- Our Work
- Get Involved
Dr. Madhurya Sai Amirapu will graduate in April 2020 with an MBBS from Basaveshwara Medical College and Hospital, India. She is the principal investigator in an ongoing clinical trial on the effects of delayed cord clamping in her hospital. She is interested in pursuing research in infectious diseases as well as other chronic diseases and their interventions.
Research Elective Summary
My three-month research elective at CCGHE was from November 4, 2019 – January 24th, 2020. While applying for the elective, my main aim was to attain a certain degree of orientation to research programs, specifically in the United States. Some of my specific learning goals included obtaining experience working with large databases, analysis and interpretation of results, and obtaining skills in academic writing.
Dr. Jeff Tornheim, who was my assigned mentor, gave me a brief summary of the research he was working on in terms of TB drugs and went over possible assignments that I could be a part of. After a short discussion and overview of my interests/background, he encouraged me to learn data analysis through the programming language R. In the interest of time and efficiency, Dr. Tornheim suggested that I take introductory courses to R and data science in R before the commencement of the elective.
November 2019: I touched base with Dr. Tornheim in my first week at the CCGHE department. He gave me a step-by-step approach to learning and practicing data analysis. The process started with basic analytical functions such as EDA (Exploratory Data Analysis) with data visualization, progressed to linear/logistical regression modeling and further on to survival analysis (Kaplan Meier Estimates and Cox Proportional Hazard Models). My work involved selecting a practice data set, understanding the dataset and its possible applications. I was to apply the above statistical skills to variables in a clinically/scientifically appropriate manner and explain the logic behind the chosen course of analysis, as well as the results. We would meet a minimum of twice a week to discuss my progress and to address any issues or doubts I encountered in this process. Dr. Tornheim always addressed my questions with clarity, understanding and infectious enthusiasm.
December 2019: I was given access to parts of the dataset from the RePORT observational cohort, specifically that which was related to long-term Linezolid efficacy and outcomes in MDR-TB patients. With this dataset I learnt to ‘tidy’ and modify real data into clean and more organized tables. During this time, I grew accustomed to working with both formats of data tables, long and wide. Along the same lines , having had the chance to familiarize myself with the data, I was now allowed to hand-pick variables that I felt I required for the forthcoming analysis.
January 2020: In the beginning of January, I implemented the above data analysis process for the reorganized tables. I completed the univariate analysis and then carried out the multivariate analysis (adjusted Hazard Ratios). I then computed (and graphed) my final analysis in R and presented the same with its results and conclusions as a presentation - “Linezolid Experience in a Longitudinal Cohort of MDR-TB Patients in Mumbai” at the weekly CCGHE research meeting” - created under Dr. Tornheim’s mentorship.
My experience at the CCGHE was more than a culmination of acquired skills as a presentation. My mentor truly inspired and motivated me in multiple ways. He encouraged me to think critically and to solve my problems independently thus enabling me to actively learn. Dr. Tornheim always had helpful advice regarding time-management, learning strategies, innovative thinking and communication skills. Overall, I found the learning process immensely enjoyable and rewarding under his guidance.
Working at the CCGHE was wonderful exposure in terms of witnessing teamwork and organization on large scale projects. It was a great experience meeting the entire staff and getting to know them over the course of three months. I believe I made some great memories with them. Apart from my regular meetings with Dr. Tornheim, I also had a couple scheduled meeting with Dr. Amita Gupta and Dr. Bob Bollinger, with whom I discussed my interests/ future goals and my ongoing work. I had the fortunate opportunity of shadowing Dr. Gupta and Dr. Matt Robinson in the hospital as well. Some of my favorite memories include that of joining Ana Cervantes and her team on of the medical outreach and testing program ‘Solo Se Vive Una Vez’ and that of the CCGHE holiday party.
In this manner, I gained valuable analytical skills in my time at CCGHE. Moreover, I am now able to further my research skills in an effective and informed manner. My immediate short-term goals involve taking formal courses in Biostatistics and Epidemiology to form a stronger foundation. I am also interested in furthering my ability to analyze and visualize data in R while working on available research opportunities. I am now also in a position to independently analyze the data from an ongoing study in my medical college. My long-term goals involve taking up statistical analysis and data science as a more serious career path and obtaining other skills required to do quality research.