UICOMP Research Findings On Display

Apr 13, 2016

Healthcare students, professionals and the public have a chance to survey the latest medical research being done in the Peoria area. 

Credit markus spiske / Flickr/Creative Commons

The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria is holding its fourth annual  Medical Research Day on campus Wednesday. UICOMP pharmacology professor Steve Lasley says the experience gives medical students a competitive edge in residency applications, but additionally,  it gives attendees a chance to witness the range of topics pertaining to local health outcomes.

“This would give them an idea of some of the kinds of work that we’re doing, some of the research that’s being directed  at specific disease conditions, and efforts that are being made simply to improve local health care,” Lasley. 

Some of the research on display includes an analysis of lunch options in a rural grade school and outcomes of a wellness sleep study on employees.

One of the studies is garnering national attention in the medical community.

Azeem Rehman, a fourth year student, co-authored a study with primary investigator, Dr. Alfonse Masi, that explores patterns of molecules, like hormones and proteins, in the blood.   The research looks to see if varying levels of those molecules could determine whether a person will develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Rehman says the jury is still out on which molecules, if any, can be used to indicate the presence of the disease. But he says the team was able to identify a trend.

“And what we’ve seen is one biomarker in particular, androstenedione, which is an adrenal hormone, has been shown to be lower in patients that went on to develop rheumatoid arthritis, particularly when looking at the female patients,” Rehman said. 

The study is being reviewed for possible publication in a scientific journal and presentation at the annual American College of Rheumatology Conference.

Aside from the professional growth, Rehman says the research has given him meaning and purpose as he finishes medical school. 

Rehman’s work is one of 30 other studies on display for Medical Research Day. The poster presentations are scheduled for 4-5pm in UICOMP's lobby.