Archived entries for Rady Children’s Hospital

reresearching (or, finally researching again)

My favorite part of an undergraduate education is doing research for papers. It is the thing I miss most in the summer, so I requested an off-campus VPN log-in so I can get my research fix whenever and wherever I want, as long as I have my laptop. That “Proud to Be a Nerd” moment aside, yesterday, my computer at NSI was set up with access to journal articles abound and I was able to dig for information about infant neural development, cortisol levels, stress in the NICU, infant perception of music, etc. etc. If only Rob Haley could see me now. He is Haverford’s Interlibrary Loan (ILL)  librarian who has definitely written a poem or two to cope with how often I request articles.

Yesterday at Children’s, Dr. Knight gave me the task of perusing through the data input program to familiarize myself with its format to speed up the process of entering data when the study actually gets underway. After this task, Abbie, Dr. Knight’s assistant, gave me a PowerPoint document that included a lot of info about the NICU to help me get a better grasp about how RCHSD’s NICU is set up.

Finally, I gave myself the assignment of looking through all of the various heart conditions that plague infants, neatly described on this website for parents and Wikipedia. I’ve been keeping notes while at the hospital of little snippets of doctorspeak to look up when I get to a computer again in hopes of picking up some of their language. I’m finally getting there with some of the acronyms, as observed in native speakers with sentences like, “This one is SGA* with PDA** and needs ECMO*** stat.” (This sentence does not refer to any baby in particular, and I’m not even sure if ECMO would be needed for a patient with PDA, but I’m learning the nouns and adjectives first, okay? I’m getting there.)

*SGA – small for gestational age

**PDA – patent ductus arteriosis, a heart problem that results from a failure of the ductus arteriosus (a blood vessel connecting the aorta and the pulmonary arteries in fetuses) to close, resulting in a mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood and strain on the lung arteries and the heart

***ECMO – extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, essentially a heart-lung machine

day one

So much about which to blog. So little energy left. So I’ll give a quick rundown.

Today marked my official first day of work at the Neurosciences Institute. Finally, NSI has become a place where living, breathing people do incredible science instead of a series buildings that had been entering my dreams on an increasingly regular basis.

Although I included a nearly identical photograph in an earlier entry about the Institute, this picture was taken with my camera.

Upon arrival, I had some lunch (catered by NSI, tasty, intended to encourage interdepartmental dialogue) with Dr. John Iversen, one of Ani’s colleagues and the second researcher involved with this summer’s NICU project. Towards the end of lunch, Ani met up with me and we ventured to Rady Children’s Hospital to meet with Dr. Gail Knight. The three of us went over some of the more logistical things regarding the study, and then Ani and I returned to NSI. I got acclimated to my office, and that was pretty much it for day one. Today, it became clearer than ever the degree of intelligence that will surround me this summer. I’m already honored.

After work, I took an extremely congested route to join UCSD’s gym and it took me approximately thirty-five minutes in rush hour traffic. Upon arrival, the receptionist told me a much easier way to get there: drive two blocks. Thanks, GPS. Your system may have succeeded at positioning me globally, but it lacked efficiency, to say the least. Stressed, frustrated, and a little stir crazy from the car (I need to get used to the amount of time I’m going to spend in a vehicle), I went to the Torrey Pines Glider Port.

Before I left the house this morning, Penny suggested that I go there, and this suggestion was seconded and thirded by  gentlemen at lunch. I sat down, read, and slowly ate my dinner (avocado, tomato, mozzarella, caramelized onion sandwich on baguette bread). There is nothing like an hour and a half of listening to the ocean while watching the sun pierce the clouds to relax you. It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Pacific Ocean. Hopefully next time we can get a little more intimate.

I would say that my destress period was perfect, save for one detail. I didn’t have headphones and could not listen to the music that I craved: Sigur Ros.

When I finally returned home, I was catching Jay and Penny up on my adventures when the phone rang. One of their lovely family friends called to let me know that PBS was airing a NOVA program called “Musical Minds.” We watched it together; blog entry on the topic to come soon.

Summer Research

This summer Genna Cherichello ‘11 will be in San Diego, CA, working with Aniruddh D. Patel, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at the Neurosciences Institute (NSI) and Gail Knight, M.D., Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Rady Children’s Hospital. Their collaborative project will focus on how music affects physiological measures of stress in babies recovering from cardiac surgery.

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