The Medical Student Research Program is dedicated to providing opportunities for all medical students to engage in a variety of research activities – both basic and clinical – in conjunction with the faculty at UT Southwestern Medical Center. These projects will count towards an application for M.D. with Distinction in Research.
Several avenues are available:
The MSRP is happy to announce any on-campus research activities currently seeking students to help with research projects. Please pay attention to the time frame of the projects. Positions may or may not be paid positions.
These projects will not count towards an application for M.D. with Distinction in Research.
Nitric Oxide Inhibition as a Strategy for the Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
Mentor: Chan Nguyen, M.D., Ph.D.
Phone number: 214-590-3554
Proposed Compensation: Variable
Length of position: Variable until 2018
Project Type : Translational, animal-based research
Brief Description of Project:
Much evidence in the scientific literature suggests that nitric oxide (NO) is key to the development of diabetic retinopathy. When given inhibitors of the enzyme that makes NO, diabetic dogs and rodents do not develop retinopathy. The first goal of the project is to see whether these inhibitors are toxic when given as a direct injection into the eyes of rabbits.
Currently, numerous ocular medications are given to humans via direct injection into the eye, because this minimizes the risk of side effects to the rest of the body. Students working on this aspect of the project will gain familiarity with intraocular pressure and pachymetric measurements, small animal slit lamp exam and fundus photography, as well as ocular histology and electroretinography.
The second aim is a proof of concept in a knockout mouse model that new blood vessel growth in the retina can actually be beneficial. Ophthalmologists are trained to eliminate all new blood vessel growth in the back of the eye by destroying the ischemic peripheral retina. Patients are forced to sacrifice their peripheral vision to save their central vision.
Demonstrating the benefits of new vessel growth in the retina would help shift the focus of research away from the inhibition of all vessel growth to only that growth in the vitreous, which might help patients retain their peripheral vision. Students working on this aspect of the project will gain experience with preparation of retinal flat mounts, immunohistochemistry, and the oxygen-induced neovascularization mouse model.