Human Science Major Participates in Wound Healing Research

NOVEMBER 18, 2013 - Brandon Jackson (NHS’14), a human science major at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, has spent his junior and senior years working on a federally funded wound healing study at Georgetown University Medical Center.

“The whole process of wound healing at the biomedical level is not well elucidated in the literature,” Jackson says.  “The study is looking at why some wounds heal and others don’t.”

Jackson is assisting principal investigator Victoria Shanmugam, MD, a rheumatologist who earned a $1.9 million R01 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research at the NIH for the study Wound Etiology and Healing (WE-HEAL).

Research Mentorship

During his time on the study, Jackson has helped create a large database of information for statisticians to analyze.

He says Shanmugam has been a strong mentor – from her guidance related to his poster for the 2013 Undergraduate Research Conference, to advice on medical school and his senior-level internship.

“She’s been excellent to work with during the time I’ve been on the grant,” he says. “She always makes herself available as a resource.”

‘Exactly What I Wanted’

Jackson says he learned about the human science major because his sister Courtney Jackson (NHS’10) was a student at NHS, where she majored in health care management & policy.

“The human science major is exactly what I wanted and has a direct focus on human biology,” says the pre-med student from New Jersey.  “I wanted to hone in on the human body.  The classes are so interesting.”

For example, he points to his courses in human biology, pathophysiology, and physiological adaptations.

“They are all just great classes and examine all of the biological facets of what makes a human,” he says.

Learning Experiences

In addition to the wound healing research, Jackson participated in the six-week Translational Health Science Internship, a six-credit program led by Pablo Irusta, PhD, associate professor of human science, and hosted by the INFANT Foundation in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He had the opportunity to watch physicians in action in four hospitals in the capital city, as well as participate in laboratory research on Dengue hemorrhagic fever.

“The trip was an unbelievable experience,” he says.  “People from all over the country travel to those hospitals.  Following those doctors day to day was very cool.”

Pathophysiology Tutor

And after taking his pathophysiology course at Georgetown – taught by Joseph Garman, PhD, assistant professor of nursing – he signed up to be a tutor.

“This was one of my favorite classes at Georgetown,” he says.  “I like to put my own twist on the material and the ability to explain in a bunch of different ways the concepts I learned in that class.  It is such a cool subject, and I like helping the students become as fascinated with the material as I am.”

By Bill Cessato