Apply for a research position with Dr. Rick Nelson in the Epidemiology/Biometry Division of the UIC School of Public Health (1603 West Taylor)! Sophomores/juniors/seniors are preferred.
Individuals having surgery on the large bowel for diseases such as cancer, diverticulitis or colitis are very prone to post-operative infection because of the high concentration of bacteria in the colon. Antibiotics given before surgery have been effective in reducing that risk from over 40% to between 10% and 20%. Much has been done to see if alterations in the way antibiotics are administered can further diminish this infection risk. A previous group of students worked on whether adding the application of antimicrobials topically to the abdominal wound along with intravenous antibiotics would accomplish this.
In the current study, we will explore whether the method of administering the antibiotic is better by a combined oral and intravenous route as opposed to each one individually. This will not be studied by treating patients at UIC hospital, but by reviewing the entire world's published literature on this topic in a method called systematic review and meta-analysis. The highest quality published studies will have data abstracted, the quality of these studies further assessed and the data combined mathematically to determine a summary effect of each method of antibiotic administration. This has been a very controversial topic in the field of colorectal surgery. The majority of patients in the United States receive the combined prophylaxis while in Europe it is almost exclusively intravenous alone.
We will meet once a week at the SPH for an hour or two to introduce students to the project and research methods and principally to discuss and answer questions. We will have studies to read, data to abstract from those studies, and statistical analyses to perform on those data as well as quality assessment of the overall evidence. All of these techniques will be taught as part of the project.
We will meet weekly for about 90 minutes, tentatively on Thursdays at 10:30am (dependent on student availability). These will be workshops or labs rather than lectures, with lots of give and take. Outside of class, there will be 3-4 hours of reading and data abstraction per week, hopefully completing this project by the end of the semester.
If you are interested, please contact Dr. Rick Nelson at email@example.com.