Medical Student Research Projects

Projects with Ophthalmology Faculty

Throughout the year, Department of Ophthalmology faculty members welcome medical student involvement in research projects. Medical students interested in pursuing research in the Department of Ophthalmology should review the topics below and contact the faculty member directly.

Clinical Phenotyping, Morphological Characterization, and Therapeutic Testing for Mammalian Models of Retinal Degenerative Disease

Mentor: Katherine J. Wert, Ph.D.

The Wert laboratory is focused on genetic alterations that lead to retinal degenerative disease, specifically the death of the rod photoreceptors. We have a variety of projects available for medical students. Students can take part in projects involving three scopes of research: 1) data analysis, 2) laboratory bench work, or 3) animal studies.

  1. For data analysis, the Wert laboratory has a project available for a student to compare metabolite profiles between healthy and diseased neural retina tissue. We also have a project available for qualitative and quantitative morphological characterization of retinas from novel mammalian models (mouse and human) of retinal degenerative disease.
  2. For laboratory bench work, the Wert laboratory has projects available for the design and cloning of gene editing plasmids to create human stem cell lines for inherited retinal degenerative diseases.
  3. For animal studies, the Wert laboratory routinely uses live imaging equipment (such as electroretinography and scanning laser ophthalmoloscopy) to clinically phenotype mouse models with retinal degenerative disease.

Medical students with an interest in any of these project areas should inquire about opportunities with Dr. Katherine Wert.

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Projects with Ophthalmology Residents 

Each year, Ophthalmology residents are required to complete a research project to be presented during the Department’s Annual Resident & Alumni Day in June. These projects offer medical students a chance to collaborate with Ophthalmology residents. Research opportunities for the current 2023-2024 academic year are listed below:

Ryan Kim, M.D. (PGY4) A project analyzing the efficacy of intraoperative aberrometry for the treatment of corneal astigmatism
Karl Andersen, M.D. (PGY4) Pediatric Corneal Transplant Outcomes - will be looking at factors that influence corneal transplant outcomes in the pediatric population
Aish Ramamurthi, M.D. (PGY4) Evaluating the amount of panretinal photocoagulation in patients with quiescent proliferative diabetic retinopathy
Snehaa Maripudi, M.D. (PGY4) Prospective study to assess the effect of cataract surgery on mental well-being by comparing depression scores before and after cataract surgery
Sarah Kenny, M.D. (PGY3) Outcomes of Micropulse Cyclophotocoagulation in Neovascular Glaucoma at a large Large Public County Hospital
Dani Block, M.D. (PGY3) A study investigating the likelihood of patients proceeding with corneal transplants (including PK, DSAEK, DMAEK, DALK) after it is recommended by the surgeon
Cody Hansen, M.D. (PGY3) A project comparing outcomes of patients who underwent topo guided vs wavefront optimized LASIK treatment
Victoria Ly, M.D. (PGY3) Outcomes of trabeculectomy versus Xen gel stent for treatment of open angle glaucoma. The outcomes we'll be assessing include intraocular pressures and number of pressure lowering eye drops the patients are on before and after their surgeries
Jahan Tajran, M.D. (PGY3) Outcomes of surgical planning with Argos vs. Verion digital systems in toric intraocular lens implantation. Will investigate how Parkland's new Argos biometer is being implemented in cataract surgery with toric astigmatism-correcting intraocular lenses and how it compares with previous modalities.
Betty Tong, M.D. (PGY3) Retrospective study looking at the outcomes of open globe injuries at Children’s Medical Center; Chart review
Pooja Parikh, M.D. (PGY4) Nasolacrimal duct management, outcomes and success rates at University based eye clinic. This is a retrospective, clinical study of patients with nasolacrimal duct obstruction. The project will focus on comparing management strategies, outcomes and success rates of various treatment methods of nasolacrimal obstruction (NLDO)

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