"I applied to the Scholars program in order to benefit from my research experience as much as I possibly can. Although I contribute to the integral efforts of my clinic/lab, I sought out pursuing my own project in hopes of developing critical thinking skills and an experience not available inside the classroom. What I learn in the lab and academically differ greatly and I am always eager to expand how I learn and what I know. Dr. Staud has required unorthodox analysis of common bodily functions and has beckoned thoughts that are always questioning how our body operates. I wish to further this education and develop internally as I tackle this research project. All these skills will suit me well in my future professional endeavors."
I aspire to get into medical school this year as I complete my senior year as a biochemistry major. I desire continuing my research interests in medical school seeking out clinical research. Currently, my interests lie in oncology. I have taken on research in rheumatology, however, for my research because I found its topics intriguing. Although pain is something we all experience, it is not something anyone ponders too profoundly. Encountering women with chronic pain that rarely subsides has raised many questions on the processes of the body. It has sparked new interest in the complexities of the body.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Florida Bright Futures
- Keep a Child Alive
- Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night
- Center for musculoskeletal Pain Research
Hope Lodge, Light the Night, St. Francis House, The Atrium's Senior Citizen Prom, Florida Diabetes Camp's Fall Festival, and the Center for Musculoskeletal Pain Research.
Hobbies and Interests
- Cooking, reading, spanish novels, and biking.
Body Image: Perception and Pain
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome that has profound effects on patients’ lives. An important area of interest is how chronic pain may influence a patient’s perception of their bodies. My research will particularly focus on the association between the patient’s perception of extremity size and how it varies with their pain level. This will be done by taking a picture of their hand, scaling it to sizes both larger and smaller than their actual hand, and randomizing the order of the images to be shown in a slideshow to the FM patient. The patient will then be asked to distinguish which image they identify to be the actual size of their hand. Pain levels will be assessed throughout the experiment. Also, there will be a period of pain induction in which a small clamp will be attached (to induce a pain level of 4-5 on a 0-10 scale) to their ear during their forced choice of hand image. It will be evaluated if their image size changes during this period. Research has been done supporting the concept that motor-sensory conflict can intensify pain and sensory perceptions in FM patients to a larger extent than in normal controls (McCabe). Finally, it has been found that optical illusions can modulate pain thresholds. Specifically there was a correlation between enlargement of the hand and analgesia as well as reduced hand size and pain (Mancini). Therefore, my hypothesis is that FM patients will show bias towards the size of their hands as being smaller when they are in pain (as they are daily) and will consequently apply this to the selected hand images, thus choosing a smaller hand image in comparison to normal, pain free controls. Proving this correlation provides hope for proprioception therapy to induce a desired, analgesic effect.