CTSI services and resources helped MD-PhD students conduct a clinical trial and publish findings

Updated Nov. 20, 2020

Written by Meghan Meyer

A group of UF medical students who are also pursuing research doctoral degrees switched from training mode to execution mode with real-world impact recently when they published findings of a clinical trial.

The five students in the UF College of Medicine’s MD-PhD Training Program, affiliated with the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute, found that obese participants and participants with a specific genotype had a stronger response to pneumococcal infection vaccine, and they published their paper “Obesity and STING1 genotype associate with 23-valent pneumococcal vaccination efficacy” in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight in May.

The UF MD-PhD program trains a new generation of physician scientists with a focus on multidisciplinary collaboration and team science. As part of the program’s clinical practicum experience, a feature unique to UF, the students asked a question of their choosing, wrote a protocol for human subject research, submitted to various regulatory agencies including the Institutional Review Board, recruited participants, analyzed data, wrote a manuscript, and published the paper. All completed in addition to their expected academic responsibilities. READ MORE…

daniel stribling (GS-3 student)

Resuscitating the Mercury Beating Heart: An Improvement on the Classic Demo

The mercury beating heart is a dramatic demonstration of redox chemistry that allows for the direct conversion of chemical energy to mechanical energy without involving a machine to accomplish the transfer. Unfortunately, instructors often avoid this demonstration due to difficulties initiating the oscillating redox reaction that drives the process. Here, we describe a new method for initiating the mercury beating heart demonstration that significantly reduces the setup time and makes it easier to sustain the “beating heart” oscillations.

Daniel Stribling


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Kudos to Sorrentino on his successful, clinical trial publication, “An Erythritol-Sweetened Beverage Induces Satiety and Suppresses Ghrelin Compared to Aspartame in Healthy Non-Obese Subjects: A Pilot Study.” This publication describes a double-blind, randomized, two way cross-over trial involving 12 research subjects which was conceptualized, organized, submitted for IRB review, conducted and analyzed by a team of seven MD- PhD students matriculating in 2015. Their faculty mentors included Drs. Heldermon, Gautam, and Brantly. Facilities and research support were provided by the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute and grant UL1 TR001427 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Zachary Sorrentino

Disclaimer: The images on this page were taken prior to national guidelines of face coverings and social distancing.