Annual Research Day

researchers talking to judges about their research projects

Research Day is intended as a forum to highlight research conducted at the UIC Health Sciences Campus-Rockford, as well as affiliated and regional institutions. All students, faculty and health care professionals are invited to participate!

Research Day 2022 is Friday, April 8, 2022 at the UIC Health Sciences Campus-Rockford. Primary authors are required to be IN-PERSON for both Judging Night and Research Day.

Submissions can focus on:

Basic Science Research, Clinical Research, Clinical Case Reports, Social Science Research, Quality Improvement Projects, Public Health Research, Program Evaluation, or Community Impact Research

Literature reviews and program implementation projects without outcome data are not permitted.

For more information, contact [email protected]

Learn More About Research Day:

Friday, April 8, 2022
Research Day 2022

Keynote Speakers

Omar Perez, PhD, PharmD

Dancing with the SARS

Dr. Omar Perez is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the Associate Director of Clinical Microbiology at UI Health Hospital. Dr. Perez received his PhD from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Medicine at UIC in 2008. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship training in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Northwestern University. Following his postdoctoral training, Dr. Perez joined the US Army Reserves as an officer serving as a microbiologist. He was deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where he served as a military microbiologist conducting public health surveillance and diagnostic testing for various pathogens. Following his deployment, Dr. Perez accepted a position at the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) Laboratories as the Director of Clinical Microbiology and Virology. During his tenure at ISDH, the first imported case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) into the United States was identified by Dr. Perez’s virology team at ISDH. Dr. Perez furthered his education by earning his Doctorate of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the College of Pharmacy at UIC in 2019.

Dr. Perez is currently on the frontlines of the COVID epidemic serving at the COVID lead for laboratory medicine at UI Health Hospital and UIC campus. Dr. Perez has brought on various clinical diagnostic testing platforms for SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, Dr. Perez co-led the efforts of developing a saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 test in the Department of Pathology at UIC that has been successful in its surveillance and screening efforts throughout the UIC campus and at UI Health Hospital. His current clinical position allows him to focus on providing cutting-edge diagnostic testing to identify disease-causing pathogens. Dr. Perez works alongside clinicians to help diagnose etiological agents of infectious-disease illness and in selecting the best treatment options for patients. Dr. Perez is also active in basic and translational research studying virus-host interactions. Apart from UIC, Dr. Perez has been in the Armed Forces for over 20 years and is currently an officer in the US Army Reserves where he serves as a microbiologist at the US Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). There he conducts host response biomarker profiling in support of biothreat countermeasure development.

Sandra Martell, DNP, MS

COVID-19 Public Health Response: Intersection of Basic, Applied, and Social Science

Dr. Sandra Martell is only the third Public Health Administrator for the Winnebago County Health Department since 1971 when the City of Rockford Health Department and the Winnebago County Health Department merged to become one agency. Prior to joining the WCHD, she had over 25 years of public health experience including recently serving as the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), Interim Chief Operating Officer (COO). As the Interim Chief Operating Officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health, Dr. Martell and her 300 public health staff members provided services to over 2.6 million people. Dr. Martell holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice, and a Master of Science Degree in Public Health Nursing / Family Nurse Practitioner, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Loyola University of Chicago.

Panel Discussion: Looking Back, Looking Forward: Rockford’s Journey Through COVID-19

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara

Thomas Carey, PharmD
Geoffrey Tsaras, MD
Omar Perez, PhD, PharmD
Sandra Martell, DNP, MS

Schedule at a Glance

9:15 a.m. Welcome Address
9:30 a.m. Keynote Address
11:00 a.m. Panel Discussion
12:30 p.m. Poster Viewing and Lunch
2:15 p.m. Student Presentations
3:45 p.m. Presentation of Awards
4:30 p.m. Closing Remarks

Resources to Prepare for Research Day

Previous Research Day Winners and Awards

Previous Research Day

2021  |  2020  |  2019  |  2018  |  2017  |  2016


Best Basic Science Research Poster Award  |  Sponsored by: Department of Biomedical Sciences

Best Basic Science Research Poster Award  |  Sponsored by: Thermo Fisher Scientific

Best Case Report Award  |  Sponsored by: Rockford Anesthesiologists Associated

Best Clinical Research Poster Award  |  Sponsored by: Rockford Ambulatory Surgery Center

Best MBT Student Research Poster Award  |  Sponsored by: Master of Science in Medical Biotechnology (MBT) Program and Department of Biomedical Sciences

Best Student Technical Poster Awards (Two Awards)  |  Sponsored by: Winnebago County Medical Society

Best Use of Literature in a Student Research Project Award  |  Sponsored by: Crawford Library of the Health Sciences-Rockford

CCTS Best Clinical-Translational Research Poster Award  |  Sponsored by: UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science

CCTS Best Community-Translational Research Poster Award  |  Sponsored by: UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science

College of Pharmacy Outstanding Poster Award  |  Sponsored by: UIC College of Pharmacy at Rockford

Dean’s Action Council Award  |  Sponsored by: Office of the Regional Dean, UICOMR

Innovation in Basic Science Research Award  |  Sponsored by: Office of the Regional Dean, UICOMR

James Scholar Award  |  Sponsored by: James Scholar Program

NCRHP Poster Award for Encouraging Excellence in Rural Health  |  Sponsored by: National Center for Rural Health Professions

Sister Mary Linus Nowak Research Award  |  Sponsored by: Saint Anthony College of Nursing

Supporting Model Public Health Practices Research Award  |  Sponsored by: Winnebago County Health Department and its Board of Health