Gunnar Nemitz, a second-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School was awarded a $3,000 University of Minnesota Foundation Medical Student Research Grant to conduct research at the Minneapolis VA. The title of his research project is Hemodynamic Comparison of MAC vs. GA in Patients Receiving Transcarotid Artery Revascularization for Carotid Stenosis.

Nemitz research involves looking at carotid stenosis, which is a disease that causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the neck that carry blood from the heart to the brain. One of the treatments is a procedure called Transcarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) and is used for patients ineligible to receive a carotid endarterectomy (CEA); a surgical procedure for carotid stenosis that helps remove material in the inside of the artery. 

“TCAR can be done under general anesthesia (GA) or managed anesthesia care (MAC), and we hope to effectively characterize these modalities of anesthesia, specifically regarding the perioperative stability of the patient,” Nemitz said. 

The grant is available for 8 to 12 weeks of research. Nemitz is the first medical school student to apply and receive this UMF grant under the mentorship of Ioanna Apostolidou, MD, Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Vice Chair for Academic Anesthesiology at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital. 

“Near the end of my first year, I met with Dr. Michael Todd, Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Anesthesiology, with the goal of finding a mentor within the department. He introduced me to Dr. Apostolidou who began giving me short term goals to ultimately teach me how to write a research protocol, navigate the VA research system, and ultimately receive this grant,” Nemitz said. “It’s tremendously encouraging that the medical school is willing to support their students in this way and I am immensely grateful to be recognized for this project.”

This grant welcomes innovative research by Medical School students and awards grants to those pursuing basic, clinical or community-based research interests. The goal of UMF is to encourage medical students to conduct independent, mentored and academic research using a protocol of their own decision.

“The Minneapolis VA doesn’t currently have a system to get first or second-year medical students involved in research. While I will continue contributing to future research projects within the department, my main goal is to create a pipeline for future students to contribute to clinical research early in their medical school career at the VA,” Nemitz said.