Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Urological Impressions Final Episode - The Return of the PhD

Hii everyone! This is the final installment of the urological impressions series of the Cornell BME Summer Immersion of 2010. I am sad yet also happy to say that I will be returning to Ithaca soon to continue my PhD research at Cornell U. Sad because NYC is my hometown where I grew up and during this summer I made a lot of good friends and had many memorable moments; but happy because I hope to continue working on my thesis research as well as move into my new apartment up there.

For my final week here in NYP I worked mostly on my research project since the sodium oxalate I ordered finally came in. So I spent my time in lab testing out different responses to different concentrations of sodium oxalate and calcium chloride. In all my tests whether or not I submerged a stainless steel paperclip in the solution, there was precipitation at some point of calcium oxalate. For most of my tests involving lithogenesis with paper clips I tried to establish a concentrations of .5 mM of sodium oxalate and calcium chloride under constant stirring. My experiments ranged from 2 hours to 24 hours just to see the effects and I am happy to report that the paperclips have all calcified to the degree positively correlated to the experiment run time. Knowing that lithogenic metal undergoes lithogenesis in this experiment helps me establish a positive control for future experiments. I also hope to obtain a calcium ion-selective electrode in the future to help me quantify the calcium ion concentration in solution over time for a more quantitative result as well as take SEM pictures of the crystals formed on the clips. Once this has been established I will move on to testing lithogenesis on various elastomeric biomaterials for potential use in an artificial bladder.

I also saw the last part of a complex surgery this week on a male patient in his 60's who was suffering from renal cancer designated T3c. The tumor had spread all the way from his left kidney up into the inferior vena cava; this was a joint surgery between my mentor Dr. Scherr and Dr. Giradi who was a cardiac surgeon. Briefly, in order to fully remove the tumor they had to divert blood away from the heart using a machine in to stop the heart and allow the doctors to push the tumor out of heart so that they could remove the whole tumor at once. The head was iced and the blood was cooled by the machine to prevent neural damage during this part of the procedure. Once the tumor was removed the doctors worked to reperfuse the heart and warm up the body to allow the patient to natural circulate his blood. They inserted a temporary pacemaker into the patient to help coordinate his pace with his reperfusion.

I would like to sincerely thank my mentor Dr. Scherr and all of his residents for being patient with me and showing a great time in the OR and hospital. I have learned a lot here and of the importance of developing technologies to aid in medical care and treatment, I will carry this motivation forwards with me as I continue on my PhD research career. I would also like to thank Dr. Frayer and Dr. Wang for organizing this whole summer endeavor and treating the whole BME class to a delicious farewell dinner. May all the Cornell BME students prosper in the years to come!!!

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