Sara Mithani

Whenever we think of nursing, we think of providing care for patients, improving the lives of patients and their families.

But sometimes you’re in the hospital, and you wonder, “Why are we doing it this way?” That’s research. It’s asking, “Why don’t we try a different intervention to see if it works better?”

By working in the Laboratory for Sleep Neurobiology in the College of Nursing, I’ve learned so much about running a research lab, the physiology of the brain, understanding basic bench science and how we can translate it back to patient care.

With the guidance and support of faculty, I was accepted as a Graduate Partnership Program fellow at the National Institutes of Health. This is a highly competitive program that will allow me to do my dissertation at NIH in Washington, DC, in collaboration with faculty in the UIC College of Nursing.

My research is focused on understanding brain trauma in both civilian and military populations. I’m asking: do someone’s genes affect his symptoms and pre-dispose him to other chronic conditions?

That’s what drives research. It’s these questions. It’s the need to improve care and a patient’s outcome.