Thursday, April 23, 2015

URSP Student John Kim Researches the Global Distribution of Hepatitis B Virus Infection

My name is John Kim and I am a student working toward a bachelor of science in biology. Name of the project I’m working on is the global distribution of hepatitis B virus infection, its viral genotypes, and vaccine coverage: updated HBsAg seroprevalence estimates and analysis of determinants. When I was in elementary school, I had a friend whose family member died of a liver cancer at a fairly young age. I wanted to know about causes, symptoms, and treatment available for liver cancer. When a student needed help translating and analyzing Hepatitis B virus related article published in Korean, I found this as a perfect opportunity to volunteer. My curiosity of the causes of liver cancer drove me to pursue the translational research internship at the Inova Beatty Liver and Obesity laboratory.

My ultimate professional goal is a career in dentistry. This project fits perfectly into my broader educational goals because it is helping me to better understand the impact of infectious microorganisms on human and oral health. In studying HBV transmission mechanisms, I’m intrigued by “patient-to-patient transmission” during oral surgeries, which emphasizes to me the importance of decontamination procedures. This project will be one piece of a growing base of my knowledge I will carry over to my endeavors in dental school, dental research, and my best clinical practices.

On a weekly basis, I work on finding statistics related to hepatitis B virus(HBV) on databases. For the past few weeks, I have been trying to find the HBV prevalence  from different countries. As I was looking for the prevalence rate, I realized HBV prevalence is still pretty high especially in developing countries. Despite the presence of advanced hepatitis B vaccine, significant amount of population are still suffering from diseases and cancer caused by HBV.