Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2009
Mentor: Ted Mau, MD PhD. Assistant Professor.
Department: Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Room number: G7.218
Mail Code: 9035
Phone number: 214-648-2042
Project title: Aerodynamic phonatory measurements in an excised larynx model
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): not applicable
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): not applicable
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:
This is a unique opportunity for a student with an undergraduate engineering background to work on a project that spans biomechanics, physiology, and human disease. We are interested in setting up an excised larynx phonation apparatus. This will allow us to measure the minimum air flow and pressure necessary to initiate vibrations of the vocal cords of an excised animal or human larynx in a laboratory. The information from this type of study is key to advancing our knowledge of vocal fold biomechanics and the effect of various types of surgeries on voice production. The student is expected to be involved in the design, assembly, and testing of such an apparatus consisting of a flow meter, manometer, pressure transducers, a data acquisition board, and PC interface. The design of the apparatus is well-described and has been used by our colleagues around the country. We also have the exact components necessary. This project is thus well-defined, has a clear end-point, carries minimal risk of failure, and highly suited for someone who would like to bring it to fruition.
Through the process of assembling the excised larynx phonation setup, the student will also learn, via directed teaching by the mentor and directed reading, laryngeal physiology and biomechanics as they relate to human laryngeal disorders. Our goal is that by the end of the summer, the student will have preliminary aerodynamics data generated on the apparatus s/he assembled. If the student did play a significant role in the successful assembly of the setup as outlined above, s/he will be a co-author on the first paper published based on data from this setup. If the student is involved in further data gathering in other projects, s/he will also be a co-author on publications on those projects.
While Dr. Mau, a laryngologist, is the primary mentor responsible, the student will also benefit from interacting with Dr. Roger Chan, a voice scientist who directs the Laryngeal Biomechanics and Physiology Laboratory at UTSW, in which this project will be carried out. Dr. Mau is a member of the laboratory.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
This is my first year as a junior faculty member. My experience so far has been on the other side of summer research, i.e. as a student researcher myself in high school, college, and medical school. Rather than simply looking for another pair of hands, I want to make this a fun experience that both the student and mentor find worthwhile.
Dr. Chan, in whose laboratory this project will take place, has supervised UTSW medical students in the past:
Chan RW, Fu M, Young L, Tirunagari N. Relative contributions of collagen and elastin to elasticity of the vocal fold under tension. (2007) Annals of Biomedical Engineering 35, 1471-1483.