Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2006
Mentors: James P. McCulley, MD and Igor A. Butovich, PhD
Room number: E7.140
Mail Code: 9057
Phone number: 214-648-3523
E-mail: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Project title: "Biophysical characterization of the tear film lipids that are produced by meibomian glands"
Based on the following research projects: 1) "A placebo controlled double
masked clinical assessment study of essential fatty acid supplement and its
effects on patients with apparent aqueous deficient dry eye syndrome" (IRB
#082004-008), and 2) "A prospective clinical study employing diagnostic
assessment measures to classify patients within clinical diagnosis of dry eye
disease and meibomian gland dysfunction versus normal controls" (IRB #062005-070).
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): IRBs #082004-008 and 062005-070
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): n/a
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects): Basic research
Brief Description of Project: Meibomian glands (MG) are responsible for producing lipids that are intrinsic parts of the tear film lipid layer (TFLL) which, among other functions, protects corneal epithelial cells from drying out. Maintaining the optimal biochemical composition of the MG secretions is crucial for maintaining the functionality of the TFLL. In certain cases, for example, in the patients with dry eye syndrome (DES), the TFLL deteriorates, partly because of the changes in the quality of the MG secretions. In order to ascertain the mechanisms that lead to deterioration of the TFLL, we are planning on conducting biophysical studies of the lipids found in the MG secretions. The studies will include: 1) surface tension measurements with the help of a Langmuir trough to characterize human MG secretions and artificial lipid mixtures; 2) fluorescence microscopy of the lipid layers formed of MG secretions; 3) melting point determination of MG secretions and artificial lipid mixtures. In addition, the student will be able to participate in medical evaluation of human subjects and will get familiar with the basic diagnostic tools that are used in our eye clinic to diagnose DES (meibography, fluorophotometry, tear film evaporation measurements, etc.).
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
Return to Medical Student Research Page