Research Symposium Provides Leading-Edge Opportunities for Students

Published on 19 April 2021

Recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a leader in research among private schools of pharmacy, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis provides leading-edge opportunities for students to participate in research alongside faculty and staff.

Through the annual Student Research Symposium, students are paired with a faculty mentor to conduct meaningful research that is vital to improving the future of patient care.

“Getting students excited about and involved in research prior to them beginning their professional careers is extremely important,” said Sara Richter, Pharm.D. ’12, associate professor of pharmacy practice. “Understanding the basics of conducting research prepares students to make calculated decisions later on in their careers.”

Since 2009, the symposium has provided more than 400 students with the opportunity to showcase their research on a wide range of topics ranging from the effects of gravity on bacteria to statin prescribing trends in underserved patient populations.

On Saturday, April 10, 30 students presented the findings of their research projects as part of poster and podium sessions. Those attending the symposium were able to view the various student research projects in person or virtually and ask student researchers in-depth questions about their research process.

P3 student Eric Johnston, B.S. ’19, was named this year’s podium presentation winner for his research regarding the use of vasopressors, agents used to raise low blood pressure, in patients with septic shock.

First place was awarded to P1 student Lindsay Arvin for her research poster on the challenges and opportunities of working with an international partner during a pandemic.

P3 student Kendra Onoh, B.S. ’19, and junior Haris Mujovic also earned first place for their poster presentation on the impact of grit and resilience on academic success and self-efficacy in pharmacy students.

P4 student Sydnie Day earned second place for her poster presentation on prescribing patterns for obstetric patients who were recently prescribed antidepressant therapies.

P3 students Kensey Hunt, B.S. ’19, and Cady Schleeper, B.S. ’19, earned second place presenting research on clinical services used to enhance patient care through community pharmacists’ participation in CPESN USA, a network of community pharmacists who provide evidence-based, patient-centered care resulting in cost savings and improved quality of care.

The team discovered that participation in the network resulted in improved health outcomes, decreased out-of-pocket costs for patients and increased revenue for community pharmacists.

“Completing this research project has allowed me to apply my classroom knowledge to the real world,” Hunt said. “I want to become a community pharmacist one day, so being able to tell my future employer that I can help enhance patient care, and have the data to back it up, is invaluable.”

Research opportunities not only prepare students for their future careers in health care, but also can make an impact on their personal and professional growth outside the classroom.

Sophomore Lily Zahrai worked alongside Whitney Anthonysamy, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, on a collaborative wildlife biodiversity project with the Tyson Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis to monitor and detect different species of squirrels in urban, suburban and rural areas.

Her research provided insight into a look at wildlife diversity in the St. Louis area and how wildlife responds to changes in human behavior.

“Research has made my student experience more enriching,” Zahrai said. “It has allowed me to improve my teamwork, time management, professionalism and communication skills – which are skills that all students need to be successful in college.”

The annual Student Research Symposium represents one of many opportunities for UHSP students at every level and degree path to engage in meaningful research alongside expert faculty and clinicians.

Learn more about ways to engage in innovative, collaborative research at UHSP.

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