Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Distinguishes herself at the National Institutes of Health
Daniella Sinay Finds Her Niche at NIH
Daniella Sinay, a graduate of the Touro College Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program class of 2015, was the first PT student to ever be granted the opportunity to complete a clinical experience at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the most prominent biomedical research facilities in the country and an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Patients seen at the NIH, come from all over the world with rare and severe diseases seeking experimental treatments in hopes of receiving life-saving interventions.
Daniella shares that her experience at the NIH was remarkable for many reasons. “I was able to observe and participate in experimental treatments, meet patients with extremely rare and unique diseases, and treat patients in unique medical situations. For example, I observed a brain surgery where experimental electrodes were placed in the brain of an epileptic patient to identify the exact location of the pathological lesion.”
However, most exciting for Daniella was the research she conducted during her time at the NIH. She became particularly interested in a single pediatric patient with a rare genetic mutation who developed severe skin impairments after undergoing a stem cell transplant. Daniella was encouraged by her Clinical Instructor to create a case report describing the barriers to care, and the specific physical therapy accommodations made for this extremely fragile patient. After three months of intense research Daniella presented her research report at the NIH summer symposium.
Daniella attributes her success at the NIH to her preparation while in the DPT Program. “My extensive research education along with the rigorous coursework in the DPT program molded my capabilities and provided me with the tools I needed to succeed at NIH,” she said.
Each student in the DPT Program must complete a four semester research course sequence as well as a full research study to fulfill the requirements for graduation. Daniella’s group’s research, titled “The Effects of Sensorimotor Exercise on Rigidity and Functional Mobility in Adults with Parkinson’s Disease,” was conducted under the guidance of Dr. Robert Schreyer, an assistant professor in the School of Health Sciences’s DPT program, and presented at this year’s Touro College Research Day, a cross discipline event held at the school’s Harlem Campus.
Daniella was rewarded for her hard work and dedication at the school’s recent commencement ceremony. She was presented with the John R. Magel Future Clinical Researcher Award, bestowed upon the student with the most distinguished research endeavors while enrolled in the DPT program and the potential to continue conducting research in the field of PT after graduation. Dr. Schreyer commented that “Daniella truly exemplifies the commitment to excellence and dedication to evidence based learning and practice that are the foundation of the Touro Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.”
Although her clinical experience with the NIH is now complete, the research team at the NIH also encouraged Daniella to continue her research and turn her presentation into a manuscript for publication. She hopes to return to the NIH in the coming months to do just that.