Summer Studentships 2020
Deadline extended to 5.00pm, Saturday 29th February 2020
The Centre for Public Health (CPH) Summer Research Programme provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in office and/or laboratory-based research during the summer months. Each participant will be assigned to the research project of a Principal Investigator within CPH and will be part of an enthusiastic research team comprising academic staff, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants, PhD students, clerical and technical staff. The projects will run for an eight-week period between June and September 2020 and students will be expected to be in attendance Monday to Friday on a full-time basis.
Students currently enrolled for Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, Dentistry or a related discipline who have completed at least one year of full-time study from any UK Higher Education Institution are eligible to apply. Each summer studentship pays a student stipend of £150 per week. All successful applicants will automatically be considered for a studentship.
The application process is now open. Please submit a current CV including your full academic profile (or transcript), your student number if you are a QUB student and a covering letter stating your reasons for applying to the Programme with the Centre for Public Health and the names and contact details of two referees. Please email your application to the Centre Manager, Niamh McElherron – N.McElherron@qub.ac.uk by 5.00pm on 29th February 2020.
We will list our projects as they become available - watch this space!:
Development of a Patient Information Leaflet on Barrett’s oesophagus - supervised by Professor Helen Coleman
Patients diagnosed with Barrett’s oesophagus report receiving confusing and inconsistent information on their diagnosis. Although usually a benign condition, a small proportion of patients with Barrett’s oesophagus can progress to dysplasia and oesophageal adenocarcinoma. This increased risk of cancer can be very worrying for patients. Such anxiety is often unnecessarily heightened by misleading information from the internet or other sources.
The purpose of this project will be to collate existing sources of information on Barrett’s oesophagus and to work with patients, researchers and clinicians to co-produce a Patient Information Leaflet. The resulting leaflet could potentially be distributed to future individuals who receive a Barrett’s oesophagus diagnosis in Northern Ireland, if successfully piloted.
MOSAICC Study – a study of a rare type of blood cancer - supervised by Dr Lesley Anderson
Blood cancer is the 5th most common type of cancer in the UK but there are many types. The cause of one group of blood cancers, collectively called myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), remains unknown. My research team is leading a UK-wide study (MOSAICC study) to identify the causes of MPNs across 20 hospitals in the UK. As part of the MOSAICC study patients with MPNs are being recruited via their doctor. The data from the study will be analysed to determine potential causes of MPNs and how to improve patient quality of life. A systematic review of the literature is also underway to help us identify what may cause these rare blood cancers.
The successful student will assist the research team by helping with the MOSAICC study and completing the systematic review. They will have the opportunity to complete Good Clinical Practice training (receiving a certificate) and contribute to a research article that will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Associated duties may include:
Identification of research articles by searching online databases.
- Review of research articles and data abstraction.
- Preparing site packs to the multiple sites involved in the study.
- Collecting and recording details received from study sites onto respective databases.
Ethnic variation in healthcare utilisation among asthmatics: a systematic review and meta-analysis - supervised by Dr John Busby
Asthma is a common condition characterised by symptoms of cough, wheeze and breathlessness. It effects 300 million individuals worldwide and is responsible for more than 250,000 deaths annually. The UK has one of the worst death rates for asthma in Europe, and these have increased by 20% over the last five years.
Previous research studies have reported poorer healthcare outcomes among asthmatics from ethnic minorities. Reducing inequalities is a key priority for the NHS, making it crucial to understand the cause of these differences in order to support the introduction of interventions to ensure equitable care. Previous studies summarising the evidence around ethnic variation in asthma have tended to focus on particular subgroups (e.g. limited to the UK) or are outdated. An updated analysis drawing evidence from across the world is required to fully describe the current evidence.
This project aims to conduct a systematic review of all studies investigating differences in asthma healthcare utilisation (e.g. GP consultations, A&E attendances, hospital admissions) between ethnic groups. Students will gain hands on experience of how to effectively search the literature, design a database to efficiently screen and collect data, and write up the results. It would be expected that the student would be included as a co-author on any outputs from the project including peer-reviewed journal articles.
Medical monitoring of road cyclists pre-ride: What screening tools should we use to optimise physical and mental performance? - supervised by Dr Neil Heron
When professional road cyclists wake up in the morning prior to starting their race, they are asked to undertake a number of screening tools to optimise their physical and mental performance during the race. These screening tools, for example, can include urinalysis for signs of dehydration and assessment of their psychological readiness to take part in the race that day. What is the evidence for these screening tools and if you were proposing a new screening proforma for a professional road cycling team, would tests would you suggest and why? I therefore want you to undertake a systematic review of the evidence around screening tests used prior to participation in sport and from the evidence collected, then propose a rational set of screening tests to be used on road cyclists on the morning of the race. I would hope to get this review published in a peer reviewed journal.
Dentists’ attitudes and perceived barriers in providing domiciliary oral healthcare to older adults - supervised by Dr Gerry McKenna and Dr Sinead Watson
The most recent UK Adult Dental Health Survey 2009 shows that the proportion of older adults with total tooth loss has fallen over the past few decades. Although this indicates an improvement in oral health in this population group it inevitably presents several challenges to dental services. Within Northern Ireland the General Dental Service and the Community Dental Service provide dental care for older adults. Both services provide dental treatment on a domiciliary basis at a care facility or in the patient’s own home. General Dental Practitioner’s, however, appear to be less willing to undertake domiciliary visits, placing a huge burden on the Community Dental Service, which don’t have the staff or resources to manage. Defining the barriers that prevent GDPs undertaking domiciliary oral healthcare in older dependent adults and identifying what they perceive are the solutions may ultimately help optimise the provision of domiciliary oral healthcare for this population group. The aim of this study is to undertake interviews with General Dentist Practitioners to explore their attitudes towards domiciliary oral healthcare provision for older adults, and the barriers they experience providing this type of service.
The successful student will gain vast experience in qualitative data collection and analysis. Furthermore, this project will allow the student to gain experience writing scientific abstracts and presenting their research findings.
Audit of Oesophageal Cancers - supervised by Dr Anna Gavin
The Northern Ireland Cancer Registry has received funding to undertake an analysis of the presentation, diagnostic pathway, treatment and outcomes for selected groups of cancer patients. This project would involve the student examining existing clinical audits in UK and working alongside skilled NICR analysts and clinicians help to develop the datasets to be collected in N. Ireland to facilitate comparisons over time ( previous audits have been reported see www.qub.ac.uk/nicr/reports and provide new useful clinical information. Training would be available with the work likely to lead to an abstract submitted to an international conference.
Routes to Diagnosis for Cancer Patients – What can outpatient data contribute - supervised by Dr Anna Gavin
Cancer Patients may present via A&E, screening, from General Practice, Hospital Routine Clinics or from a Red Flag Primary Care system where presenting symptoms alert to a possible diagnosis of cancer. The NI Cancer Registry acquires routinely, information on screening status and emergency presentation but not outpatients. This project would involve working in a team environment to examine available outpatient codes to determine value in documenting tests and Route to Diagnosis. It will give experience of cancer datasets. Work will also involve analysis of routes to diagnosis data and production of a brief report. A Poster presentation at an international meeting is likely.
Cancer: a global perspective - supervised by Dr Charlene McShane
This studentship will provide an excellent opportunity for students interested in gaining experience in both global health and cancer research. The student will work within a multi-disciplinary research team to support ongoing/planned cancer focused research projects within Mongolia, Vietnam and/or Uganda. Activities will vary depending on the interest of the student but will include opportunity to gain experience in data analysis, critical appraisal, scientific writing and communication. The work undertaken during this studentship may be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed manuscript with the student included as a co-author.
Obesity and Prostate Cancer - supervised by Professor Jayne Woodside and Dr Roisin O'Neill
This studentship will involve assisting in the completion of a systematic review and meta-analysis to explore the association between obesity-related hormones and prostate cancer risk and progression. This will include completion of a comprehensive search of medical databases to identify relevant articles for inclusion in the review, as well as the extraction of data from published research eligible for inclusion.
The student will also have the opportunity to contribute to the analysis of qualitative data collected as part of an interview study exploring the dietary and lifestyle behaviours of men with prostate cancer and their partners/caregivers post cancer diagnosis. This will provide an understanding of qualitative data methodology and coding of qualitative data.