USF Health Research Day is today

Today USF Health celebrates the search.

The quest for an answer, the solution to the puzzle…the cure.

Join us today as we talk with the students sharing their findings at USF Health Research Day. We’ll be telling their stories throughout the day.


          Not all the presentations Friday belonged to students. Laura Barnes, PhD, an assistant professor with the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, stood by her poster Friday: a project on decision support for terminally ill patients, helping them decide when to go to hospice and when to continue treatment.

          “We get our names out there,” Dr. Barnes said. “We can establish collaborations that we maybe wouldn’t get otherwise.”


     Phil Marty, PhD, associate vice president for research, noted that this year’s event is the largest USF Health Research Day ever, with more than 260 poster presentations.

        “I think what that says is that the attention that’s being given to research is being enhanced by chairs, administrators and faculty,” Dr. Marty said.

          He hopes Friday’s presenters will walk away having learned a few lessons.

         “One of the most important things would be that there are many, many opportunities to collaborate,” he said. “Quality research really comes from multi-disciplinary efforts.”


  Deborah Condosta, a former faculty member in the College of Nursing, was a student as well. She graduated  in December with a DNP degree.

           On Friday, she was back, participating for the first time in USF Health Research Day.

           Condosta’s project: a chart review at a Brandon clinic, comparing how well patients with diabetes did at meeting goals set by the American Diabetes Association, depending on whether they received care from a doctor or a nurse practitioner.

           “This is the first poster presentation I’ve done, and I’m having fun,” Condosta said. She’ll be doing another one at a conference in June. “I wanted a little practice beforehand.”


Poster presentations continue only for another hour.


Tony Panzera, a first-year PhD student in Community and Family Health in the College of Public Health, wasn’t sure what to expect from Research Day. He found reassurance.

“It’s fantastic,” Panzera said. “It’s comforting…I’m really happy that Public Health has such a presence on campus.”

Panzera chose to focus his research on breastfeeding, trying to discover whether mothers who receive “family-centered care” are more likely to breastfeed their babies.

“I believe in the idea of prevention,” he said. “It’s such a natural thing, and yet there are so many competing forces.”

Panzera evaluated data from a national data  set of 91,000 patients to look at  his question. What he found was an unexpected wrinkle: the data was coded in such a way that most patients were excluded from his query. His next step will be to try to get the code rewritten, so that data can be recovered.


“Yes, but it speaks to why I’m doing this — to increase research and knowledge,” Panzera said. “And if I get frustrated, I remember that if I’m not doing this, maybe nobody else is.”


Medical students Jonathan Lopez and Rajiv Parikh compared notes Friday morning on each other’s posters.

“It’s a great way to show the rest of the USF community the great strides we’re making in research and clinical care,” said Parikh, a third-year student.

Lopez, a second-year student, was hoping to find others doing similar work.

“This is a great opportunity to see what other people are doing, learn about their work, and see what’s similar enough to mine that we can collaborate,” he said.

As it happened, their studies were completely dissimilar. Lopez’ study looked at non-healing wounds, and how oxidants the body produces to kill bacteria might actually be keeping such wounds from healing. Parikh’s research was part of the Moffitt Mole Patrol, looking at more than 5,000 people who received skin cancer screenings to find factors that might put them at higher risk for skin cancer.

But even the contrast in their work has value, Parikh said.

“Our projects show the scope of what’s happening here,” Parikh said. “He’s taking the basic science from the bench and mine is completely the other end of the spectrum taking research to patient care.”


Oral presentations are under way.


Second-year medical student Hinda Boutrid makes her way to the Ballroom at the USF Marshall Center for USF Health Research Day. More than 260 researchers will present their work today.

The oral sessions at the beginning of the day showcase the outstanding work of nine researchers. This year’s session includes, for the first time, a researcher from outside USF Health. The nine invited to present their work orally this year are:

From the College of Medicine: Tina Fiorelli (PhD student), Erinn Kellner (medical student), Kenrick Semple (graduate student), Jamiee Afeld (medical student), Angela LaFace (medical student).

From the College of Nursing: Jacqueline Munro (graduate student).

From the College of Public Health: Christopher Campbell (PhD student), Alexia Makris (PhD student).

From the College of Engineering: Alexandra Oliveros (graduate student).

Remember to tune in at 1:00 for the live streaming coverage of today’s keynote speaker, Dr. Carol Bult, from The Jackson Laboratory, who will talk about mouse models of human disease.