This summer I worked in a lab that is validating a test that predicts gestational diabetes in pregnant women. The focus of this project is to use blood lipids as a means to determine insulin resistance in pregnant women in order to identify those at risk for gestational diabetes. I spent the majority of my time working with Mount Nittany Medical Center to perfect my procedure and consent process to ensure the safety and well-being of the patients. I also learned the lab procedures that will be used when we begin to collect blood samples.

After spending two years taking classes like organic chemistry and microbiology, I was finally able to apply my knowledge in a hands-on setting. Classes such as these sometimes seem useless, but it was rewarding to be able to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it to a real-life problem.

Gestational diabetes can have lasting consequences for both mother and child if it goes undiagnosed. The lipid test we’re developing will hopefully be more accurate than the current test for gestational diabetes. With a more accurate test, we will be able to decrease the number of missed gestational diabetes diagnoses.

I previously had limited knowledge regarding hospital administration and the difficulties of conducting a human trial. I would have never guessed I would have to revise my consent procedure what felt like a hundred times. Although at times it was frustrating, I can appreciate the rigorous standards for research when human subjects are involved. Quality patient care is of utmost importance to both clinical and administrative hospital staff; it’s my greatest concern now as well. After interacting with patients, my focus shifted from perfecting my lab techniques to the comfort and safety of my subjects.

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