UMHS Research students had quite a productive 2017, under the mentorship of Dr. Jane Harrington, Course Director of Medical Research Elective. In addition to data collection and paper writing, students presented at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in New Orleans. UMHS student Nadya Perez Bastista conducted a literature search on post-hurricane outbreaks and epidemics, and Nadya and Dr. Harrington presented their findings at the One Health Symposium at Ross University School of Medicine. The following guest post from faculty member Dr. Harrington looks at UMHS Research achievements in what has been a proverbial banner year for these future doctors.
By Dr. Jane Harrington
UMHS Research Elective students had a busy year in 2017, collecting and analyzing data, conducting literature reviews with a journal club and presenting at national and regional meetings. Here are some highlights:
Research Elective students presented at poster under the mentorship of Dr. Jane Harrington at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in New Orleans, titled “Prevalence and Antimicrobial Susceptibility of Bacterial Contaminate Isolated from Imported and Domestic Retail Chicken and Pork in St. Kitts.” Thanks to contributions from UMHS Students Christina Varela, Ellen Lorenzen, Beani Forst, Jandrely Lopez, Nick Mills, Idalis Sanchez, Andrea Ferrer and Luis Acevedo toward bacterial isolation and species identification. Our biggest finding was that more bacterial isolates originating from the USA were resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics, as compared to bacterial isolates from St Kitts locally produced. The project has expanded from 2016 research activities to examine the relative prevalence of Klebsiella species and isolates that harbor Extended-Spectrum of Beta-Lactamase (ESBL), a.k.a. “Super Bugs,” work conducted by UMHS students Crisanta Simon, Esther Galant, Gerald Lebron, Francesca Licandro and Fabiola Rodriguez. Other continuing bacteriology projects include exploration of surface contamination with Methicillin-Resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) in a simulated clinical setting and the antimicrobial effects of indigenous plants Neem and Moringa against MRSA, by student researchers Juan Cruz and Fernando Velez.
In response to the effects of Hurricane Irma and Maria in the Caribbean, UMHS student Nadya Perez Bastista has been conducting a literature search on post-hurricane outbreaks and epidemics. As of late October 2017, Puerto Rico has reported an estimated 76 cases of the bacterial illness Leptospirosis due to contact with contaminated water. Nadya and Dr. Harrington presented their findings at the One Health Symposium at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Further exploring public health issues in human health, the Medical Research Elective students Paola Rodriguez and Mario Candamo have been working with the St. Kitts Ministry of Health and students administering the community health fairs to develop a digital reporting system, in order to examine the relative risk factors associated with diabetes and hypertension in St. Kitts. The project is ongoing as we continue to collect data at health fairs in 2018.
Congratulations to all the Medical Research Elective students for all their hard work!
Built in the tradition of the best U.S. universities, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences focuses on individualized student attention, small class sizes and recruiting high-quality faculty. For these reasons, UMHS is quickly becoming the school of choice among Caribbean medical schools.