Research & Teamwork at the Reese Lab

Shristi Mapchan, COL ’25, Lilburn, GA

This summer, I did research at the Reese Lab at PennMedicine this summer, focusing on research of transplant nephrology. I worked on a variety of projects and worked with different teams of people at both the Reese Lab and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

This was a lab that I had been a part of previously during the school year, in which I continued my work over the summer. The beginning of my summer focused on collecting data from patient charts in order to study the symptoms of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in post-transplant patients. This was a routine and methodologic job as I was sorting through labs and medicine lists, which required a lot of time. I became familiar with the EPIC software, which is a database hospitals use to store patient charts and data and RedCap, a data entry software used to collect clinical data. Then after that stage, we began to work with an epidemiologist as well in order to refine that CMV data. This was the most challenging and interesting stage of my project.

This part was a much less methodological job as it required me to use more critical thinking and focus on the soft skills of research. I was responsible for not only finding the patient data through laid out spreadsheets and labs, but I had to become well-accustomed to reading doctors’ office notes, admissions and discharge papers, and figure out how to get a broader understanding of each patient. With this, I would study, understand, and make broad summaries of each patient’s file for my PI. As an aspiring physician, this was very valuable and allowed me to see a different side of patient care.

I also met with the team of doctors multiple times to troubleshoot as we went through the data, and it was a big trial and error process. It helped me to understand and be a part of the thought process of researchers in clinical research. There were so many specifics and things to look out for — just deciding which patients’ data was going to be used and which had to be left out took questions and discussions from people of different departments.

Seeing that kind of collaboration and work it required from everyone has made me only more interested in this kind of clinical research work for the future. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work here this summer, and I look forward to returning to the Reese Lab this fall and continuing my research.

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2022 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

By Career Services
Career Services