Miller School medical students Jamie E. Clarke and Amber Bulna won first and third-place honors, respectively, for their oral research presentations at this year’s Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Medical Student Research Forum.
Connective Tissue Disease Influence on Chiari I Malformation Perioperative Outcomes
Jamie E. Clarke, M.S., a third-year M.D. candidate, earned first place for her presentation, “Effect of Underlying Connective Tissue Disorders on Pediatric and Adolescent Chiari I Malformation Neurosurgical Patients: A National Inpatient Sample Analysis.” Her project used big data analysis to identify correlations between Chiari I malformation perioperative course complexity and underlying heritable connective tissue disease. Clarke hopes that this data will lay a framework for physicians to adjust care to better suit children’s needs.
“It was so surreal to be presenting the project I have been passionately working on for three years,” Clarke said. “I was very grateful to receive first-place, as it acknowledged that my project is going in the right direction. I deeply hope this work impacts the fields of pediatric neurosurgery and neuroradiology in a strong, positive way.”
Clarke actively performs translational research in pediatric neuroradiology and neurosurgery. The AAP Medical Student Research Forum award will mark the fifth time she has won first place at a research conference while in medical school, with previous wins for her other projects at the Florida Medical Association Annual Research Symposium, the American Physician Scientist Association Virtual Conference, the Eastern-Atlantic Student Research Forum, and the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship.
Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Defined
Amber Bulna, a fourth-year M.D. student, earned third place for her presentation on bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a lung disease that affects premature infants. As the definition used to indicate the presence of BPD and stratify severity has continued to change throughout the years, her goal was to demonstrate how newer definitions affected the incidence of this disease and the classification of babies in her research cohort.
“I was attracted to BPD research because I am not only pursuing a career in pediatrics but also interested in neonatology,” Bulna said. “I want to provide children with the opportunity to have a bright future by being involved in pediatric research and to have an impact on advancements in treatments on how we, as physicians, can provide optimal care to children.”
Bulna plans to continue her research in BPD as she is currently writing a manuscript using data gathered from the project while working in pediatric nephrology research.