Research Immersion

Real World Experience Prepares Undergraduates for Their Future Careers


KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec 2020) — For KSU undergraduate Adam Khan, the most rewarding aspect of conducting research as an intern for Stephen Barrett, a podiatrist and surgeon with US Neuropathy Centers, was seeing the difference he could make in a community once the research had been published. 

“Dr. Barrett he has helped us truly understand what it means to be a physician in today's era,” said Khan. “It is our job as future healthcare providers to continue to look for our patients' best interest which sometimes means looking for an unknown answer.”

Khan was involved in a project focused on comparing the predictive success of using specific nerve blocks (anesthesia) during two different types of planned surgeries for patients with Common Fibular (Peroneal) Nerve Entrapment. This nerve is one of two major nerves of the leg and foot which is responsible for sensation to the top of the foot and, controls the muscles that lift the ankle and straighten the toes.

“This research is important to the medical community because little information is known about the symptoms of this lower leg condition and there are currently many patients who have not been diagnosed,” Khan said. “This research can impact the medical community by helping to identify those patients and helping healthcare providers to find symptoms in their future patients.”

Under the mentorship of Barrett, also part-time assistant professor of biology at KSU, Khan worked alongside biology major Victoria Brown and recent biology graduate Erik Rosas. Their research project was published in the Open Journal of Orthopedics in September.

“The most challenging part about this research project was making sure we looked at every unturned rock before even starting the process of researching,” Khan said. “There are always so many factors that come into play while conducting research such as ethics, timing, and scheduling.”

Khan who is from Lilburn, will graduate in the spring with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the College of Science and Mathematics. His next steps include applying to graduate school and continuing to conduct research as there are always new discoveries to be made.

“Our goal in this study was to push the boundaries of what we know, and we quickly found out that there was a lot more to learn about this topic than we realized,” Khan said. “When conducting research, it is okay to step out of your comfort zone because that is what will make you a successful person in whatever journey you pursue.”