In keeping with our commitment to fostering critical thinking skills, BASIS.ed incorporates interdisciplinary coursework throughout our program. We believe that teaching students to make connections across disciplines, to ask questions and seek solutions and answers across traditional disciplinary boundaries, produces creative and independent thinkers and prepares our students for life and work in the 21st century. 

1607_056_SeniorProjectSaturday_Alex_Nico.jpgWhile all BASIS.ed coursework includes some level of instruction in interdisciplinary thinking, the Senior Project is perhaps the most salient example of these skills at work. 

Each year, the BASIS.ed community has the pleasure of celebrating the accomplishments of our entire network of students, participating each year in the presentations of their findings. The richness of the accomplishments of the students knows no limit; we'll share with you each week the abstracts and videos for you to get to know some of our students. Meet Alex Nica, and keep reading for his presentation abstract.

NEPHROLOGY'S HIDDEN NEMESIS: A LOOK INTO THE BK VIRUS AND ITS RELATION TO
IMMUNOSUPPRESSIVE AGENTS

Alex Nica, BASIS Phoenix

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Stephen Speyer, PhD
External Advisor: Dr. Harini Chakkera, MD, MPH
Location: Mayo Clinic

 

 

If you were to ask a random person what they thought is the most transplanted organ, the answer would most likely be heart, liver, or lung. In reality, the need for kidneys is more than double that of the next most needed organ. With demand so high, it is important that the relatively few people who can get a kidney transplant keep it functioning well for as long as possible. It is here where the BK virus, the topic of this research project, becomes relevant. Once a transplant recipient is on an immunosuppressive regimen, the often asymptomatic BK virus reactivates (in about 10% of kidney transplants), proliferates, and can ultimately lead to the destruction of the graft. For this study, a literature review of journal articles on BK nephropathy (spanning the past decade) was conducted to analyze if there is a correlation  between more heavy use of immunosuppressants in recent years and an overall increase in BK nephropathy after transplant. Findings—based on data collected from various journal articles through Pubmed—suggest a positive correlation between increased immunosuppressant use and an increase in the incidence of BK nephropathy. In addition, data regarding which risk factors will most likely result in nephropathy or graft rejection have also been analyzed. For BK nephropathy, preemptive monitoring and treatment is much more effective than retroactively trying to curtail the disease. My research indicates a startling trend, so that appropriate immunosuppressant regimens may be established sooner rather than later.

For more, read Alex Nica's blog documenting his experience during his Senior Project.

To read more about our experience at this year's Senior Project presentations, don't miss this post. Curious to learn more about Senior Projects and their importance? Come visit us at an upcoming event:

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