Friday, December 07, 2007

A Day Devoted to Research

I had thought up until about a week ago that the final paper was due for my clinical trials class yesterday because I wrote it down wrong in my calendar, but I got a reprieve. It's not due until next week. So, I am going to be spending this weekend working on it, but I'm very, very grateful for the extra week! The other nice thing is that after next week, there will be no more crack of dawn Thursdays for me for the rest of this year.

Today we finished our PBL case and had two seminars on pancreatic tumors and ectopic hormone production. ("Ectopic" means that the hormone is being produced by tissue somewhere in the body that isn't supposed to be producing it.) We also had another one of those small group research planning sessions instead of the normal POD/ARM seminar. I was initially wary after how badly the last one went, but this one was a lot better. A big part of it is that our PBL case this week had several engaging scientific and ethical issues (unlike the last one we had to use), and we came up with a research idea that is actually interesting. I'm not sure how feasible it is, but it would be cool if it could be done. Basically, we want to look at pancreatic tumor markers to differentiate tumors which secrete hormones that are normally produced by the pancreas (ex. insulin) versus tumors which secrete hormones not usually produced by the pancreas (ex. growth hormone). Our hypothesis is that the former come from differentiated pancreatic cells, while the latter come from from pancreatic stem cells. The existence of pancreatic stem cells was only discovered quite recently, so it's a hot field.

This afternoon, I met with a researcher who I am considering working with for my research year. We discussed some possible ideas. I wasn't particularly gung ho about any of them, but he was open to me coming up with something else. So I really need to spend some time thinking about exactly what project I want to work on this spring and summer. Then I will need to start working on convincing someone to fund me for it. :-P

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