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Scientific journal publishes the original work of Divya Bhargava ‘22

The peer-reviewed scientific journal Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) has published the original research of SPA senior Divya Bhargava ‘22. An abstract of Bhargava's article is available on the BMT website.

Bhargava’s paper is entitled Impact of CDC warning on co-prescribing of opioids and benzodiazepines in older allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant recipients; the paper analyzes the use of opioids and benzodiazepines in older vs. younger recipients before and after updated warnings were released by the Centers for Disease Control. The paper is based on research she conducted as part of SPA's Advanced Science Research (ASR) course, which is the Upper School's most advanced course for student-scientists. The course was taught by US science teacher Cathleen Drilling; Bhargava also worked with an external mentor, Dr. Daniel Weisdorf, Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, in pursuing the project.

Bhargava began working on her paper in the ASR course in 2020-21 during her junior year, collecting and analyzing data and creating a paper, poster, and video for submission to science and research competitions. Her research was honored at the 2021 Minnesota State Science Fair, where she was the recipient of a Seagate Emerging Scientist Award, given to the top 10% of first-time science fair competitors. Bhargava credits Drilling and her mentor, Dr. Weisdorf, with encouraging her to submit her research to BMT, a peer-reviewed medical journal. After multiple external reviews, revisions, and review queries, Bhargava's paper was accepted for publication in March 2022.

The timing of Bhargava's research makes her accomplishment that much more impressive, Drilling says. "Divya completed this work last fall at the height of COVID when students weren't regularly on campus," says Drilling, who also notes that Bhargava opted for a data-analysis project "in which she spent hours upon hours analyzing patient data to determine if prescription habits changed after the CDC recommendations were updated. It's a tremendous piece of work."