Undergraduate Research Program

Alina Chandra

Major: Computer Science
Mentor: Jennifer Rabbitts, Department of Anesthesiology, Seattle Children’s Hospital


Current research project: Predicting Surgical Outcomes with In-Hospital Function in Adolescents Undergoing Major Musculoskeletal Surgery


Nuria is a junior majoring in computer science and minoring in global health at the University of Washington. Nuria came to UW interested in pursuing a career in medicine or biochemical research. During her freshman and sophomore year, she was introduced to computer science and data analysis, and found a passion for using computational thinking to approach complex problems. Nuria is interested in the intersection between computer science and problems in healthcare and social systems. In her free time, Nuria enjoys reading, hiking, running, and printmaking.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Post-operative pain is a major source of distress for children, and is related to poor surgical outcomes. In the hospital, is measured with a numerical pain intensity scale (“On a scale of 0 – 10, how much pain are you in right now?”). However, pain-intensity is only one dimension of pain. Using pain-intensity to guide pain management has limitations. For example, some researchers found reliance on pain-intensity to guide medication prescription as a causative factor in the opioid epidemic. Recent guidelines suggest that accurate pain assessment must also include other dimensions of pain, such as functional ability. The goal of my project is to determine if an easily administrable in-hospital questionnaire about daily functioning could predict how well patients are doing when they return home from the hospital after major musculoskeletal surgery.



When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in research because I wanted to explore science beyond the classroom. When I first got to UW I reached out to several professors doing interesting research, but unfortunately none of them had openings for me. Then I met with a URP advisor who advised me to apply to the SCAN Design Innovations in Pain research internship, which resulted in my first undergraduate research opportunity.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
You might face some rejection, but don’t give up. Go to the Undergraduate Research Program instead!