Human Science Professor Leads Research Internship in Argentina

AUGUST 5, 2014 – Nicholas Santaniello (NHS’16) and Pallavi Tatapudy (NHS’16), both human science majors, have recently returned from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they completed the Translational Health Science Internship.

This intensive six-week program, led by Pablo Irusta, PhD, associate professor of human science at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, provides students with the opportunity to participate in biomedical translational research.

Students work closely with a team of local and U.S.-trained researchers and physicians studying the basic science and clinical effects of viruses that cause respiratory infections in infants, children, and adolescents.  Since 2007, the Department of Human Science has sponsored the program, which is hosted by the INFANT Foundation.

Combined Learning Experience

The course includes classroom and laboratory components, as well as the opportunity to shadow physicians in pediatric hospitals.

“We were able to challenge previous research,” says Tatapudy, who analyzed how different factors affect the symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-related bronchiolitis.

Santaniello visited four different hospitals, during which he went room-to-room with the physicians as they were doing rounds.

“What I took most from the internship was experiencing the job of a physician firsthand from when we walked into the room through the diagnosis and treatment,” he says.  “That’s something you can’t learn in a classroom.”

Aspiring Physicians

Observing the parents watch their children having difficulty breathing left a lasting impression on the students.

“It reminded me of why the research we were conducting in lab was so important and relevant,” says Tatapudy. “This experience solidified my interest in a career in medicine and serving the underserved populations.”

Santaniello agrees.

“This experience will help get me closer to my goal of being a doctor because of the learning and self-discovery that took place,” says Santaniello.

By Masha Mikey (S’15)