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Current Undergraduate Research Opportunities

For a step-by-step guide on how to get involved in CHS Undergraduate Research, click on the link called, "How Students Get Involved"

  • 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 UK undergraduate majors, not just those in CHS!  



Title of Opportunity: Online Support Group Leader for Persons with Brain Injury (OPEN)

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

Faculty Mentor: Peter Meulenbroek, PhD

Graduate Student Mentor: DeAnna Pinnow, MS, CCC-SLP

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

Description: Persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the community often encounter difficulties with socializing, getting employment, returning to school, and other standard aspects of participating in life. There are support groups available in many communities that enable persons with TBI to share their experiences and find support and advice in others. There is an online support group that has made a professional relationship with Dr. Meulenbroek’s Social Communication and Cognitive Abilities (SCCA) Lab.  The SCAA Lab is seeking one to two undergraduates to help run an online support group twice a month. The times are according to your availability, so long as the support group is run in the evening. Students must be able to commit to these dates and times of the support group. Students will learn to collaborate professionally with other undergraduates and to communicate professionally with a clinical population with TBI. In addition, they will learn how to develop goal writing skills for support group participants. Students will engage in readings on goal writing and coaching persons with TBI. Preference is given to students who are sophomores or juniors with the hopes that they will continue with the program over multiple semesters. However, exceptional seniors will be considered as well. 

Prerequisites:
    •   Minimum GPA of 3.0
    •   Dependable and responsible
    •   Willingness to complete reading tasks and engage in cooperative seminar class like discussion. 
    •   Must be able to take corrective feedback professionally.
    •   Ability to work cooperatively with others in an organized fashion
    
Posted: 9/28/21


Title of Opportunity:  Tele-evaluation: Does Screen Size Matter.  (HOLD)

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

Faculty Mentor: Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-CLP

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

Description: Many speech-language pathologists rapidly adopted telehealth to ensure continued access to care in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proper diagnosis of a communication disorder is the first step in the clinical care continuum. Much of the research supporting telehealth evaluations was conducted in controlled clinical environments. Little is known about the feasibility and validity of evaluations conducted in natural environments using patient available technology. The goal of this research line is to investigate tele-evaluations conducted within the context of the natural environment. Students interested in this project will assist with one or more of the following activities:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive review of the literature on speech-language evaluations conducted via telehealth.
  2. Assist with the development and dissemination of a survey to understand barriers and facilitators to pediatric tele-evaluations such as personnel roles and responsibilities, technology access, environmental variables etc.
  3. Develop a protocol for investigating the effects of screen size (phone vs table vs monitor) on the efficacy of testing.
  4. Identify valid tools for assessing patient satisfaction, adoption and use of telehealth.

Participating students will learn more about the rapidly evolving field of telehealth and will gain experience with this modality which will strengthen their success in graduate school clinical rotations. 

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: 8/24/21



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-CLP

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

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 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: 7/267/21



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

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

Faculty Mentors: Geetanjali Gera, PhD

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2021 and likely Spring 2022

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 subject recruitment, and be involved with motion analyses, balance assessment, and testing using neuroimaging methods to better understand the impact of neurological disease on postural control function.

Prerequisites: 

  • Minimum GPA 3.2
  • Interested in balance and neurological disease conditions
  • Must be available to work at least 10 hrs. per week on project
  • Responsible and very dependable
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Strong communication skills needed to help recruit subjects for study

Re-posted: 8/5/21



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: Fall 2021

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 performances 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: 7/29/21



Title of Opportunity: Muscle Adaptations After Massage (OPEN)

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

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Esther Dupont-Versteegden

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2021

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: 8/27/21



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: Fall 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: 8/27/21



Title of Opportunity: Reading Disorders after Brain Injury (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentors: Peter Meulenbroek, PhD.

Graduate Mentor: DeAnna Pinnow

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: Fall 2021

Description:  Persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often complain of difficulties with reading. Speech-language pathologists working with this population often hear the comment, "I can read, I just can't read-read." Making heads or tails out of such a problem has been difficult for researchers hoping to understand the problem of reading after TBI. We wish to recruit undergraduate students to assist with developing a study investigating reading ability after TBI. Collaboration with neuro-ophthalmology and dyslexia researchers will be a component of this project as well as developing skills for programming and running an eye tracking device. Operating the eye tracking device will be the primary responsibility of the student selected for this research opportunity. Students will learn to collaborate professionally with other undergraduates and to communicate professionally with clinicians and faculty from other departments. Students will also learn about behavioral testing methods and the characteristics of patients with TBI.

Prerequisites: 

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Dependable and responsible
  • Willingness to learn programming skills for the eye tracking software is a "must". 
  • Must be familiar with computers. Some programming skills are preferred.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with others in an organized fashion
  • Detail-oriented and self-motivated

Posted: 8/6/21



Title of Opportunity: Test-Retest validity and reliability of an online assessment for social skills (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentor: Peter Meulenbroek, PhD.

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: Fall 2021

Description:  Managing workplace social skills is a major factor for successful communication for persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Our lab has developed measures for social skills in persons with TBI and based on their success we have created multiple versions of this measure. The purpose of this project is to see how successfully we were with creating these newer versions by comparing them with the original version. These are online tests of social skills and students will be learning how to administer measures and interact with persons with TBI when deemed safe to do so according to the climate of COVID concerns. Students will be introduced to local support groups and local treatment service centers for persons with TBI. Professionalism and the ability to work with others both in person, virtually, and using email is a must.  Sophomores and Junior level students preferred

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: 8/4/21



Title of Opportunity: Teleheath Readiness in Older Adults (FULL)

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

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 2021

Description: Telehealth entered mainstream, widespread use during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic and historically, telehealth has been a beneficial way to increase access to care for older adults (i.e., individuals over age 65). Older adults, however, are often less likely to use telehealth. We want to know how and why older adults decide whether or not to use telehealth, and whether we can measure their readiness for telehealth. This knowledge could help care professionals make decisions about which older adults are appropriate for telehealth, who may need more training, or who may require in-person care. We might also learn more about whether certain groups of older adults have different perceptions about telehealth.  This study examines older adults’ perceptions about telehealth through a survey and follow-up telephone interviews. The survey is based on a framework from the literature and will provide a ‘score’ suggesting whether or not the respondent is ready for telehealth. Our research goals include examining the strength of the survey measure both statistically and through interviews with survey respondents. Undergraduate research students will be responsible for assembling survey materials, entering data from returned surveys, scheduling interview participants by telephone, and transcribing interview recordings. Students will learn how to manage quantitative and qualitative data and engage in supported interactions with research participants. The student will meet with the primary investigator regularly. This position is expected to require both remote and in-person, on-campus tasks.Potential experience gained in this opportunity includes interdisciplinary collaboration and skills in mixed-methods research procedures. This person is ideal for students interested in working with older adult populations.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.2
  • Dependable and responsible
  • Self-directed, with the ability to work independently
  • Very good familiarity with Excel and Word
  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Interested in telehealth and tele-rehabilitation

Posted: 7/26/21



Title of Opportunity: The role of extracellular vesicles released from muscle after exercise (OPEN)

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Yuan Wen (Post-doctoral Fellow) and Dr. Charlotte Peterson

Department or Center: Physical Therapy and Center for Muscle Biology

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2021, Spring 2022

Description: Cells of the body have a variety of chemical communication systems that allow them to pass important regulatory signals between each other. These signaling systems are crucial for maintaining healthy metabolic activity within an animal, including humans. The mechanism that our lab is studying is the use of extracellular vesicles (EVs), small, encapsulated storage structures that are released by virtually all cell types and that have the capacity to serve as delivery vehicles for a wide range of molecules, such as RNA, proteins, and lipids. We are especially interested in EV’s released by muscle tissues and the recognition mechanisms that allow EVs to interact with other cell types. For example, in response to mechanical loads like stretch, strain, and contraction, muscle tissues release EVs that are then delivered to adipose (fatty) tissue. The contents of the released EV’s are believed to enhance and stimulate lipolysis (degrading and breakdown of fat). Our lab is trying to understand how this specific communication mechanism works, including what are all the molecules that are loaded into these extracellular vesicles, how they regulate adipose cells, and how they are specifically delivered from muscle to adipose. The relationship between muscle and fatty tissue is of key concern for exercise and muscle physiologists because it may help us understand how different forms of exercise alter the composition and metabolic profile of our tissues. 

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. 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. Students have the opportunity to earn, upon successful completion of this project, co-authorship on the resulting manuscript and on any conference presentations/posters that use the data collected and analyzed.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Enthusiastic, reliable, responsible
  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Prefer a biology-based major (biochemistry, chemistry, human health science, etc.)
  • Prefer experience using basic lab equipment
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word
  • Some knowledge of Microsoft Excel is useful
  • Preference given to students who can commit to multiple/consecutive semesters

Posted: 7-26-21



Title of Opportunity: Examining the cross talk between skeletal muscle and the brain following exercise training. (OPEN)

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

Faculty Mentor: Cory M. Dungan, PhD

Department or Center: Department of Physical Therapy and the UK Center for Muscle Biology

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability:  2 positions needed for Fall 21 and Spring 22

Description: This project is investigating how the beneficial effects of exercise are communicated from skeletal muscle and the brain. Specifically, we are examining the release of extracellular vesicles by muscle as a means of communication to the brain via the cerebral spinal fluid. By the completion of this project, a student can expect to have learned how to section frozen muscle and brain tissue, principles and procedures for immunohistochemistry, light and fluorescent microscopy, and practice with the use of image analysis software. We are looking for someone to be in the lab 10-15 hours/week, working 3+ hours on any given day. There is no formal dress code, however, shorts, skirts, and open-toed shoes are not allowed. Students have the opportunity to earn, upon successful completion of this project, co-authorship on the resulting manuscript and on any conference presentations/posters that use the data collected and analyzed.

Prerequisites:

  • 3.0 GPA
  • Strong work ethic
  • The ability and willingness to learn new skills
  • Prefer a biology-based major (biochemistry, chemistry, human health science, etc.)
  • Prefer experience using basic lab equipment
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word
  • Some knowledge of Microsoft Excel is useful

Posted: 7/26/21



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

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: Fall 2021

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:  3/17/21



Title of Opportunity: Research Opportunity Studying Health Behaviors in Child Care (OPEN)

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Courtney Luecking and Dr. Dee Dlugonski 

Department/College: Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and SMRI

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2021

Description:  This purpose of this project is to conduct baseline data collection for an evaluation of a new regulation being implemented in child care settings. The students selected to participate in this research opportunity will be involved in a mixture of virtual and in-person training sessions as well as travel to childcare centers across the state of Kentucky. Trips to centers across the state will be scheduled according to individual schedules, but will likely require a full day during the week to complete. Day to day tasks include recruitment and observation in classrooms in childcare centers, measuring height and weight of children ages 2-4, and updating project information in our database. Students can expect to learn about team-based research and research involving young children. Students should have their own mode of transportation for travel to statewide childcare centers. 

Prerequisites:

  • GPA 3.0 or better
  • Detail-oriented
  • Strong communication skills
  • Interests in educational policy, nutrition, and physical activity benefits
  • Must have reliable phone, internet access, and mode of transportation

Posted: 6/1/21



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 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: 8-2-21



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 2021

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: 8-2-21



Title of Opportunity: “All About Communication” Research Lab Projects.  (FULL)

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

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

Graduate Mentors: Katie Slone & Annaliese Norris

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit only

Position Availability: Fall 2021

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: 1/28/21



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Octavio Gonzalez 

Department/College: College of Dentistry

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Possible Fall 2021

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: 5/10/21



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

Contact: Dr. Richard Andreatta

Faculty Mentor: Dee Dlugonski, PhD.

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Spring 2022

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: 8/2/21





Currently inactive projects



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: Fall 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  (CLOSED)

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. 

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: Literature review of current best practices in synchronous teletherapy. (CLOSED)

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

Faculty: Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-SLP

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2021

Description:  The recent global pandemic has highlighted the need and benefit for speech-language teletherapy services.  With many therapy sessions being offered virtually in the school and clinical setting due to COVID-19, best practices need to be applied and integrated more than ever. Not only does teletherapy require evidence-based therapeutic practices but also best synchronous and multimedia practices, principles, and procedures foreign to most practicing clinicians. Our research group is seeking student research volunteers to help us further our research work in applying computer mediated learning practices to telehealth pediatric speech-language practices. 

As a student researcher you will help to prepare a comprehensive literature review on emerging trends and practices in teletherapy when providing vocabulary instruction for children with language impairments. You will additionally conduct a systematic rating of publications selected for inclusion in a larger study investigating the current state of multimedia vocabulary instruction.  Your assistance will be invaluable for developing publications and grants that will help further extend the research work performed by our group.  The 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, learn how to produce a literature review, and deepen their knowledge in the teletherapy realm. 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
  • Strong motivation and curiosity to learn more about teletherapy
  • Open to constructive feedback 
  • Very detail-oriented, organized, reliable, and diligent

Posted: 1/23/21


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

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: Exploring Neurophysiological and Functional Deficits in Those with Ankle Sprain History (CLOSED)

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: Assessing and Preventing Functional Deficits and Early Markers Osteoarthritis in those with a History of Ankle Sprain (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentor: Kyle Kosik, PhD

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: 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 the biopsychosocial, neurophysiological, and functional impairments that develop after an ankle sprain and contribute to osteoarthritis. 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. 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: 8/4/21


Title of Opportunity: Skeletal muscle inflammation and pathology following SARS-CoV-2 infection, and its association with functional outcomes (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentor: Kate Kosmac, PhD

Department or Center: Physical Therapy and UK Center for Muscle Biology

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2021

Description: The global emergence of SARS-CoV-2 (aka, COVID-19) has resulted in a record number of hospitalizations. Although effective vaccines have been developed, SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely to be eradicated, partly due to asymptomatic transmission. Instead, SARS-CoV-2 is predicted to become endemic and infections will continue to occur. Fatigue is commonly reported in patients testing positive for COVID-19 and can persist for up to 10 weeks following the appearance symptoms. Several case studies have reported the presence of inflammatory markers within skeletal muscles from individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 and have indicated muscle damage subsequent to infection. These findings suggest infection with SARS-CoV-2 results in skeletal muscle damage which may persist, impacting muscle function and patient mobility long after recovery from the acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

Our lab is in need of enthusiastic undergraduate research students to help us conduct analyses of inflammation and pathology in skeletal muscle from patients with or without COVID-19. Our goal is to characterize inflammatory cell populations and muscle pathology and explore associations of these features with patient function. Students who are selected for our lab can expect to learn about basic histological methods and techniques for processing and analyzing muscle tissues. Specifically, students may 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. This opportunity will familiarize students with how a basic science lab operates and will provide them with hands-on experience with conducting lab tests, and analyzing human tissue and data. Students may also have the opportunity to earn co-authorship on conference presentations/posters that use the data collected and analyzed.

Prerequisites: 

Minimum GPA of 3.0
Able to commit at least 10 hours/week
Detail-oriented and organized, reliable, responsible
Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
Preference given to students who can commit to Fall and Spring semesters

Posted: 8/4/21


Title of Opportunity: Investigating skeletal muscle responses to metformin in subjects with peripheral artery disease (PAD) (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentor: Kate Kosmac

Department or Center: UK Center for Muscle Biology

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2021

Description:  Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common result of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) characterized by reduced blood flow to the lower limbs. In those afflicted with PAD, return of blood to muscle tissue of the lower limbs after blood flow restriction results in muscle damage and mobility decline. The health impact of PAD cannot be overstated as individuals with PAD are at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. The global burden of PAD is rising, affecting over 200 million people worldwide. Our preliminary studies, using the gastrocnemius muscle of the calf, have shown several muscle features that are highly variable among PAD subjects. These observations suggest that basic muscle characteristics may underlie individual variations in response to therapy. 

Our lab is in need of undergraduate research students to help us conduct several analyses that will characterize lower limb muscle tissue from biopsies in patients with PAD before and after 6 months of daily treatment with metformin, an inexpensive and widely used drug commonly prescribed for Type 2 diabetes. Our goal is to identify muscle features common to PAD subjects who functionally improve versus those who do not, in an effort to identify mechanisms underlying the highly variable response to therapy with PAD. Students who are selected for our lab can expect to learn about basic histological methods and techniques for processing and analyzing muscle tissues. Specifically, students may 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. This opportunity will familiarize students with how a basic science lab operates and will provide them with hands-on experience with conducting lab tests, and analyzing human tissue and data. Students may also have the opportunity to earn co-authorship on conference presentations/posters that use the data collected and analyzed.

Prerequisites: 

Minimum GPA of 3.0
Detail-oriented and organized, reliable, responsible
Prefer experience using basic lab equipment
Proficient in Microsoft Office (predominantly Word and Excel)
Knowledge using Adobe Illustrator a plus
Preference given to students who can commit to multiple/consecutive semesters

Posted: 8/2/21