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Current Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Please scroll down to see which opportunities are compatible with your major, field of interest, or future career objectives, then contact Dr. Andreatta for an appointment.

Opportunities below are open to all undergraduate majors!  

ALL undergraduate research opportunities are ONLY offered for academic credit during the Spring 2021.  NO volunteer positions are provided.

**UK is currently in Phase 3 of Research Re-opening. Undergrads are allowed to work in-person in research labs during Phase 3, per the discretion of the sponsoring faculty.


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

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

Faculty Mentor: Karen Clancy, PhD

Department: Health and Clinical Sciences

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Spring 2021

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: 1/12/21


Title of Opportunity: Impact of Stuttering on Healthcare Access (OPEN)

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

Faculty Mentor: Anne Olson, PhD (in consultation with Dr. Richard Andreatta)

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit (1 credit worth of effort is needed)

Position Availability: Spring 2021

Description:  Stuttering is known to negatively impact career advancement and social engagement in individuals with this class of fluency disorder. Previous research has demonstrated that persons who stutter (PWS) generally face negative reactions to their ability to communicate and often face negative biases and perceptions from various professionals including teachers and healthcare professionals. We are interested in the potential negative impact that such documented biases may have on the ability of person’s who stutter to obtain fair and appropriate healthcare services from medical professionals. In other words, while we know that negative biases exist, we are uncertain of the impact these biases may have on the welfare and health of PWS. 

Our research project needs student assistance (1 or 2 students) to help us begin identifying critical research studies that can help us develop this idea into a pilot research agenda. Students who participate in this pilot research work will compile relevant background research such as prevalence and demographics of stuttering, overall outcomes from therapy, and health care disparities in other disordered populations that can operate as an example for our potential work. Student help in preparation of this review will be invaluable for developing future information that will help extend this pilot research work.  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. 

This research experience is only offered for 1 credit (3-4 hours per week of worktime). We are looking for at most 2 students to assist with this work. We will be looking for students who have all the perquisites listed below. 

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.5
  • CSD major with strong interest in stuttering and fluency disorders
  • Strong basic writing skills
  • Experience with library databases, writing annotated bibliographies and literature reviews is strongly preferred
  • Experience with Word and Excel, or similar types of software.
  • Very detail-oriented, organized, self-sufficient, and responsive to email

Posted: 1/18/21

 


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: Undergraduate academic credit

Position Availability: Spring 2021

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: 12/14/20


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

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: Spring 2021

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 analyses 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: 12/8/20

 


Title of Opportunity: Biases, stereotypes, and misconceptions about disability in healthcare professions (OPEN)

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

Faculty Mentor: Patrick Kitzman, PhD, PT

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Undergraduate academic credit

Position Availability: Spring and Fall 2021

Description:  This project is focused on developing and evaluating an educational training program for students in healthcare professional programs about biases, stereotypes and misconceptions concerning disabilities that individuals with disabilities perceive from their healthcare providers. Analysis of a current ongoing survey will be used to create (1) a series of  instructional videos focused on “uncomfortable” conversations, and (2) written materials that will be incorporated into an innovative training module. This training module will then be used widely by students in healthcare areas to better appreciate their own personal biases toward those with disabilities. Preliminary work on this project will also be used to develop several grant applications to further our research.

Students will assist with literature reviews of biases and stereotypes regarding disability in healthcare, existing training materials, as well as educational offerings through national organizations such as the Christopher Reeve Paralysis foundation. Students will also assist with developing our educational materials, infographics, and evaluation forms. Students with skills in video editing (Camtasia, iMovie, Quicktime) may also be involved with the development of the initial videos with our community members.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum 3.2 GPA
  • Working knowledge of PowerPoint and Excel. 
  • Knowledge of programs such as Adobe Illustrator or other graphic drawing software would be useful, but not mandatory.
  • Knowledge of research databases such as PubMed and CINAHL for performing literature reviews
  • Detail-oriented, organized, and reliable

Posted:  12/8/20


Title of Opportunity: Studying patient recovery after surviving an ICU stay for COVID-19. (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentor:  Kirby Mayer, PhD, DPT

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type:  Undergraduate academic credit

Position Availability:  Winter 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and Fall 2021

Description: Our critical care research team is seeking one or two individuals to assist with research studying the recovery of patients surviving an ICU admission due to COVID-19.  Students can participate in one of two different activities. First, we need students to transcribe video-taped interviews from survivors of the ICU due to COVID. These are 60-minute interviews conducted by a nurse asking about their experience in the ICU, their recovery, and specifically their experience participating in rehabilitation during and following their illness. The activities for this part of the project can be completed entirely at the student's dorm or home. Secondly, we need assistance extracting data from hospital charts for the main study. COVID survivors will be participating in studies comparing outpatient physical therapy treatment versus physical therapy delivered via telehealth. Through participation in our study, students will have the opportunity to learn about critical illness, recovery, and rehabilitation. This opportunity also includes possible interactions with physicians, pharmacist, nurses, and physical therapists. Given these interactions and their importance, the research team is looking for more senior and academically experienced Pre-Med, Pre-PA, or Pre-PT HHS majors.

Please note: Students will not be interacting directly with COVID patients, but instead will have video recordings or documentation to work with. 

Prerequisites: 

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Pre-Med, Pre-PT, or Pre-PA HHS track is strongly preferred
  • Commitment to at least 2 semesters of research
  • Great communication skills
  • Have taken a medical terminology course preferred
  • Experience or training in Excel or RedCap
  • Must have great organizational skills

Posted: 12/3/20


Title of Opportunity: Promoting the Health of the Equestrian Athlete Initiative (OPEN)

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

Faculty Mentor: Kimberly Tumlin, PhD

Graduate Mentor: Michaela Keener, M.S.

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Undergraduate academic credit

Position Availability: Spring 2020 and beyond

Description:

The Equestrian Athlete Initiative in the UK Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI) is performing groundbreaking research on the 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.

Since this is a new project for our lab group, undergraduate research students will have the opportunity to learn about and use wearable biometric devices including accelerometers and heart rate monitors in different groups of test populations. We will mentor the student on how to complete a biomechanical analysis during a simulated ride, including motion-capture camera set up, marking subjects for limb motion, labeling, and calculating joint angles. 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
  • Familiarity with computer programs such as MATLAB and SPSS are desirable

Posted:  11/4/20


Title of Opportunity: Exploring Neurophysiological and Functional Deficits in Those with Ankle Sprain History (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Dr, Phillip Gribble, PhD, ATC, FNATA

Graduate Mentor: Katherine Bain, PT, DPT, ATC, LAT

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

Description: Our research team is interested in promoting health-related quality of life and lifelong participation in physical activity across the lifespan following musculoskeletal injury. We are specifically studying musculoskeletal, biopsychosocial, and neurophysiological impairments and functional limitations associated with sustaining an ankle sprain. As a member of our research team, the qualified student(s) will work closely with faculty and other lab members to interact with patients who have sustained an acute ankle injury, participate in recruitment and enrollment, and aid in the delivery of effective intervention strategies, both in-person and via telehealth. The student(s) will also be exposed to experimental methods used to better quantify neurophysiological changes following injury, as well as commonly utilized clinical functional tests and patient-reported outcomes measures. Students will have opportunities for presentations at professional meetings and co-authorship on peer-reviewed publications.

Prerequisites: 

  • Minimum GPA of 3.2
  • Interest in sports medicine research
  • Must be comfortable interacting with patients and participants
  • Dependable, responsible, and detail-oriented
  • Self-directed, with the ability to work independently
  • Familiarity with Excel, Word, and library databases is a bonus
  • Preference given to those willing to commit to 2 semesters of lab work

Posted:  11/4/20


Title of Opportunity: The Impact of Workplace Distractions for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Peter Meulenbroek, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Graduate Mentor: DeAnna Pinnow, MA, CCC-SLP

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2020 with potential for Spring 2021

Description:  Managing workplace distractions is a major factor for optimal task completion and successful communication for persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Researchers are interested in studying the lived experiences of persons with TBI and their observations and management of workplace distractions. Our research goals include identification of common themes of workplace or volunteer environments and their associated distractions.  This important work will be the foundation for future research. Current needs include a review of the existing literature and a qualitative study using interview methods. The selected undergraduate research assistant for these projects will work closely with the investigator and aide in reading and synthesizing research articles, and performing qualitative analysis on collected data. The potential experience gained by students participating in this opportunity includes learning to collaborate as part of a team performing science, literature review skills, data transcription skills and methods, and qualitative analysis methods

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Dependable and responsible
  • Ability to work cooperatively with others in an organized fashion
  • Experience using online communication tools
  • Basic familiarity with Microsoft Office
  • Detail-oriented and self-motivated

Posted: 8-21-20


Title of Opportunity: User experience of online treatment for social skills (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Peter Meulenbroek, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Graduate Mentor: n/a

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2020

Description:  The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the awareness that telehealth and online/mobile resources for intervention service delivery are important additions or replacements for in-person therapy. However, user experience of such products and services is essential to understand as treatment providers are asked to increasingly provide more virtual treatment opportunities. The Social Communication and Cognition Lab ran a research study recently looking at the experiences of online and in-person treatments for social skills training before COVID-19. We have video and audio data of the interactions and the user descriptions. This data needs to be transcribed and analyzed and we are looking for undergraduate assistance to help us complete this important research. You will be asked to work with others on managing and organizing data files and other related tasks. The ability to work cooperatively with others in an organized fashion and seek out assistance when necessary are important requisite characteristics we are looking for.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Dependable and responsible
  • Ability to work cooperatively with others in an organized fashion
  • Experience using online communication tools
  • Basic familiarity with Microsoft Office
  • Detail-oriented and self-motivated

Posted: 8-19-20


Title of Opportunity:  Twitter Use and Social Media Content Analysis for Telerehabilitation during the COVID-19 Pandemic (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-CLP

Graduate Mentor: Kristen Weidner, MS, CCC-SLP

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Fall 2020

Description: During the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians, organizations, companies and patients have made rapid shifts from in-person care to telehealth service delivery. These shifts are being captured in real time in social media posts by many of these users as the pandemic proceeds forward in time. This study examines the content and volume of social media posts on tele-rehabilitation during the evolution of COVID-19. We will use previously established methods to examine the social media footprint in tele-rehabilitation and Twitter use during the current pandemic event. Our research goals include identifying barriers and opportunities that telehealth use can have on a wide scale during a pandemic. The study involves qualitative methods characterizing the types and content of Twitter posts as well as descriptive quantitative analysis of tweets (e.g., number of tweets per week). 

Undergraduate research students will be responsible for examining an existing social media data set under the supervision and guidance of the principal investigator. Students will learn how to sort and categorize Twitter posts based on a coding scheme, assist with basic descriptive statistical analysis and/or data visualizations (e.g., making graphs and charts), proofread manuscripts, and meet with the investigator on a regular basis. All tasks at this time are expected to be achievable through remote work. Potential experience gained by students in this opportunity include interdisciplinary collaboration, working on large data sets, social media research techniques, and qualitative analysis techniques.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.2
  • Dependable and responsible
  • Self-directed, with the ability to work independently
  • Basic familiarity with social media platforms i.e., Twitter
  • Very good familiarity with Excel and Word
  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Interested in telehealth and telerehabilitation

Posted: August 6, 2020


Title of Opportunity:  Exploring the Experiences of Rehabilitation Therapists Using Telehealth.  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-CLP

Graduate Student Mentor: Hannah Douglass, MS, CCC-SLP

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability:  Fall 2020 with potential for Spring 2021

Description: The COVID-19 crisis has made telehealth service delivery models a necessity in providing rehabilitation therapies and medical care. Researchers are interested in studying the attitudes and experiences of rehabilitation therapists and related service professionals providing telehealth in the school setting and beyond. Current research projects include a review of the current existing literature and a mixed methods research study incorporating survey methods and interviews.  The selected undergraduate student research assistant for these projects will work closely with the investigator to identify and code “themes” found in the literature review using a software package called nVivo. The assistant will also work on subject recruitment, screening, and survey entry/logic on Redcap (a database program). Other tasks include meetings with the investigator, database searches, reading and synthesizing research articles, and proofreading manuscripts. The students can expect to gain valuable experience in various aspects of qualitative research and develop group management skills working as part of a research team.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.2
  • Dependable and responsible
  • Self-directed, with the ability to work independently
  • Very good familiarity with Excel, Word, and library databases
  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Interested in telehealth and survey-type research
  • Preference given to those willing to commit to 2 semesters of lab work

Posted: July 30, 2020


Title of Opportunity: Mobile Health Technology Research in Rural Kentucky  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Ming-Yuan Chih, PhD

Department: Health and Clinical Sciences

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2020

Description:

Dr. Ming-Yuan Chih’s mHealth research lab is currently 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 opportunities to work on one of two current mHealth projects.

In the first project, the research team is developing, and pilot testing an Apple Watch app to monitor bone marrow transplant patients’ physical activity and collect their patient reported outcomes.
In the second project, the team is collaborating with researchers from several universities, federal agencies and private companies to pilot test a mobile app to enhance symptom reporting and management among cancer patients from the Appalachia region.

Regardless of the study, all 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 and research data management.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 or above
  • Prefer HHS majors, or those with interests in cancer research
  • Students with prior experience with the Appalachian region and/or rural healthcare are preferred,
  • Strong work ethic, a fast learner, and flexible
  • Detail-oriented, organized, and reliable
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team

Re-posted: 7/22/20


Title of Opportunity: Analyzing human tissue in health and disease (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentors: Kate Kosmac

Department or Center: Center for Muscle Biology

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2020

Description: 

In this lab, we are studying muscle adaptation to diseases including osteoarthritis, peripheral artery disease, and sarcopenia. The qualified student will be sectioning muscles tissue, staining muscle tissue and imaging muscle tissue. Opportunities for presentations at professional meetings and co authorship on peer-reviewed publications.

Prerequisites: 

  • 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

Re-posted: 7/22/20


Title of Opportunity: Balance and Postural Control in Adults with Degenerative Neurological Disease (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentors: Geetanjali Gera

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2020

Description: Many adult degenerative neurological diseases manifest with challenges in balance and postural control including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease. In our lab, we are studying issues of balance and postural control in multiple ways. Selected students will assist with motion analyses, balance assessment, and neuroimaging to better understand the impact of neurological disease on function.

Prerequisites: 

  • Minimum GPA 3.4
  • Must be available to work two consecutive semesters (Summer 2019; Fall 2019)
  • Responsible, dependable and excellent attention to detail

Re-posted: 7/22/20


Title of Opportunity: Girls Can…Move!  Testing a physical activity intervention for adolescent girls  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Dee Dlugonski, PhD.

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability:  Fall 2020

Description: Our research study is designed to investigate physical literacy and physical activity among 6th – 8th grade adolescent female participants. We will recruit 30 girls from a local middle school to be randomized into an experimental or control group. The study itself will occur at a local middle school in the Lexington area.

Middle school participants will receive:

  • personalized physical activity assessment using accelerometers
  • exposure to a variety of physical activities
  • and an active female mentor

Pre- and post-testing will include:

  • wearing an activity monitor
  • completing physical literacy and evaluation surveys

Undergraduate students who are selected to participate as research assistants must have their own transportation to the study site and be available to assist with intervention delivery for 1 to 2 days per week from 4 pm – 6 pm each of those days during the entire fall semester. We are especially interested in research assistants who are able and willing to serve as active female role models during the intervention.

Student research assistants involved with this project will help with recruitment, testing sessions, and data entry. Students will learn how to use accelerometers to measure physical activity and will learn to conduct tests of motor competence and evaluation surveys as part of the total assessment. Students will work directly with Dr. Dee Dlugonski (AT Faculty member) or with one of her graduate students during the course of the project.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Detail-oriented, organized, and reliable
  • Willing and able to engage in physical activity sessions with the study participants.
  • Have their own transportation to travel to study site
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team

Re-posted: 7/22/20


Title of Opportunity: Muscle Adaptations After Massage (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Esther Dupont-Versteegden

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2020

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: 7/22/20


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

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentors: Octavio Gonzalez 

Department/College: College of Dentistry

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2020

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: 7/22/20


Title of Opportunity: Increasing Communication Output in the Classroom Setting (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentors: Aimee Sayre

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2020

Description: 

In this project the student will work in a classroom in Jessamine Co. from 4-6 hours per week. The student will support a child with motor and speech deficits to fully participate in his classroom curriculum with his peers. Specific programming, data collection, data analysis and weekly meeting with mentor will be completed. This project can be for either 2 or 3 credits depending on the amount of time the student spends on the project. Time commitment will be one or two mornings per week in a Jessamine County middle school. Travel time is roughly 1/2 hour each way. Time in the classroom will be 2-3 hours per visit.

Prerequisites: 

  • CSD Major - Junior or Senior
  • GPA 3.7 or better
  • Interest in pediatric communication intervention
  • Highly reliable and detail oriented
  • Own transportation

Re-posted: 7/22/20


Title of Opportunity: Acute Care Speech Language Pathology Dysphagia Research - Various Projects  (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Sarah Campbell, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Department: UK HealthCare Speech

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Fall 2020

Description: Exposure to acute care speech-language pathology services can offer a unique insight into complex medical issues and patients. The speech-language pathology (SLP) team at UK HealthCare provide high quality care daily to adult and pediatric patients within our Level I trauma center, certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, and in the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. In addition to our daily patient care, several research initiatives are in progress to collect data on dysphagia (swallowing disorders) in specific patient populations, including patients who are currently requiring high-flow nasal cannula oxygenation and patients who have received single/double lung transplants.

In this position, 2 selected undergraduate research students will assist the SLP team in completion of critical appraisals of existing research literature on very specific clinical questions. In addition, the student will assist in data mining from the medical charts of the aforementioned patient populations. Other projects will be included for participation by the student as they come online. The student will work closely with the department supervisor (faculty mentor) and various SLPs on this project to learn the methods and processes involved in the required research activities.  

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.5
  • Interest in acute care speech language pathology
  • Interest in dysphagia and other medical speech pathology areas
  • Detail-oriented, organized, and reliable
  • Friendly and able to work as part of an interactive team

Re-posted: 7/24/20




Title of Opportunity: Return to competition over the first year of recovery following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentors: Brian Noehren

Graduate Student Mentor: Chelsey Roe

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Spring 2020

Description

We are focused on understanding the factors that contribute to an individual's ability to return to competition over the first year of recovery following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. We use a variety of methods to assess individuals such as strength measurements and functional testing. Students working with us will gain an understanding of anatomy and common clinical testing techniques with young active individuals. Students will be able to assist in data collections and interact with patients, athletic trainers, and other health care providers. We are looking for motivated students who have good attention to detail, strong work ethic, are interested in a career in the medical field, and enjoy working in a team environment.

Prerequisites

Minimum GPA 3.2
Must be willing to work multiple semesters
Must be available Monday morning, Monday afternoon, and/or Wednesday mornings
Must have own transportation
Preference will be given to students with interest in human movement science

Re-posted: 10-17-19


Title of Opportunity: Knee and hip injury biomechanics (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Brian Noehren

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Spring 2020

Description

We are focused on understanding the underlying mechanisms in several common injuries that occur in the lower extremity. We use a variety of methods to answer our questions such as 3D motion capture, strength assessment and clinical measurements. We also use and develop 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 collections 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 students who have a good attention to detail, strong work ethic, are interested in a future career in a medical field and enjoy working in a team environment.

Prerequisites

Must be current sophomore or junior
Must commit minimum of 8 hours per week (fall/spring) on the project
Must commit to multiple semester
Minimum GPA 3.5 GPA
Preference given to pre-PT students

Re-Posted: 10-17-19


Title of Opportunity: The Impact of Dosing Parameters on Motor Skill Acquisition and Retention in Bilateral Cerebral Palsy (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentors: Susan Effgen, PT, PhD and Julia Smarr OTR/L, M.Ed.

Department: Shriner’s Hospital for Children, in collaboration with the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences.  

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Spring 2020 and Summer 2020

Description: Volunteer research assistants are needed for a study involving children with cerebral palsy.  As a volunteer research interventionist, you will work/play one-on-one (with supervision) with a child with cerebral palsy aged 6-17 years in a camp-like setting. You will use motor-learning methods to engage them in fun, play-based activities to provide intensive functional goal-directed behavioral training. This is a national, multi-site, funded study designed to determine if an intense (6 hours per day) motor learning intervention with children with bilateral cerebral palsy improves their function and participation, compared to a more traditional therapy approach. The camps will be 1 time per week for 15 weeks (Saturdays), or 6 hours per day for 3 weeks (Monday through Friday). Volunteers should be able to commit to all 15 days of camp (~120 hours. The camps will take place on campus at the Child Development Lab School. Physical therapy and occupational therapy will be involved in this study. All accepted students into this research experience must complete the Shriners Hospital for Children Volunteer requirements for service which include a drug test, background check, and the submission of 2 letters of reference. You will be trained to enter behavioral data and will also complete online training in human subject protection (CITI) and healthcare privacy (HIPAA).

We are recruiting 10 volunteers per camp on these dates:

  • Camp 1 - Saturday Session 1:   10/05/2020  to  1/25/2020
  • Camp 2 - Saturday Session 2:   2/01/2020  to  5/16/2020

These sessions run on Saturdays only 8:30-4:30

  • Camp 3 - Summer Session 1:   6/07/2020  to  6/27/2020
  • Camp 4 - Summer Session 2:   7/5/2020  to  7/25/2020
  • Summer Sessions run 3 weeks, Monday through Friday 8:30-4:30

Prerequisites:

  • Experience working with children ages 6 to 17
  • Experience working with special needs children is preferred, but not needed
  • Enthusiastic, with an ability to engage children in various activities
  • Dependable and very responsible
  • Self-directed, with the ability to work independently
  • Strong organizational skills and good ability to multi-task
  • Receptive to feedback and a team-oriented player

Posted: 8/29/19


Title of Opportunity: Normative Values for the Yale Swallow Protocol (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentors: Debra Suiter

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Fall 2019

Description

Our lab is collecting data on how long and how many swallows it takes for individuals to swallow 3-ounces of water. The 3-ounce water swallow test is part of a screening protocol (The Yale Swallow Protocol) to identify individuals at risk for aspiration (food or liquid going into the lungs when swallowing). Individuals are given 3-ounces of water to drink and asked to drink all of it without stopping. If they cough after drinking, or if they cannot drink all 3-ounces without stopping, they are considered to be at risk for aspiration and may require further testing. We want to know if there is any predictive value in the numbers of swallows and time it takes to swallow 3-ounces (i.e. does it tell us anything more about swallowing behavior) for identifying patients potentially at risk for aspiration. We will be recruiting 60 individuals with normal swallow function between the ages 18-95. They will complete the 3-ounce water swallow test while they have small electrodes placed on their neck to record activity from several muscles involved in the act of swallowing. As a student involved in this research, you will learn how to use surface electrodes and the basics of electromyography (an important clinical method to measure and assess muscle activity in humans) and learn more about normal swallow function and its importance for the health and welfare of individuals across the adult lifespan.

Prerequisites

  • Prefer CSD majors
  • Min. 3.0 GPA
  • Occasional after-hours activities (after 5 pm)
  • Detail oriented
  • Excellent organizational skills

Posted: 8/14/19


Title of Opportunity: Investigating High BMI and Co-Morbidity in Pediatrics (FULL)

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentors: Aurelia Radulescu

Affiliation: Department of Pediatrics- Kentucky Clinic

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Summer 2019, Fall 2019 

Description

Obesity in children is associated with multiple co-morbidities and places them at risk of developing serious conditions in adulthood like cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Fatty Liver, Cancer. Our role at the pediatric BMI clinic is to evaluate these kids for potential comorbid conditions and treat them when diagnosed. We do this through comprehensive physical exam, laboratory screening, nutritional counseling, and multiple visits per year to properly monitor these patients. We also work closely with other pediatric specialties at UK to assist in treating the co-morbidities associated with obesity. Our BMI team (physician, two physician assistants, dietician, and CST) has recently joined in a research registry with 30+ sites nationwide to evaluate the data surrounding this patient population. This study seeks to capture anthropometric measurements, laboratory results, diagnoses, and medications. Selected students will be responsible for consenting patients to participate in this registry. Along with this, he/she will spend time each week assisting with data entry into an online software program used in this multi-site trial. This data entry consists of demographic information, clinical laboratory results, medications, diagnoses, etc. This is a great opportunity for a student looking to gain clinical experience and be involved in research. Students may have the opportunity to prepare and present a poster at a local or regional conference.

Prerequisites

  • Minimum GPA 3.2 and sophomore status
  • Preference given to students who can commit multiple semesters
  • Available M/W afternoon; TR morning/afternoon; PIs will accommodate any combination of these options
  • Preference to Pre-Med/Pre-PA students or students with interest in medicine or nutrition
  • Organized, attention to detail, good communication skills; team player 

Posted: 03/27/19


 

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