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Research Assistant: Roland Scaife ’17 at the Sheba Medical Center

For my third co-op as a biomed major at Antioch, I volunteered as a research assistant for Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer, Israel. Sheba Medical Center is the largest hospital in Israel, and one of the largest in the Middle East. Its mission is to provide excellent, comprehensive care to patients without discrimination, and to promote medical research, funding and education on national and global levels. I was focused specifically on research in the department of radiation oncology.

Radiation oncology is a subfield of oncology that focuses on the use of radiation in the treatment of cancer patients. Dr. Goldstein is a practicing physician whose research is on motion-management through the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The intention is to improve scans and increase the effectiveness of treatments by minimizing errors that can occur from the natural movements of basic physiological functions like breathing.

CPAP has been used widely as a treatment for sleep apnea. It prevents the collapse of the airways during sleep by maintaining a continuous pressure that forces the airways open. Although Dr. Goldstein’s initial research on CPAP’s effect on lung volume has been released, there is still significant research necessary to determine CPAP’s total effect on a patient’s body during scans and treatment. Dr. Goldstein posits that using a CPAP machine will reduce breathing movement and prevent errors in scans, which will allow more accurate treatment.

At Sheba Medical Center, I worked with two other Antioch College students, Meridian Howes ‘17 and Tess Haskin ‘17—also research assistants for Dr. Goldstein’s CPAP project. We have done things like measuring the volume of the heart, as well as other research projects in the fields of radiation oncology and nuclear medicine.  For example, we collected data on the internal mammary lymph nodes, which are a chain of lymph nodes that follow the sternum. Our project looked specifically at these nodes in locally advanced breast cancer patients because there is a chance that they can become cancerous due to uptake from the breasts. Using positron emission tomography—computer tomography (PETCT) scans, we were able to examine more than a hundred patients for possible presence.

Our typical day started around 8:30 a.m. We arrived at the hospital and worked on anything left from the day before, or anything that Dr. Goldstein sent to us after hours. At around 9:30 a.m. we usually took a trip to the coffee and cake cart to indulge in caffeine and carbs—essential for any research assistant.

Dr. Goldstein was generally in around 10 a.m., which is when we debriefed him. Promptly at noon, we would ask to go to lunch, though we were sometimes delayed if there was something that we needed to do immediately. The remainder of the day was spent reviewing patients’ information, reading literature, writing and formatting the paper and visiting the coffee and cake cart. We also interacted with various people in the department, mainly so that they could check our work and translate information from Hebrew. 

Overall, this has been a cool experience, and has given us the opportunity to do research that is applicable and has the potential to be published in the Red Journal, the official journal for the Society of the American Radiation Oncology. It’s the top journal in the field.

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<p><strong>Roland</strong> is a biomedical science major at Antioch College. A member of the class of 2017, his main themes for Co-op positions have been scientific research and medicine. His current interest is to continue into the medical field following undergraduate, and pursue his goal of becoming an oncologist. </p> <p>In the process of completing his fourth Co-op, Roland's first Co-op was in the spring of 2014 was as a quality control intern for Chroma Technology Inc. in Bellows Falls, VT. While there, worked in a team dynamic and was able to gain experience using spectrophotometric equipment in the inspection of optical filters. Working independently and in teams, he was able to learn various qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques, as well as assist in research and development projects to improve efficiency of process. In the winter of 2015, Roland worked for Dr. Abi Katz, an Antioch alum and palliative physician, in the Post-Acute Care Continuum of the Kettering Health Network. This was his first experience working in a hospital, although most of the work was spent in the administrative aspect of healthcare. He was able to learn about the establishment of advance illness management procedures and palliative medicine.  His main contribution was in a project centered around reducing the number of medication related errors within the Kettering Medical Center. Ultimately this took the form of a medication review process flow that outlined various steps to reduce the possibility of error. In addition, he was able to create a series of learning materials for those just learning to use the medication input and review system. Much of this work involved research and review of literature and obtaining the feedback of physicians, pharmacists, and nurses during interviews. For his third Co-op, Roland traveled to the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel. Working as a volunteer research assistant, he and two other Antioch students were able to learn from Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, a radiation oncologist and Antioch Alum. The three students were able to gather data on the location and size of internal mammary chain lymph nodes in breast cancer patients, as well as complete a scientific paper that is currently under review. Each student was able to communicate effectively and bring their own skill sets to produce the final paper. </p> <p>Currently, Roland has returned to work for Dr. Katz as a clinical intern for Fidelity Health Care, working within an advance illness management program. He has aided in literature review for transitional care methods for reducing patient readmissions to the hospital, and is also working to establish a care guide copilot that will allow him to work one-on-one with patients and help to identify barriers in their treatment and establish goals to help empower them. </p> <p>Additionally, he has also serve as a tutor for various science courses at Antioch, aiding in the learning of other students and supporting their growth in the subjects. Through tutoring, he has also been able to develop skills in instructing course materials and developing interpersonal skills that promote positive information exchange. He has tutored:</p> <p>CHEM105/160: General Chemistry I&II</p> <p>BIO105/160: General Biology I&II</p> <p>Math160: Calculus II</p> <p>BIO215: Cellular & Molecular Biology</p>

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