Mangano Lab

In the fall of 2016, I started research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center under the guidance of June Goto Ph.D. and Francesco T. Mangano, D.O.

Research in the Mangano Lab is directed at understanding pathogenesis of pediatric hydrocephalus, that will lead us to develop new surgical and medical treatment options and to improve patient outcomes and quality of life. To establish the goals, we study essential brain anatomy, neural cell types, and genes involved in pediatric hydrocephalus utilizing advanced MR imaging methods (diffusion tensor imaging), mouse genetic models, and several surgical techniques.

Thanks to the mentorship of both Dr. Mangano and his PhD partner Dr. June Goto Nakamura, I have had the pleasure of learning basic lab techniques such as: wide-field & narrow-field immunofluorescence microscopy, qPCR via CT, micro-pipette, mouse breeding and handling, RNA sequencing, and more. The results produced this year from the lab have not only provided me significant insight into the pathophysiology of hydrocephalus, but has also allowed me to attend the 45th Annual Meeting of the AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery in Orlando, FL to present my poster titled, “Genetic Characterization of the progressive hydrocephaly (prh) Mouse Mutant.


Forster Lab

In January of 2006 I started helping out as a research assistant under the guidance and supervision of Gina Forster, PhD. Dr. Forster’s research interests lie in understanding the neurobiology that underlies anxiety states and addiction. Dr Forster’s NIDA-funded research uses rodent models of early-life stress, psychostimulant abuse, and drug withdrawal to study the neurobiological and behavioral interaction between stress and drug abuse, with a major focus on monoamine and neuroendocrine systems and anxiety behaviors.

At first I started as a lab assistant who would clean glassware, make solutions, and help with histology sections. As time went on I started playing a larger role in the lab and started to take on sections of study for myself. As an undergraduate, I mainly concentrated on micro-dialysis experiments involving the central nucleus of the amygdala and the dorsal raphe nucleus and how their connection changes in response to amphetamines. Because of that work I was awarded a University of South Dakota Undergraduate Research Grant.

After my acceptance into medical school I received the Sanford School of Medicine – Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship. In the summer before my first year, I worked on a project which looked at anxiety behavior as it relates to amphetamine withdrawal and the neuronal connections to the dorsal raphe nucleus. The results of this work ended up being published Behavioural Brain Research – Click On The Journal Cover Below for a PDF.

Eur J Neuro J Neuro Behav Brain Res Eur J Pharmacol


Scholarship Pathways

At the Sanford School of Medicine, the Scholarship Pathways Program provides students a curriculum of structured freedom that allows medical students to explore areas of personal interest and to further develop these skills. It is comprised of three distinct pathways – education, research and service.

South Dakota MedicineMy project was a part of the education pathway. The project was called Use of Social Media for Personal Reflection, Peer Education, & Professional Development and started in the fall of 2008. The aim of the project was to bring awareness to the importance of social media for physicians as a marketing, personal reflection, peer and patient education, and professional development tool. Since these networking tools have become the most important and influential way we communicate. It should be no surprise that these tools are going to have huge implications for physicians. We are seeing monumental changes in the areas of patient privacy, patient education, physician marketing, and even the patient-physician relationship. The later is especially true as EMRs go live and online patient portals become increasingly incorporated into physician practices.

South Dakota MedicineMultiple blogs were created for this project, using web hosting and template designs from,, and The first blog was called Dr. Boomer & the PDA Kid. The goal of this blog is to bring ideas and opinions together from a physician from the baby boomer generation and a doctor in training. The theme is to provide an old/new perspective on every topic. The second blog was called Medically Mind Numbing. The goal of this blog was to provide an outlet for reflecting and expressing my personal opinions about my journey through medical school. As a result of this blog, I published an essay in the South Dakota Medicine Journal titled Does a stereotypical surgical personality exist? However, this blog was subsequently taken down due to concerns about HIPAA. Thanks to the experience gained by publishing a previous article in South Dakota Medicine, I went on to publish a case study titled MRSA Peritonitis Secondary to Perforation of Sigmoid Diverticulitis with the aid of Dr. James Appelwick. Afterwards, Web Savvy Med Student was started. This blog was created to share what I had learned about social networking, social media, doctor-patient relationships, patient education, physician marketing, and patient privacy. A Social Networking Workshop was arranged on February 11th, 2011 to further teach medical students about social networking in healthcare. Paul Ten Haken was invited down as our keynote speaker for the event. Lastly, ShawnVuong.Com was created as an example of a professional online portfolio.