Former Members

About the Former Members

Since its formation in 2000 the Investigators Research Honors Society has had many members pass through it's ranks. Many have gone on to be successful in their chosen fields. Due to the sheer volume of former members, not all former members are represented on this page. The following compilation is a list of former Investigators members who responded to a voluntary survey and opted to be represented on this page. If you are a former member of the Investigators and would like to be represented here please send an email to:

if-svc-investigators@ifas.ufl.edu.

/*********** /***************

Asha Balakrishnan

Picture Date: 04/02/2007

Graduation Date: Spring 2008

Notable Roles: Gator Team, Meeting Secretary

Time Spent in IG: 2 Years

Project(s): Early Detection of Hypertension and Growth Abnormalities in an HIV Positive Pediatric Patient

The InvestiGators Organization has had a substantial impact on my career as an undergraduate and will undoubtably have a substantial impact in my professional career. Being a member of the Gator Team has not only fermented my passion for medicine, but also has trained me to see everything from a researcher's point of view. Pursuing my personal project on growth and hypertension in HIV+ pediatric patients has been the most rewarding experience of my undergraduate career. I was able to learn firsthand how to manipulate large amounts of patient data and apply statistics to study relationships. It taught me the value of translational medicine and the importance of preventative healthcare, while introducing me to the powerful effects HIV has on the body's metabolism. My personal project taught me to keep moving forward and to strive for perfection even when it may seem unattainable.

The people that I have met on the team and at clinic have inspired me in more ways than I even thought possible. I was given the opportunity to work in a professional team environment, practice leadership, and understand team dynamics with a group of committed individuals to work towards a common goal. I learned the importance of developing a personal rapport with patients to maximize your influence on their lifestyles. I have grown to be more efficient, better with time-management, and to appreciate every minute the day has to offer. My experience as an InvestiGator has shaped me into the person I am today, and I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful cause.

Payden Bedford

Picture Date: 01/17/2008

Notable Roles : HIV/Carn Team, Captain, HIPAA Officer, Catalog Officer

Time Spent in IG: 1.5 Years

Email: Payden93@ufl.edu

 

As a member of the InvestiGators, the amount of knowledge and experience I gained is above and beyond what I could have imagined when first joining.  Not only do you learn from the team members around you, but you are also being actively involved in the research itself instead of an innocent bystander, which is usually what happens as an undergraduate student. This led to so many one-of-a kind experiences.  From working at the GCRC spinning down patient blood samples for assays to being the Information Coordinator at the Gator clinic, being a part of the InvestiGators family has led to invaluable experiences that I will cherish and take with me for the rest of my life.

Being a part of InvestiGators was probably the most rewarding experience throughout my college career.  I gained knowledge that I never would have been exposed to during my college classes.  This research opportunity is like no other one out there. Dr. Borum treated us not like undergraduate students, but instead as her colleagues, and held us to an even higher standard.  This opportunity allowed me the chance to enhance my abilities as a leader as well as a team player.  I have come away with knowledge and experiences that I could not have gotten anywhere else and am very thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this organization.

Flavia Bravo

Picture Date: 12/18/2009

Notable Roles: KetoGator Team, Website Officer, Co-Captain, Hardware/Software Officer

Time Spent in IG: 1.5 Years

Email: flavia_bravo@alumni.ufl.edu

Project(s): Online Tools for Administration of Ketogenic Therapy

When asked what she learned from InvestiGators, Flavia said everything.  I learned how to be a professional.  How to work with others in a team dynamic for a common goal and in that, how to communicate!  I learned that what you seek you will not always find, but if you work hard, you will find something!  I learned that there is so much involved in research, and how important it is for the data, and for your patients, to be involved in each facet (ex making meals, patient support, helping to improve not just seizures but quality of life, etc).  I learned so many skills.  These include perfecting my knowledge of how to make a power point presentation ( one that will not bore people), and learning how to do more things on word, excel, and access.  Thanks to Investigators, I can now say that I am proficient in these skills.  I’ve also learned so much about dietetics and nutrition, and the importance of growth and metabolism when it comes to the brain.  I’ve learned how to read the literature and most importantly, interpret it.  I’ve learned how to input, audit, and analyze data, and how to get the data that is required.  I’ve learned how to talk with patients in a professional setting, but at the same time be supportive and friendly.

In short, I’ve come out of Investigators with way more knowledge than I had when I went into it. I’ve learned so much through this experience, and because of it, I feel better prepared for the life I am about to lead.

I just graduated with my second Bachelors Degree ( this one is in Nursing) from UCF. I am currently gearing up to take my NCLEX licensing exam in September and then I look forward to start working here in Tampa as a Registered Nurse/healthcare professional! I then plan to continue my education and get my doctorate in nursing practice and become a nurse practitioner. 

Last Updated: 08/16/2011

Casey Courtney

Picture Date: 11/20/2007

Graduation Date: Spring 2008

Notable Roles : HIV/Carn Team, Personnel Officer

Time Spent in IG: 1 Year

Email: iculookn@ufl.edu

Project(s): Carnitine Intake of Pediatric Patients Receiving Ketogenic Therapy

I came into the InvestiGators not knowing exactly what to expect, but was very, very excited. Right away I was being trained for all sorts of skills, including pipetting, various assay procedures, and leadership positions. I was learning about metabolism on a much deeper and more interesting level than that taught in classes. I looked forward to every meeting and, once I became more and more familiar with the material, caught myself pondering what I'd learned on the way to classes or home. I became more and more fascinated with how the three teams were involved in each other's work. Even now, over a year later, I still feel like a kid when I learn more connections.

Perhaps my favorite part of being on the team was just listening to Dr. Borum talk during meetings about her ideas for not only the present, but for the future as well. This is not a "we're-just-trying-to-reach-this-one-goal-and-that'll-be-it" research experience. This is more like a scavenger hunt, with each new piece of information found leading us to more and more discoveries. As for the teams, there are endless possibilities for learning and leadership; many times, the advantage of having a large group is that people can offer their different skills to the team. I may not be the best researcher or data analyzer, but I love teaching assay techniques and showing people how to prepare for the piglet surgeries. I was even lucky enough to be one of the members responsible for the behind-the-scenes preparations of the surgeries.

All in all, the time I was able to spend on the team was, I feel, invaluable. The amount I learned and the meaningfulness of the team's goals made each hour put into the team a worthwhile experience. My friends often spoke of their "research", how every couple of hours they'll stop in between classes to change a solution or wash some dishes. All I could ever do was shake my head and smile, feeling almost sorry for what they're missing out on.

Jenna Culp

Picture Date: 04/02/2007

Graduation Date: Spring 2008

Notable Roles: Gator Team, Co-Captain

Time Spent in IG: 2 Years

Email: jculp1@ufl.edu

Project(s): Identifying Parameters Which Predict an Increased Risk of Developing Prediabetes

To say being a member of the InvestiGators was a life-changing experience is an understatement. My participation in this research group shaped my college career, and had a profound impact on my future. As a member of the Gator Team, numerous opportunities were available to me, which I could not have experienced otherwise as an undergraduate. I was able to independently develop and see to completion a personal research project. Furthermore, I was able to take this project to an international conference and learn how my work fit into the larger field of clinical research. Also, the clinical experience of working as part of the interdisciplinary medical team was superior to anything I could have otherwise experienced as an undergraduate and served to solidify my desire of becoming a physician.

On a personal level, the InvestiGators gave me an opportunity to learn who I was through my interactions with my team and the InvestiGators as a whole. Spending a year as a captain of the Gator Team enlightened me to the struggles and joys of leading and working so closely with one’s peers, including balancing personal needs with the needs of others. I was able to learn how to lead and compromise with others, but most importantly, how to listen to others.

Too often undergraduates are stuck in science classes practicing archaic techniques with no practical clinical value. The InvestiGators was an opportunity to move outside of the classroom and immerse myself in modern clinical practice and research. Only now that I have graduated have I realized how worthwhile this opportunity was and how different my life will be without it.

Ami Dalsania

Picture Date: 11/1/2007

Notable Roles: KetoGator Team, Newsletter, KetoCarn, Interview Officer, IG Attendance Officer

Time Spent in IG: 2 Years

Project(s): Online Tools for Administration of Ketogenic Therapy

In Fall 2007, I joined the InvestiGators Research looking for hands-on research experience. The experience I have obtained from my research with the Ketogenic Therapy (KT) for pediatric epileptic patients made me realize that I really want to pursue a career in medicine. I received my first patient only months after I joined the team. I was closely involved with the family in preparation for the therapy, including training the family on administering the high fat, low carbohydrate, adequate protein diet. The family kept me updated through weekly phone calls about the administration of the therapy, concern they were having, and progress my patient was making. The family also took daily records of urinary ketones, urinary specific gravity, seizures, and diet recalls, which I would then analyze. My personal project dealt with anthropometrics and body composition of patients receiving KT. I also served as the primary interviewer at the clinic visits. I was in charge of preparing an assessment for the patient before they came into clinic to inform the clinic staff of the patient’s health since the last visit, an assessment at the clinic visit to brief the physician of what I had obtained from the patient, and an assessment after the patient came in to explain what was discussed at the clinic visit and propose any changes.

I have had a total of four patients with countless other experiences. Through the years I have seen the team change, both in members and attitude. MY tasks on the team went above and beyond dealing with patients. My entire time with the KetoGator team, I served as the chief newsletter officer. In addition, I was interview officer and dealt with the application and processing of new members. I have had the privilege to be a part of such a wonderful team, especially during the transition into the new University of Florida Ketogenic Therapy Research Program (UFKTRP). Monitoring the progress of the patient, having close family contact, and seeing the influence I had on my patients’ lives have made me certain that I want to spend my life practicing medicine.

Candice Daibes

Picture Date: 05/04/2008

Graduation Date: Spring 2006

Notable Roles: KetoCarn Team, Lab Safety Officer, Website Officer

Time Spent in IG: 1.5 Years

Email: cdaibes@gmail.com

The experience taught me a lot about myself and both time and project management.  There was always a host of tasks to complete in lab and to be successful, it was necessary to organize and prioritize your responsibilities.   I also gained valuable experience working in both team and individual environments and learned how to effectively accomplish goals in both settings.  I attended a national conference, and got exposure to the world of nutrition research on a much larger level.  On a more specific level, I gained a lot of experience working with Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, and Microsoft Access.

The skills I learned during my time with the InvestiGators are useful in any arena in life.  They served me well during my work internships and first full-time job.  While I was an undergraduate, I was president of a large society, and my experiences with the InvestiGators helped me to organize my team of officers, set goals for the year and plan meetings for the society.  I will take these skills with me for the rest of my life.

Shirley Elisbrun

Picture Date: 04/02/2007

 

Graduation Date: Spring 2008

Notable Roles: Gator Team, HIPAA/IRB

Time Spent in IG: 2 Years

Email: lovablegator@aol.com

Project(s): Metabolic Dysfunction in Pediatric Patients Infected by HIV via Perinatal Transmission Versus Horizontal Transmission

My experience as an InvestiGator has helped me grow and develop into a better team member, student, researcher, and learner. Through InvestiGators, my knowledge of HIV, metabolic syndrome and nutrition has increased exponentially and my very own eating habits have improved for the better. Furthermore, InvestiGators has really helped me determine my future career goals. Since picking up an individual project, I have learned that I really enjoy asking questions and finding solutions to things that have not yet been discovered. I have enjoyed it so much that I have decided to obtain my PharmD/PhD.

It was through persistence, determination and dedication that I received the total package of being a member of InvestiGators. If someone would have told me when I first applied for InvestiGators that my experience would have been so rewarding, I would have thought that they were fibbing. But my experience was better than ever. Being a member of the InvestiGator Research Honor Society has truly been a part of my life that I would not change. I have given necessary attributes needed to be an InvestiGator and it has given me much more. I do not consider InvestiGators as just another organization or club that I was part of-- it has become part of me.

Allison George

Picture Date: 01/17/2008

Graduation Date: Spring 2008

Notable Roles: Gator Team, Archiving Officer

Time Spent in IG: 1.5 Years

Email: mgeorge415@ufl.edu

Project(s): Guidelines for Data Integrity and Archival of Metabolic Assessment Data

Investigators has been a wonderful learning experience. Not only have I greatly increased my understanding of HIV and Metabolic Syndrome, I have also learned to work with team members in a professional setting. By far my favorite part of Investigators was the opportunity to volunteer at the pediatric HIV clinic in Shands Hospital. At clinic I really began to appreciate all of the hard work and dedication needed to successfully treat patients. I had the opportunity to meet with patients of all ages and discuss the importance of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. In addition I was able to help in the treatment of patients by creating metabolic assessments that were used by the clinic staff to evaluate each patient's growth and nutrition.

Investigators has been an amazing experience. I have had the pleasure of working with so many gifted individuals who have inspired me to always put forth my best effort in all that I do. As a result of Investigators, I now have many skills that I know will help me in my future career as a pharmacist.

Kate Goodmon

Picture Date: 10/19/2007

Graduation Date: Spring 2009

Notable Roles: Carnitine Team, KetoCarn, Team co-Captain

Time Spent in IG: 2 Years

Email: kgoodmon@bu.edu

Project(s):The Definition and Use of the Metabolome and Carnitinome within the Ketogenic Therapy, AED Medication Score: A Tool to Assess Medication Load

The InvestiGators has had a profound impact on both my personal and professional lives. It is not until my experience in this lab that I was pushed to my limits, making my potentials reality. Because of the quality of work that is expected here, I now have great confidence that I am prepared for any and all future endeavors. I am fortunate that Dr. Borum allowed me to participate in meaningful research and I have chosen to continue on biomedical research career path.

Mike Keyes

Graduation Date: Fall 2008

Notable Roles: Gator Team

Time Spent in IG: 1.5 Years

Email: MKeyes@med.miami.edu

I am currently a 3rd year medical student with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. I'm rotating through JFK and Bethesda hospitals this year and will be at Jackson Memorial hospital next year. I don't know exactly what field I am going to go in, but I am hoping this year will help shape my decision. IG was a huge asset helping me get to where I am now so I am forever indebted to Dr. B. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do help out!

Anh-Thu Le

Picture Date: 04/17/2008

Notable Roles: KetoCarn, Team Co-Captain

Time Spent in IG: 2.5 Years

Project(s): Use of Glycemic Load to Monitor Types of Carbohydrate Intake in Patients on Ketogenic Therapy

I learned how to interview patients, to become comfortable speaking with families, and to think of the patients’ best interest.  I also learned how to analyze data and complete a research project.  But in addition to learning about how to put all the data together, I learned research can be stimulating and fun.

InvestiGators made we want to become a researcher.  After medical school, I would like to go to graduate school to get a PhD in either nutrition or entomology and to continue doing research throughout my career.  It also made me realize that there are many little things a physician can do to make the patient’s experience more fulfilling.

Dayong Lee

Picture Date: 01/17/2008

Graduation Date: Spring 2007

Notable Roles: Carnitine Team, HIPAA/IRB Officer

Time Spent in IG: 3 Years

Email: Dlee76@uic.edu

Project(s): Dietary carnitine intake and its effect on urinary carnitine excretion

What I learned from this experience:

1) How to practice good research procedures
2) How to perform various laboratory techniques
3) How to work with other members who have different backgrounds and disciplines
4) How to manage the lab, complying with all the regulations such as IRB and Biohazard
5) How to draw conclusions based on scientifically collected, calculated, and confirmed data
6) How to engage in discussions in academic manner
7) How to read scientific journal articles and what to get out from them, and
8) On the whole, how to become a professional researcher.

I realized I want to be a criminologist with concentration in toxicology after writing my thesis, “Dietary carnitine intake and its effect on urinary carnitine excretion.” Substances’ different effects on the body depending on their dosage deeply fascinated me, more than my desire to go to medical school. Thus, the greatest impact of this experience would be that all the skills and lessons I learnt as a member of the InvestiGators gave me courage and confidence in my decision to pursue the study I had really wanted to do.

Kathy Lue

Picture Date: 11/01/2007

Notable Roles: KetoCarn Leader, Team Co-Captain, Food Database, IRB Officer, KetoCarn Therapy group-diet Analysis/NDS

Time Spent in IG: 2 Years

Project(s): Inter-relationships of Ketogenesis, Caloric Intake, Protein Intake, and Growth

Over the past two years, the InvestiGators have provided me with more tools and knowledge than I had anticipated when I first joined the team.   Professionally, IG created an environment where I was able to grow as a researcher, student, leader, and colleague.  The knowledge and experience I entered with was enhanced and raised to the next level with IG and more specifically the KetoGators.  Interacting with patients in other clinical experiences did not provide me with the opportunities and responsibilities that being a KetoBuddy has provided.  I have never felt more connected and responsible for people as I have as a member of this team.  IG has given me an insight into the medical field and has proven that good healthcare comes from both the clinical side and research side.  This team has allowed me to gain skills as a team player as well as a leader, with room for all the possible mistakes in between.

Personally, IG has provided me with the push to do better in all areas of my college career.  It challenged me to take on more and work hard to accomplish the goals I set out to do.  Deadlines are no longer a date to me, but an actual end goal that should not be taken lightly.  The KetoGator team gave me a great team to work and learn with, and even friends that will stay with me after my time in IG has ended.  Even though I am not completely sure what I want to do as a future career, IG has taught me what matters as a caregiver, professional, and has provided me the skills I can use in whatever I choose to do.  I know that what I have learned here in these past few years will affect me for many future years to come.      

Erika Manion

Picture Date: 01/16/2008

Notable Roles: Biohazard Officer, HIPPA/IRB Officer, E-Baby Database, Gator Team Captain

Time Spent in IG: 2.5 Years

Project(s): Retrospective Assessment of Growth in Infants Exposed to HIV in Utero

The InvestiGators has given me the opportunity to really understand what it means to do research. Coming into UF, I really had no idea what my future would be. After working in InvestiGators for the past two and a half years, I have realized my passion for research and plan to make that my future career goal, specifically in Public Health. My personal project (growth of infants exposed to HIV in utero) has also opened my eyes to the possibilities of what could be researched and it has made me want to pursue a career in maternal and infant health.

I cannot begin to list the things I have learned in IG, but I know there are things I did not expect to learn, such as, teamwork, leadership, and professionalism. Dr. Borum makes it her mission that every member of IG is prepared for the real world. I think, undoubtedly, I am more prepared in life because of this research experience. I plan to take all of these items with me and I will not forget where I learned them. InvestiGators is the best foundation for any future career and the experience of a lifetime for an undergraduate.      

David McDonald

Picture Date: 01/17/2008

Graduation Date: Spring 2008

Notable Roles : HIV/Carn Team, Team Co-Captain, IACUC Officer, Lab/Radiation Safety Officer, Website Officer, IG President

Time Spent in IG: 3.5 Years

Email: mcdonalda@gmail.com

Project(s): Effects of Chemical Diabetes, Starvation, and Endocrine Hormones on Blood and Organ Carnitine Concentrations in Rats

The InvestiGators has had a profound effect on my life. During my time in IG, I had many new and wonderful experiences that are atypical of most undergraduate research positions. I had the opportunity to write a protocol for our piglet experiments, analyze and write up manuscripts based on carnitine data, learn more about running a website, work with human blood samples, present posters at national conferences, organize and lead my team, and through it all I was always treated as Dr. Borum's colleague. Because of IG, I have decided to go to graduate school to pursue a career in biomedical research. The InvestiGators is definitely a worthwhile experience that has helped me get to where I am today.

Geoffrey Panjeton

Picture Date: 06/01/2011

Graduation Date: Spring 2012

Notable Roles : Carnitine Team, Website Officer, Pre-Term Piglet Experiments, Metabolomics Study

Time Spent in IG: 2.5 Years

Email: gpanjeton@ufl.edu

Project(s): Use of MetaboAnalyst as a Tool to Study Metabolomics Data for a Dietary Intervention Study

I was a part of the Carnitine Team on the InvestiGators for 2.5 years. During this time I worked in several different areas, initially I worked towards developing a piglet model of prematurity and associated comorbidities, specifically retinopathy of prematurity, and then continued to work on developing our lab's metabolomics protocol. My time with the InvestiGators truly shaped who I am today. It allowed me to experience the entire continuum of translational research and understand the meaning behind this often used phrase. It has also allowed me to appreciate my capability as an individual and the extensive work behind performing quality research. I will always look back upon my time in the InvestiGators as a time of serious internal reflection and personality solidification. By spending time with like-minded individuals under the tutelage of Dr. Peggy Borum, I am blessed to have developed habits that will be beneficial to me throughout my career in medicine, regardless of the path that lay before me. Dr. Borum is truly dedicated to allowing her undergraduates experience real, raw science and develop themselves, not only as pre-professionals, but more importantly as humans. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the countless hours she has spent answering my questions and guiding me throughout the various stages in my life. One particular characteristic that truly distinguishes Dr. Borum is her ability to explain the most complex of ideas in the simplest terms so as to not leave anyone out of the conversation, despite her deep understanding of its intricacies. This is something I hope to inculcate in myself and is important because far too often professionals get so caught up in their technical jargon that they end up having conversations with themselves. As a physician, this is especially important to remember when teaching doctors in training and when treating patients.

Jessica Parker

Picture Date: 01/17/2008

Graduation Date: Spring 2009

Notable Roles: Carnitine Team, Captain, Archiving Officer

Time Spent in IG: 2.5 Years

Email: jep63011@aol.com

Project(s): Plasma Carnitinome of HIV Positive Pediatric Patients

When I first walked into the lab on the fourth floor of the Food Science and Human Nutrition department I had a multitude of expectations. I expected to learn about carnitine, why it is important, and essential laboratory methods for conducting research. I believed I would then apply this knowledge to a specific project in a team setting. The InvestiGators Research Honor Society turned out to be so much more than I anticipated. It has truly changed my life in the past two and a half years and helped to shape the person that I am today as well as the physician and scientist I will be in the future. I have learned how to think and ask questions, read and write scientific papers, give presentations about my project, be a professional, lead a team, speak with patients and health care professionals, and surgical and sterile technique. I have learned that there is so much more time in the day than I previously believed, that I can handle long days and stressful situations, and my strengths and weaknesses as a individual and a professional. Dr. Borum, my colleagues, and others who have influenced my research have given me an invaluable insight into both science and myself; insight I don't think I could have experienced that to the same magnitude in any other undergraduate laboratory experience. I will always remember and draw upon the incredible opportunities that were presented to me in the InvestiGators.

I just started my third year of medical school at the University of Florida and am currently finishing my surgery rotation.  I am still considering all specialties as career choices but am thoroughly enjoying surgery; it reminds me of piglet experiments during IG!  I believe that the InvestiGators has contributed a large amount of knowledge and experience into making me the person I am today both personally and professionally.

Last Updated: 11/17/2011

Vinny Picascio

Picture Date: 01/17/2008

Graduation Date: Spring 2008

Notable Roles: Carnitine Team, HIPAA/IRB Officer

Time Spent in IG: 1 Years

Email: nynewyork02@aol.com

Project(s): Quantification of Seizures in Epileptic Patients on a Ketogenic Diet

I have had the opportunity to be a part of the InvestiGators for a little over a year and can say with no regret this commitment has been one of best choices of my life. The investigators helped mold me into the person I am today, both personally and professionally.

On a personal level, I have formed friendships with students of similar scientific interests and goals. Through interactions with these students I have learned the importance of trust and loyalty. I have also experienced the advantage of being pushed to strive for the highest level of performance. By being exposed to a large number of unique individuals, I have had the opportunity to learn something different from every student.

On a professional level, I have learned countless skills and information that I will treasure for life. I have learned to work in a team atmosphere as both a leader and learner. I have learned valuable scientific skills such as laboratory techniques, data analysis, assay procedures, and many other research procedures. Most importantly, I feel the InvestiGators has prepared me for whatever the future has in store for me.

Kathleen Relihan

Picture Date: 01/27/2012

Graduation Date: Fall 2007

Notable Roles: Carnitine Team, HIV/Carn Team, Co-Captain, Website Officer

Time Spent in IG: 2 Years

Email: kathleenrelihan@gmail.com

Project(s): Medication Score, a Clinical Tool for Use in Quantifying Antiretroviral Medications in HIV+ Patients

When I first transferred to UF I had no idea what to expect or how to maximize my education experiences.  I was very fortunate to be accepted as a member of the InvestiGators (IG) and subsequently helped transform my time at UF. As a member of the Carnitine Team, I was able to participate in preparing and performing piglet experiments, as well as gain a greater appreciation for keeping up to date with scientific articles and interacting with colleagues. My time with HIV/Carn allowed me to attend clinic and realize the importance of proper data collection, entry, auditing and analyzation.  So many people worked so hard before me, it encouraged myself to hold a high regard for the scientific ideals in order to help future IGers.  I was able to write a thesis focusing upon a tool to quantify antiretroviral medications in HIV+ patients.

IG helped me to think both in the scientific and clinical mindset and to not always accept what is written but question and explore.  I met some incredible people and gained immensely as a person during my time there.  I truly can say it was one of my top experiences while at UF because it made me to balance my daily activities, allowed me to garner other opportunities most undergraduate do not get and forced me to realize to always keep trying and never settle.

Currently, I am in medical school at the Sarasota Campus for FSU.  I am fortunate to have been placed at a center for t HIV care/treatment during my chronic care clerkship because of my IG experiences.  I am able to incorporate my IG experiences with many of my clinical rotations including caring for HIV+ patients, proper surgical technique and working as a team with all medical personnel in both hospital and clinical settings.   I am still trying to decide on my future speciality but I know somehow my “IG past” will influence how I care for my patients.  I will always have a passion towards working to raise HIV awareness and their quality of care which initially developed during my time in IG.

I hope all current and future InvestiGators are able to gain and take as much experience away from IG as I did.

Last Updated: 01/31/2012

John Schaub

Picture Date: 03/24/2011

Graduation Date: Spring 2012

Notable Roles: Gator Team, Biohazard Officer, P1010 Study

Time Spent in IG: 2 Years

Email: ttwins1@ufl.edu

Project(s): Metabolic Assessment of Pediatric Patients with Chronic Disease

Before IG I had an idea of what both research and clinical work were, but had never been directly exposed. The opportunities offered to me on the Gator Team have been more than I could ever dream of. I was able to work with HIV-positive pediatric patients, HIV-exposed babies, and their families down at Shands. I will carry these experiences with me for the rest of my life. I was able to present on the Gator Team's Metabolic Assessment at the Experimental Biology in San Diego, CA. The ability to listen and talk with some of the most prominent professionals from around the country was a life-changing experience. I was also fortunate to be able to work with data from the P1010 study. This involves data from HIV-positive patients from around the country. Not only have I worked with the data from our specific patient population here in Gainesville, but with patients from other clinic as well. This has allowed us to analyze the effects of nutrition on the overall health of this unique population.

I will be attending medical school at the William Carey College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg, MS beginning in Fall 2012. This unique experience will allow me to pursue my dreams while applying much of the health and nutrition knowledge that I have accrued from working with Dr. Borum.

Andrew Thomas

Graduation Date: Spring 2007

Notable Roles: Gator Team

Time Spent in IG: 2 Years

Email: athomas3@ufl.edu

What did you learn from this experience?

There are too many things to list.  My time on the Investigators taught me how to critically analyze journal articles, examine patient data both retrospectively and in the clinical setting, and interact with patients and physicians.  It challenged me to always find ways to improve systems and procedures.  It developed my time management, planning, and higher thinking skills.
My current studies in medicine have been greatly improved because of IG.  I have a much better understanding of some of the basic sciences because of IG, but more importantly my patient care skills are significantly developed because I had almost two years of experience with the team.

What impact did this experience have on you?

Working with an HIV-infected patient population exposes you to the world of people living with a chronic illness that bears a social stigma.  Many patients’ lives were further complicated by the social and economic burdens they faced.  Getting the perspective of the physicians and social worker gave me a more complete picture of our patients than simple data values could have. Knowing their stories and their background gave my work more purpose and motivated me when the hours grew long

Sinthana Umakanthan

Picture Date: 01/17/2008

Graduation Date: Spring 2009

Notable Roles : Carnitine Team, Personnel Officer, Website Officer

Time Spent in IG: 1.5 Years

Project(s): The Relationship of Ketogenic Therapy Prescription and Fatty Acid Profile Intake

I thought I had been invited into Dr. Borum’s lab solely to learn about Carnitine and laboratory techniques but, over the past two years, I have gained much more than that. I have been a researcher, a learner, a leader, and a team player. After spending 80 hours over the course of nine days to conduct surgeries, draw urine, draw blood, and feed a lab-created formula to neonatal piglets made me (and everyone else) realize that I am capable. Responsibilities such as training team members forced me to become proficient in all areas. As a result, I feel as though I have learned the ins and outs of data entry because of the Nutrition Data System for Research, and thoroughly appreciate the meaning of “sterile technique.” Every person who has spent at least a year as an InvestiGator has left learning something they never expected to learn about him or herself. I have learned my strengths and weaknesses—my passions and dislikes. I now know exactly how I want to impact society, through translational research and education. The InvestiGators and Dr. Borum pushed me every day to become a better individual, and I will always carry these experiences with me.

Joann Wong

Graduation Date: Spring 2010

Notable Roles: KetoGator Team

It seems so long ago that I've been in room 409. I miss it! I'm currently writing to you from Spartanburg, SC. I just completed day 3 of orientation at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM). It's a brand new branch campus from the original VCOM in Blacksburg, Virginia that is affiliated with Virginia Tech. The campus is almost finished but they are still working on completing our third floor anatomy lab and simulation center. The building is amazing!

I am very excited to begin medical school and could not have done it without Dr. Borum's guidance and my amazing experiences and opportunities through the InvestiGators. I graduated in May of 2010, so I took a year off before matriculating this year. During my time off, I worked for Walt Disney World and spent time in my hometown of Orlando with my family. I felt the year off was exactly what I needed and do not regret taking an extra year before starting medical school. It allowed me to gather my thoughts have some time for myself before diving into the next chapter of my life. 

With just three days under my belt and sitting around 161 classmates, I feel a little bit more comfortable with what's to come (only a little--it's actually really intimidating at the same time). This largely has to do with the habits I developed while at UF and as a part of IG. I definitely feel IG, and specifically as a KetoGator, has helped me develop skill sets and good habits that several of my classmates do not seem to have master so far. I've met a lot of people who have not had the clinical exposure or research background that I have had thanks to Dr. Borum and IG and really appreciated all Dr. Borum has allowed me to accomplish. I know my clinical experiences and time management skills gained from IG will help me in the long run. 

Hope everyone is doing well and excited for another semester! I definitely miss UF a lot but I am loving my VCOM family and Spartanburg a lot as well and really enjoying it!

Last Updated: 11/17/2011

 

 

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Dr. Peggy R. Borum
University of Florida
FSHN Department
P. O. Box #110370
Gainesville, FL 32611-0370

409A FSHN Bldg
Newell Drive
UF Campus

prb@ufl.edu
Phone: 352-392-7553
Fax: 352-392-8957

 

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