Current Undergraduate Research Opportunities

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

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

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

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



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

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 2022 and Spring 2023

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. Students interested in this research project must be available Wednesdays from 8:45 am to 9:45 am for planned meetings.

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:  11/28/22



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Christen Page, PhD, CCC-SLP

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: Spring 2023

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

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

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

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

Prerequisites:

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

*Posted: 11/7/22



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Christen Page, PhD, CCC-SLP

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: Spring 2023

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

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

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

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

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

Prerequisites: 

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

*Posted: 11/7/22



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

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

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

Department: Health and Clinical Sciences

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2022 through Fall 2023

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

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

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

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

Prerequisites:

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

Posted: 9-28-22



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Ming-Yuan Chih, PhD

Department: Health and Clinical Sciences

Associated Center: Markey Cancer Center

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, and Spring 2024

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

Prerequisites:

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

Posted: 9-27-22



Title of Opportunity: Evaluation 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 only

Position Availability: Fall 2022

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. Computer-enhanced assessments also can increase clinical utility by automating scoring and providing immediate data for reports. We are testing the repeated use of different versions of an assessment of social communication (pragmatic) language skills in persons with traumatic brain injury. The lab is looking for one student to assist in various research tasks associated with this project. In addition, we are in need of someone who will be able to participate in an online brain injury support group and assist with social media posts for the Social Communication and Cognitive Abilities Lab.

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: 8/30/22



Title of Opportunity: Shoulder Rehabilitation Research Studies  (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Tim Uhl

Departments: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: Fall 2022

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

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

Prerequisites:

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


*Posted: 9-9-22



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

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

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

Departments: Communication Sciences & Disorders and Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit for Fall and Spring. Volunteering activities are possible for Summer 2022. 

Position Availability: Fall 2022 and Spring 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prerequisites: 

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

*Posted: 4-29-22



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

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

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

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2022

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. 

NOTE: Our lab is currently looking for 1 student to join our group.

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: 8-30-22



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Brian Noehren

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic Credit

Position Availability: Fall 2022 and Spring 2023

Description: 

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

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

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

Prerequisites: 

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

*Posted: 8-26-22



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Keiko Ishikawa 

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Position Type: Academic credit 

Position Availability: Fall 2022 and Spring 2023

Description: The Voice and Speech Rehabilitation Research Lab (VSRR) is in search of highly motivated undergraduate students who wish to participate and be a part of an exciting new opportunity in voice and voice therapy. The VSRR lab is looking for research assistants who are CSD students and who have a strong interest in voice production. The VSRR Lab will study how real-world environments can affect a person’s ability to maintain learned voice and speech therapy techniques to ensure positive treatment outcomes.  Since this is a new lab, the first group of students selected to participate will be specifically helping Dr. Ishikawa develop her new lab at UK, so flexibility and an interest in helping to set up the new lab are required. In general, students are needed to help in the following VSRR lab activities:

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

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

Prerequisites:

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

*Posted: 3/26/22



Title of Opportunity: Telehealth Evaluation: Does Screen Size Matter? (FULL)

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 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 were 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:

Conduct a comprehensive review of the literature on speech-language evaluations conducted via telehealth. 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. Develop a protocol for investigating the effects of screen size (phone vs table vs monitor) on the efficacy of testing. 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 is given to those willing to commit to 2 semesters of lab work

*Posted: 8/24/21



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: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2022 and possible Spring 2023

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: 8/1/22



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Jami Warren, PhD   

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

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2022

Description:  

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is an invisible chronic illness that affects between 500,000 and 3,000,000 people in the United States annually. Individuals with POTS often experience delays to diagnosis as well as misdiagnosis because symptoms often overlap with other conditions. Recently, POTS has gained press coverage because symptoms of POTS are being noted among patients who have had COVID-19.

In our recent research with POTS patients, mobile and connected health technology (e.g., smartphones wearable sensors) were mentioned as a potential way to help patients decrease their time to diagnosis by providing them with a means to record objective data to give to their physicians. Mobile Health (mHealth)—the use of mobile information and communication technology in improving health--can provide key health information to physicians throughout a patient’s diagnostic journey.

The current project will be conducting focus group interviews with approximately 25 POTS patients who have already been diagnosed with POTS to determine the ideal mHealth app and system features that would work best for their needs. Students selected to participate in this research project will gain experience conducting focus group interviews, transcribing and analyzing qualitative data, working as part of a research team, and potentially gaining valuable publication and presentation experience as well.
 

Prerequisites:

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

*Posted: 7-26-22



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 2022

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: 4-27-22



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 2022 and Spring 2023

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: 3/22/22



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Oelisoa Mireille Andriankaja

College/Department: College of Dentistry

Position Type: Academic credit only

Position Availability:  Fall 2022 and Spring 2023

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

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

Prerequisites:

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

*Posted: 3/24/22



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Octavio Gonzalez 

Department/College: College of Dentistry

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2022

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

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Danielle Torp (Postdoctoral Scholar)

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2022 and Spring 2023

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

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

Prerequisites:

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

*Posted: 3/7/22



Title of Opportunity: Muscle Adaptations After Massage (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Esther Dupont-Versteegden

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit ONLY

Position Availability: Fall 2022

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  (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentor: Esther Dupont-Versteegden, PhD

Graduate Mentor: Alex Sklivas

Department: Rehab Sciences Doctoral Program

Position Type: Undergraduate academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2022

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

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

Prerequisites: 

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

*Posted: 8/27/21



Title of Opportunity: Study and Develop Mobile Health Technologies to Improve the Healthcare of Families with Loved Ones in the ICU (FULL)

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anthony Faiola

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

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2022

Description:  There is increasing research that supports the notion that family-centered care improves patient outcomes in critical care (ICU) settings. The National Academy of Medicine and the Society of Critical Care Medicine advocate for greater focus on communication, coordination and shared decision-making between patients, families, and care teams. Although there is early evidence that families of ICU patients are recognized as potential partners in healthcare delivery, research suggests that they are increasingly placed at risk for experiencing mental trauma, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and disruptions to family relationships. One study found that 54% of families had poor comprehension of the patient’s diagnosis and treatment and other studies have demonstrated the relationship between the fear of the unknown and emotional trauma. We propose that mobile health (mHealth) technologies have the capability to improve communication and coordination, while facilitating shared decision making between families and clinicians.  

For this project, we are seeking motivated students with an interest in the development of a family-centered mobile health technology (mHealth) service, referred to as FAMiCARE, which is currently under study. The service is intended to support families with easy access to real-time patient health information updates (from the bedside), as well as communication tools that connect bedside clinicians, social workers, and mental health practitioners with families. Our intent is that the mental health outcomes of family members will improve after using this service.

Students will learn how to coordinate themselves within a research team to perform a range of duties. Students will learn and assist in the pilot testing of our FAMiCARE mHealth service in the pulmonary ICU or other healthcare facilities. This will include the collection of data that can validate the use of this new mHealth technology. Students will also learn what is and how to apply ethnographic observation and interviews in clinical and non-clinical settings. Students may also be involved with collecting, sorting, and reviewing background literature reviews for research papers submitted for publication.

Prerequisites: 

  • Must be a junior or senior undergraduate student.
  • Must have an interest in learning human subject’s research methods: study design, collecting data, and writing papers, etc.
  • Must have basic Microsoft Office Suite skills (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).
  • Must have an interest in how mobile health technology can improve health outcomes.
  • Should have an interest in one of these healthcare areas: critical care (ICU), mental health, cancer, and/or health disparities/equity.
  • Should be willing to work on campus and remotely.
  • Should have the ability to create and maintain collegial working relationships with others; and the ability to work independently, with a high level of motivation.
  • Preferred computer graphic skills include using Photoshop (or other Adobe products) or basic smartphone graphic skills.

*Posted: 11/29/21



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kirby Mayer

Graduate Student Mentor name (If applicable): Lindsey Jubina

Department: Physical Therapy

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: February 2022 through Fall semester of 2022 with possible extension in 2023

Description:  The ICU Recovery Clinic at the University of Kentucky Clinic provides care to ICU survivors through an interdisciplinary approach. Students entering any health profession will encounter patients with complex needs and who are ICU and COVID-19 survivors. Our research will allow the undergraduate students to better understand recovery and trajectory of care after hospital discharge. We are creating a large data base of all the patients we serve in the clinic for current and future research initiatives.  

Participating students will have the opportunity to understand and help with the process of retrospective studies, data analysis, and manuscript creation. We are looking for undergraduate students to assist with data organization and extraction through our electronic medical record system called EPIC. The time requirement for each student will be 3-5 hours per week minimum. We are looking for 1-2 undergraduate students to assist with our research initiatives and become an integral part of our research team.

Prerequisites:

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

*Posted:  3/2/22



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 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: 1/17/22



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

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nick Heebner

Graduate Student Mentors: Mr. Jake Jelmini and Ms. Jen Tinsley

Department: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition

Position Type: Academic credit

Position Availability: Fall 2022

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

Prerequisites:

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

*Posted: 1/5/22



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 performance 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: Online Support Group Leader for Persons with Brain Injury (FULL)

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 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: 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 2022

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

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

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 2022

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