Meet an Alum: Lauren Rover, 2013

Lauren took every opportunity to gain real-world experience in her time at Mason. During the spring of 2012, she joined the Outcomes Research Program at Inova Fairfax hospital as an undergraduate researcher. Under the mentorship of Dr. Lynn Gerber, she developed a project dealing with psychobehavioral symptoms exhibited by patients undergoing treatment for chronic hepatitis C (HCV). This opportunity was paired with a weekly class at Mason (RHBS 490) that focused on a multidisciplinary approach to clinical research.

She worked a full day every Tuesday with the team, developing her own project but also attending weekly staff meetings and relevant Grand Rounds where she would learn more about current treatments for chronic liver diseases and help to brainstorm for a coworker’s projects. At the conclusion of the semester, Lauren presented her research findings at a poster presentation designed to showcase the work completed during the class. This event included a short oral presentation.

After the conclusion of the course, Lauren stayed on with the team over the summer in order to work with one of the researchers on a project on treatment compliance in the HCV population. The resultant abstract was accepted for the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Annual Liver Meeting and published in a supplement of the October issue of the journal Hepatology. She found this experience to be absolutely invaluable in introducing her to every step of the research process, including project development, statistical analysis, poster creation, abstract writing, and project presentation. She learned first hand about the frustrations that researchers encounter such as countless hours of chart reviews or dealing with missing data points, but she also learned how it is all made worthwhile by knowing that the result will add to the current knowledge on an issue and potentially be used to help future patients.

Lauren plans to attend the West Virginia University School of Medicine following graduation.