ECMO: Annsley Webb’s Thesis


Annsley Webb, a junior, has started her thesis project. She has secured a mentor, met with professionals in the field, and had the amazing opportunity of visiting the San Diego Sharpe Memorial Hospital emergency department. We interviewed Annsley to help others gain insight on their thesis projects:

What is your thesis topic?

I’m working with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). It’s basically a lung bypass that puts oxygen into the blood so your lungs don’t have to work as hard.  Most hospitals aren’t doing this procedure yet, but Dr. Shinar has started it at the Sharp Memorial Hospital in the emergency department. Currently at MUSC this device is used in the ICU, but not in the emergency department. In Europe, it is used by an emergency doctor who goes out into the field and uses it to save lives. Because of socialized medicine, there is money for this so it is possible. I am looking at international data to support that it should be used more in the US.

What inspired you to pursue this thesis?

I went to Massachusetts to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, where I met Dr. Shinar. He talked about ECMO and got me really interested in it.

How did you get in touch with your mentor?

My mentor is the pediatric ECMO director at the Medical University (MUSC).

You also went to the Salk Institute?  For what reason? 

We interviewed Peter Salk, the son of Jonas Salk, for our National History Day project in freshmen year. I contacted him and he set up an interview for me with h Dr. Potter, a prestigious doctor at the institute, and he showed me around the campus. I saw the actual labs and equipment and learned about a lot of the research that’s happening there. 

Is there anything else random you want to share?

Well, my experience at the airport was pretty interesting. The fire alarm went off so we all had to evacuate and it created a huge mess. And, the fire alarm went off at the hospital I was touring too  as well.

We wish Annsley good luck in her endeavors of completing senior thesis and we hope her experiences can aid others in their processes and research to come.