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1st Row (L-R) Kristeen Bulluck, Lindsay Womack, Jazmine Aira, Renee Fleeman, Suzanna Pratt, Amruta Mhashilkar, and Kristyn Rodzinyak
2nd Row (L-R) Stephanie Randall-Watts, Andrea Low, Catherine Smith, Joseph Coleman, and Sinhara Silva

2nd Annual Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium

The Inaugural Statewide Research Symposium event was held here at USF in 2013 and was designed to showcase the best graduate-level research being carried out across Florida. Building on this legacy, the 2015 Florida Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium was held on Friday, April 24, 2015 at University of Central Florida. 81 students, who were winners of events at their respective Universities, participated in the symposium to showcase their diverse, high-quality research and creative work undertaken by graduate students. 13 students from USF traveled to UCF to present their research and network with other students and faculty from various Florida institutions of higher learning. The day consisted of a two-hour poster session with each student receiving feedback from a faculty member in their area of study and a reception afterwards where each school was able to have a group photo taken. Kudos to UCF College of Graduate Studies and Vice Provost Ross Hinkle and his staff for organizing a wonderful event. We look forward to next year's event at the University of Florida.

Early on the Friday morning of the event, both Gary Oliver and Dr. Eric Hoyer from the Office of Graduate Studies gathered together the USF winners to head to UCF and support our graduate student researchers. 11 students rode with Gary and Dr. Hoyer in two vans, while 3 others met at UCF to compete with the other Florida graduate student researchers. Two graduate students from USF won first place for their research in their prospective categories.

Engineering (First Place Winner)

Jazmine Aira, Sergio Gutierrez, Brandon Santoni, Mark Frankle, Peter Simon
Title: Image-based 3D morphometric analysis of the clavicle intramedullary canal in male population
Major Professor: William Lee
College: EN
Program: Chemical & Biomedical Engineering

Clavicle fractures predominately occur in the young adult male population. Current treatments involve superior/anterior clavicle plating. However, external plating has been associated with post-surgical complications. Intramedullary(IM) fixation of mid-shaft clavicle fractures may be a feasible surgical alternative. Prior to introduction clinically, a true 3D morphometric study of the clavicular geometry is necessary to determine the requisite design features of an IM device. The objectives are: 1-Ascertain the largest radius of the device. 2-Estimate canal curvature by measuring its distance from the fixed longitudinal axis. The clinical CT-scans of 53 male shoulders were included. A total of 39 clavicle models were segmented in MIMICS from the CT-scans. A custom-written automatic algorithm (MATLAB) was utilized for the subsequent data analysis: principal component analysis, normalization, and inscribed and circumscribed circle fitting to the model cross-sections. The smallest IM canal and clavicle radii were seen at different clavicle lengths; thus, one may not estimate the location of the narrowest canal region based on external clavicle visualization alone. In addition, maximum IM canal and clavicle deviation was at a different lengths(42% and 78%) and (40% and 76%), implying, there exists an eccentricity of the IM canal center with respect to the clavicle center. Also, IM canal device with a maximum radius of 3.4mm may serve as a viable alternative to external plate fixation of mid-shaft clavicle fractures. This 3D data set provides a more accurate spatial geometry representation and serves as a requisite platform in the design process of IM-based device for clavicle fractures.

Behavioral Sciences (First Place Winner)

Stephanie Randall-Watts, Lauren Tabor, Joy Gaziano, Raele Robison, Kathryn Turner, Tuan Vu, Emily Plowman
Title: Presence of Huffing During Voluntary Cough is Associated with Penetration-Aspiration in Individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Major Professor: Emily Plowman
College: BC
Program: Communication Sciences & Disorders

Purpose: Examine the relationship between perceptual clinical ratings of voluntary cough production and airway safety during swallowing in individuals with ALS.

Methods: 44 individuals with a diagnosis of ALS underwent a videofluoroscopic swallowing evaluation and performed a voluntary cough task. A blinded rater scored: 1) Penetration-aspiration scale, 2) Presence/absence of aberrant perceptual cough features (see table 1) and 3) Quantitative cough scores using a 100mm visual analogue scale (cough strength /100, loudness /100, effectiveness/100). Chi-square and Spearman's Rho analyses were performed.

Results: Aberrant cough signs in rank order included: Voicing 50%, Huffing 15.9%, Inspiratory stridor 6%, and Wet /Gurgled 4.5%. The presence of huffing was significantly higher in ALS individuals who penetrated/aspirated (75%) vs. those who did not (4%), X2=6.9, p=0.009. Negative associations were revealed between PAS scores and cough strength (r=-0.49,p<0.05) and cough effectiveness (r=-0.51,p<0.05). Total VAS cough score did not differ across airway safety groups (p>0.05). A positive relationship was observed between global disease progression and cough strength (r=0.59,p<0.05) and cough effectiveness (r=0.61,p<0.05).

Discussion: Huffing during voluntary cough production was associated with penetration and/or aspiration. This deviant auditory feature of cough may be useful in identifying individuals with poor airway protection. Further work is warranted to determine the utility of perceptual cough ratings in clinical screening of aspiration risk in ALS.