treated animals. Students will learn how to cut and collect muscle sections onto slides, how to chemically stain tissue samples for different features of interest, and how to analyze and quantify these findings using software packages. Additionally, this opportunity will familiarize students with how a basic science lab operates, as well as learn how to handle tissue samples, conduct lab tests, and analyze data. 

Prerequisites: 

  • Minimum 3.3 GPA
  • Some knowledge & interest in muscle biology is strongly preferred
  • Some laboratory experience preferred but not required
  • Very detail-oriented, organized, reliable, and careful
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team of lab members

Posted: TBA



Title of Opportunity: Building Skills in Nutrient Analysis  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentor: Jean Fry, PhD, RD

Graduate Student Mentor: Brooke Munson, MA, RD

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: TBA

Description:  Our lab is analyzing dietary data collected in a research study performed by our colleagues. The study investigated how the diabetes drug metformin affects older adults' adaptations to progressive resistance exercise training (PRT). This research found that participants taking metformin do not gain as much skeletal muscle in response to PRT when compared to those taking a placebo. The participants in the study completed 4-day diet records both before and after 14 weeks of PRT. For this current research opportunity, we are interested in taking these participant diet records and discovering whether dietary factors may have affected the participants' response to PRT. We are looking for a student researcher to assist in analyzing these diet records.

Our lab is seeking a motivated student with an interest in nutrition and exercise and who is excited to gain experience in nutrition analyses. By participating in this research, the student can expect to learn how to utilize the gold standard nutrient analysis software, Nutrient Data System for Research (NDSR), and the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) program to calculate the Healthy Eating Index 2015 (HEI-2015) from the NDSR data. Students can also expect to gain knowledge about how older adults in the community typically eat and manage their nutrition. We are looking for a student who is available 6-15 hours/week, working 3+ hours on the days that they are scheduled. Students with an interest in continuing past the Fall semester are preferred.  If the student performs well during their research experience, this opportunity has the potential to transition to a paid position after the initial semester of work.
    
Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA 3.0
  • Prefer students with knowledge of typical portion sizes, commonly eaten foods in the southern US, and general knowledge about how foods are prepared and consumed in a variety of settings.
  • Preference will be given to students who can commit to multiple semesters
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office (especially Excel) a plus
  • Responsible and eager to learn
  • Outstanding attention to detail
  • Self-directed, with the ability to work independently

Posted: TBA



Title of Opportunity: Shoulder Rehabilitation Research Studies  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta (richard.andreatta@uky.edu)

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Tim Uhl

Departments: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: TBA

Description:  Our research group is in search of an undergraduate student interested in pursuing a research opportunity to work on experiments related to rehabilitation. Our group has a number of research projects that are combined together in this opportunity that can offer students the ability to analyze data and contribute to the write-up of manuscripts for publication or the development of conference presentations.

The overall project is called SCALPEL – “Surgeons can avoid lasting pain through exercise literacy.”  This project was designed to examine exercise interventions for surgeons with neck pain. One of the studies in SCALPEL is a weight-bearing and strengthening experiment in which we are investigating different weight-bearing exercises to strengthen the shoulder musculature of surgeons and help mitigate neck pain during procedures in the operating theater. We are looking for students with good verbal skills, strong writing capabilities, and who have some experience in managing data in Excel and statistical programs.
 

Prerequisites:

    Minimum GPA of 3.2
    Availability: In-person preferred but can be performed through Zoom with variable days.
    Major in HHS with interest in PT, AT, or Biomedical Engineering.
    Students must be detail-oriented, very organized, reliable, and responsive to email.
    Students must be willing to take direction and instruction and not be afraid of making mistakes. 
    Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive and collaborative team.


Posted: TBA




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