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The University Magazine

Partnership fosters medical research

Third-year biomedical sciences majors Uchenna Azogu, left, and Janis Connor work with Robert Osgood, assistant professor, Department of Medical Sciences. (Photo by A. Sue Weisler ’93)

Third-year biomedical sciences majors Uchenna Azogu, left, and Janis Connor work with Robert Osgood, assistant professor, Department of Medical Sciences. (Photo by A. Sue Weisler ’93)

The School of Biological and Medical Sciences provides a vital link in the RIT-Rochester General Health Systems Alliance not only through the physician assistant and diagnostic medical sonography programs, but also through research in the biomedical sciences program.

This popular program began in fall 2007 as a springboard for students interested in pursuing graduate or professional school in health-related areas, such as the medical, dental and veterinarian fields or applied research in the biosciences.

Robert Osgood, assistant professor in the Department of Medical Sciences, and pediatrician Dr. Michael Pichichero at Rochester General Hospital are working on several research projects. One focuses on middle-ear infections, a chronic issue for many young children when organisms from their throat enter their middle ear via the Eustachian tube, which connects the two.

“The Eustachian tube in younger kids is almost horizontal and relatively wide and short, compared to an adult,” Osgood says. “Consequently,

under those conditions, it’s easier for organisms that grow in the nasal area to get into the middle ear and cause an infection. But kids grow out of it over time because as they age, the Eustachian tube narrows, stands up more horizontally and becomes narrower, making it harder for an ear infection to occur.”

Another type of infection that Osgood and Pichichero are working to prevent pertains to organisms growing on catheters. “Nationally, hospitals have to deal with many catheter-related infections every year,” Osgood says. “It costs a lot of money to manage these infections. Rochester General Hospital is interested in any type of progress we can make at RIT to help diminish the number of catheter-related infections or prevent them altogether.”

Joining efforts with Osgood enhances the research program at Rochester

General Hospital, Pichichero notes. “Working cooperatively, we can speed the process of discovery,” he says. “We have the opportunity to create a synergy of energy and perspective to a diverse collection of questions of significant scientific interest.”

For more information about the RIT/RGHS partnership, visit www.rit.edu/rghs.

Susan Gawlowicz ’95