Pauline Maki

    Email Address:
    College: Medicine Department: Psychiatry
    Secondary Department: Psychology
    Title: Professor
    Office: 328 NPI M/C 913 Phone: 312-996-6941
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    Women's mental health; female-related risk factors for cognitive decline and mood disturbance; neuroimaging; perinatal mental health; gut microbiome

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 10

    Qualifications of a Student:
    The student should be in good academic standing with a strong GPA (3.0 or above) and have an interest in women’s mental health, psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nursing, epidemiology, microbiome, biology, nutrition, immunology, computational biology, engineering or related field.

    First-year students, sophomores or juniors enrolled at UIC are preferred. We strongly prefer a 2-year commitment from students because of the effort required to train undergraduates in our research methods. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for seniors.

    We prefer students who are comfortable working with Excel. Previous experience with REDCap is ideal. Preference may be given to students in the Honors College; students who have completed courses in research methods or statistics; and/or students with a background in statistics, engineering, epidemiology and/or computer science.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    The Women’s Mental Health Research Program is seeking volunteer Undergraduate Research Assistants (URAs) to work with Dr. Maki and her team on ongoing research studies. A key focus of our team is mental health in pregnant and postpartum women, with special emphasis in the relationships between hormonal, immune and neurological systems and the microbiome. These complex interactions have been coined as the “brain-gut axis”. The brain-gut axis is a new promising avenue to treat mental health disorders using probiotics.

    Students should be self-motivated and display a high attention to detail.

    URAs will assist with:
    - Data entry and database management
    - Patient recruitment, screening and consenting research participants in clinical settings
    - Obtaining and tracking specimens from the enrolled participants

    If you are in a biology-related major (e.g., molecular biology, nutrition, nursing, medicine), you may also assist with:
    - Processing blood samples for single cell RNA-seq analysis and flow cytometry, metabolomics and proteomics assays
    - Performing immunoassays using multiplex ELISA techniques
    - Processing stool, vaginal, saliva and skin samples for next generation sequencing, i.e., 16S rRNA and shotgun metagenomics analysis, and metabolomics analysis
    - Performing DNA extraction, PCR amplification and construction of libraries for 16S rRNA and shotgun sequencing
    - Computational microbiome sample analysis

    If you are a student with a computational background, you may also assist with:
    - Developing databases to collect survey results, medical records and other relevant information.
    - Building up computational pipelines to automatically extract medical records from participants enrolled in our study.
    - Developing statistical and computational models to predict the likelihood of perinatal mental health disorders based on questionnaires, medical records and any other relevant participant’s information

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