Marissa Meyer ’21 pursues cardiovascular research under cardiologist Dr. Atul Chugh at Franciscan Health in Indianapolis, IN

My name is Marissa Meyer and I am an upcoming junior BBMB major. I have aspirations of going to medical school and pursuing a career in the medical field. This summer I am working as a cardiovascular research intern for Dr. Atul Chugh, a cardiologist at Franciscan Health in Indianapolis, IN. In addition to his cardiologist duties, Dr. Chugh is the head of cardiovascular research at Franciscan Health Indianapolis. I spent a majority of my time working alongside Dr. Chugh writing up case reports in addition to a multi-disciplinary treatment program that will eventually be published. I additionally observed multiple watchman catheter procedures during my time here. Watchman devices are inserted into the left atrial appendage in order to reduce stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation.

The first portion of my internship was dedicated to assisting in writing five case reports on challenging cases in cardiac medicine within the Franciscan hospital. The submitted cases focused on advancements in cardiac imaging along with tricuspid and aortic valve repair. These case reports were submitted to Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) 2019, and if accepted, will be presented at the September 2019 conference by the Franciscan physicians. I was a co-author on all five submissions, and through this I was exposed to the many aspects involved in clinical research and the publishing process.

The latter portion of my internship focused on research regarding endocarditis secondary to IV drug abuse. Endocarditis is the infection of the endocardium-the inner lining of the heart and heart valves. This form of infection is commonly found in high risk IV drug abusers, and carries a high mortality rate. With the increase in the national opioid epidemic, there has been a major influx of endocarditis cases.​ Despite advancements in modern medicine and surgical approaches, endocarditis continues to be a deadly infection. Endocarditis may necessitate surgical intervention, and often requires extensive future care, carrying with it a high mortality rate.

Utilizing literature review on previous endocarditis treatment in IV drug users, we began developing and writing-up a multi-disciplinary program proposal for endocarditis secondary to IV drug abuse. Aspects of this protocol involved integrating cardiovascular medicine and surgery with the rehabilitation side of treatment to create a comprehensive program. Included within this program were novel surgical approaches, which were presented along with methodology for behavioral health treatment.

My summer internship opportunity with Dr. Chugh was an amazing learning experience and I could not have asked for a more enriching summer. This experience will be of great benefit in fulfilling my future aspirations of attending medical school, and I am very grateful for being granted this opportunity.

Experiences like Marissa Meyer’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez

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