Residents, fellows, medical students, and faculty mentors from our department had the opportunity to showcase a broad array of research to a diverse audience of nearly 1,000 people at the College of Medicine Research Poster Session on Tuesday, Feb. 25, in the O’Connell Center.
The Department of Anesthesiology sent 36 posters on topics ranging from laboratory research on the neurodevelopmental effects of sevoflurane in rats to the efficacy of various nerve blocks to the safety of pediatric anesthesia operating room safety. The event featured 532 posters.
Many residents complete undergraduate or medical school with the idea of research as an activity confined to a lab on topics that are not aligned with their own interests, said Cameron Smith, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, who was the senior author on four posters.
“Research is not the uncomfortable exercise that a lot of undergraduate education makes it out to be,” he said. “At a pretty basic level, research is nothing more than a structured way of exploring your own curiosity. If you’re coming up with questions that you can’t readily find answers to, why not start to generate some of those answers? You’re probably not the only one asking that question.”
The College of Medicine event provided a valuable forum for the cross-pollination of ideas among departments, Dr. Smith said. That spirit of collaboration was on display in one of his posters, titled “Pterygopalatine Fossa Blockade: A Novel, Narcotic-Sparing Treatment for Headache in Patients with Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage,” which involved colleagues in Neurology and Neurosurgery. The research has resulted in a manuscript under consideration in A&A Practice.
Erica Lobmeyer, a recent UF graduate on a pre-medical path who is currently conducting data work in our department’s research office, presented the poster and is an author on the manuscript. She said working with faculty was an important way to learn not just about research but also about applying to medical school and the profession.
“Everyone is really willing to help and teach,” she said.
Nicole Premo, MD, a CA-1 resident, also worked with Dr. Smith on a case report titled “A Real Pain in the … Head,” which described the use of nerve blocks to treat postpartum headache. Dr. Premo, who is interested in the Acute Pain Service path, worked on the case while on the APS rotation and decided to turn it into an abstract on Dr. Smith’s suggestion.
The poster has also been accepted for the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology conference in Halifax, Canada, in May. Dr. Premo said she was grateful for the opportunity to practice and improve her presentation before then. She praised the department for supporting residents at all levels.
“The department says if you’re going to be presenting and you have research, they have the funds and give you the opportunity to do it,” she said.
For others, the research represented a springboard for future projects. Samantha Arzillo, MD, a Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology fellow, hopes to expand the research she presented on a way to assess cardiac output without invasive monitors, in this case using sodium bicarbonate as an indicator.
She worked with Ilan Keidan, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Edward McGough, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Program Director of the Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Fellowship, and Terrie Vasilopoulos, PhD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, to collect data on 18 patients who received intravenous sodium bicarbonate in the operating room.
The patients were on cardiopulmonary bypass, making them essentially “perfect patients” because any heart or lung disease that might have interfered with test results was eliminated.
The team hopes to get re-approval to conduct additional research on intubated patients in the intensive care unit, Dr. Arzillo said. She said the opportunity to work on a clinical study provided numerous learning opportunities, including on aspects such as the Institutional Review Board approval process.
“We are where we’re at because of all the research people do,” Dr. Arzillo said. “We’ve come a long way and I still think we’ve got a long way to go to keep things up to date and as safe as we can for patients.”