College of Nursing Scholars Showcase Work on Research Day
USF Health Research Day 2019 was an opportunity for the institution’s best and brightest to present their scientific findings. The health leaders of tomorrow and today united at the preeminent research university’s Marshall Student Center on Friday, Feb. 22. Some said their path to Research Day was not exactly a straight line.
“Research always ends up taking you in different directions,” said Tina Mutka, a first-year graduate student at the College of Nursing. “You never truly follow the path you intend to follow. There are always offshoots that you can investigate.”
Mutka noted that her opportunity to present her poster, Enterococcus and Clostridium are Associated with Induction of Fetal Intestine Epithelial Inflammation in vitro, at Research Day was a chance to network and exchange future research ideas. Mutka presented her scholarly work alongside the College of Nursing’s Maureen Groer, PhD, RN, FAAN and Bradley Kane.
This year, some 350 poster presentations showcased the best scientific work of students, residents, fellows and postdoctoral scholars across all four USF Health colleges – Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Pharmacy – including health-related collaborations with other USF colleges and several hospital affiliates.
Another presenter from the College of Nursing did not believe she would be there at all.
Undergrad Hailey Morgan presented Caregiver Presence and Self-Management Ability Predict Perceived Adherence in Patients with COPD under the mentorship of Andrew Bugajski, RN, PhD, Laura Szalacha, EdD, and Theresa Beckie, PhD, MN, RN, FAHA, FAAN.
Morgan said she had met with Bugajski on a whim after her now-mentor visited a class and asked students about their potential research interests. She is beginning her road to her own PhD, with an unexpected pit stop on Research Day.
Morgan sees the path ahead as one she is excited about, and Bugajski sees that in her as well.
“She is one of those rare, bright and self-driven students, so naturally I sought her out for her potential, where I think she would excel in getting her PhD,” he said. “My role was to help her with this process, given this was her first time doing anything in research, let alone making a poster or presenting it. She took the time to come in, learn about abstract/poster construction and writing, the statistics most appropriate for our research questions, how to report the statistical tests, and the conclusions from our analyses.”
The drive that her mentor can see is derived from a desire to do the most good, Morgan said. While still carrying a respect for bedside care, she said her passion has turned toward impacting people around the world as opposed to a case-by-case basis.
That similar appetite for research was something Morgan saw in all of her contemporaries at Research Day, adding that she felt blessed to be among them, and to speak with them about her own track.
“I’m like ‘That’s what I want to do someday,’” Morgan said. “They’ve been very kind in giving me tips on how to proceed in my own career. It’s just an amazing opportunity that I never imagined myself having. It’s been really great.”
Also at Research Day, the Roy H. Behnke keynote speaker was Gerald Dorn II, MD, the Needleman professor of medicine, associate chair for translational research, and director for the Center for Pharmacogenomics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Dorn kicked off the event with his presentation “The Mitochondrial Basis of Disease: Newly recognized diseases (and new approaches to old ones).”
Trained as a cardiologist and a scientist, Dr. Dorn helped discover how mitochondria (the energy machine in cells) are poorly regulated in myocytes in heart failure, leading to progressive loss of pumping function.
College of Nursing postdoctoral scholar Samia Dutra was one of 12 students selected as a Joseph Krzanowski, PhD, invited oral presenter. And the College of Nursing’s Tina Mason won a certificate for her doctoral student research.
Story by Alex Hooper, USF College of Nursing