December 2016 | Issue 27
An evening of scholarly projects

​Last night, the LKCMedicine community gathered on the fourth floor of the brand new Clinical Sciences Building to celebrate the Year 4 students’ scholarly achievements.

More than 20 students from the inaugural cohort put up posters to share the fruits of their six-week labour during the Scholarly Project module with their peers, juniors, faculty and staff. Split broadly into four themes, spanning from medical education and basic research to clinical and health services outcomes research, there was something to interest everyone.

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The prize winners of the Scholarly Project presentation celebrate their achievements with staff, faculty and students

Launched by Vice-Dean for Education Associate Professor Naomi Low-Beer, the evening also celebrated the students’ achievement, with those who scored top marks in each category awarded a certificate and a $50 book voucher prize. Nine more students received High Commendation for their work.

Vice-Dean for Research Professor Russell Gruen was invited to deliver the opening address. In his speech “The Makings of Clinician Scientists”, he acknowledged the outstanding efforts of the students and gave credit to Assoc Prof Low-Beer and Assistant Dean for Years 1 and 2 Professor Michael Ferenczi for driving the Scholarly Projects initiative. He also thanked LKCMedicine scientists who had played the key role of supervising this first batch of students on their scholarly projects. To view his speech, click here.

The prize winners – Eugene Leong, Lee Hai Quan, Stewart Retnam and Daniel Chong – then presented their work on stage, after which they were handed their certificates and prizes.

First up on stage was Daniel, who presented his work on promoting diabetic wound healing. Chronic wounds affect approximately 15 per cent of diabetic patients and are an increasing source of morbidity and mortality. Using the latest nanoparticles and biocomposite nanofibers, he studied in vitro whether a combination of poly(lactic-co-glycolic-acid) (PLGA) and TGF-β core could augment and assist wound healing. Comparing it with plain cover slip and PLGA only scaffold, he said that this data showed that such a hybrid scaffold “could assist treatment of diabetic ulcers.”

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Year 4 student Daniel Chong presenting his work on diabetic wound healing to the audience

“15% of diabetic patients have diabetic ulcers. This seems like a very small number, but translating to a bigger picture this is about 94 million people worldwide. For what seems like a superficial ulcer, it can lead to a severe diabetic condition in the patient,” added Daniel.

Hai Quan, who scored top marks in the Medical Education category, took to the stage next. He presented his evaluation of situational interest (a transient interest which is evoked by engagement with a task) in Team-Based Learning (TBL). He found that TBL generates good levels of situational interest with interest peaking during the initial stages of TBL and post-Application Exercise phase. He said, “This is mostly because the students would have their questions answered and are content, and they would have closed that knowledge gap and their Situational Interest would drop.”

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Proud faculty members listening to the prize presentations of the winners

Stewart’s retrospective analysis of the prevalence and risk factors for urinary tract infection (UTI) and urinary retention in stroke patients got him top spot in the Medical Practice category. Analysing data from 72 stroke patients who were undergoing rehabilitation, he found that urinary retention is strongly associated with UTIs and together with other factors, could be used to better assess the risk of developing a UTI. Stewart said, “UTI, urinary retention and high blood pressure - it is good to keep in mind that these are related to stroke. And when presented with these symptoms it is best to see a doctor immediately.”

Last to present was Medicine & Society category winner Eugene, who presented his systematic review of the relationship between outcome and volume for radical prostatectomy, one of the most complex urological procedures. He found that the more procedures an institution or individual surgeon performed, the better the patient outcomes. However, there was not sufficient data to determine a clear minimum number. Eugene said, “It is unlikely to accrue participants for a procedure such as this, as the relationship between the surgeon and patients are not established quite yet. Patients would want to have better outcomes from the surgery too.”

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Year 4 student Eugene Leong and his supervisor Dr Jeffrey Leow showcasing his work in Radical Prostatectomy

Following the presentations in the Auditorium, the audience made their way to the Foyer, where the poster presentation was set up. Fellow students also had the opportunity to vote for their favourite posters. While votes were being counted, the crowd enjoyed a sumptuous buffet dinner.

The evening concluded with the student prize presentation. The four $50 book voucher prizes went to Julia Ng’s “Developing a Low-Cost Dermatoscope”, Charmaine Lee’s “To Analyse the Effects of Leucine-Rich Alpha-2 Glycoprotein-1 (LRG1) on Angiogenesis in Diabetes Associated Ischemic Heart Disease”, Huang Baoxian’s “Microbiome Effects on Liver Function” and Joseph Wong’s “Smartphone Applications for Diabetes Self-Management: Content Analysis and Evaluation with Evidence-Based Guidelines”.