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Medical research on display April 28

Madigan hosts 20th annual event

Researchers in Madigan’s Department of Clinical Investigation use the latest in equipment in conducting research. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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Medical research is premised on the past work of others and the innovative actions of those in the present.

This concept will be on full display when Madigan Army Medical Center's Department of Clinical Investigation (DCI) presents its 20th annual Madigan Research Day, April 28.

Over the years, researchers at Madigan have come together for a competition in honor of the day's founder, Col. Patrick Kelly, who served at Madigan from 1988 until 2012.

"The day showcases some of the research and scholarship that makes Madigan an educational center," said Dr. (Col.) Richard Burney, the DCI's chief.

He added that the department's engagement in medical research and scholarship is of the highest caliber.

"The day's focus is on scholarly activity," he said.

Some of the scholarship comes directly from battlefield experiences. Burney explained that some of the researchers have served in forward surgical teams in Combat Support Hospitals.

"They noticed gaps in combat medicine," explained Burney, "and they come here to Madigan and address those gaps."

Imagine using smart phone-based thermal technology to access tourniquet effectiveness, and Burney's point is made.

In preparation for Research Day 2017, 115 abstracts were submitted and considered for presentation; 15 were selected. Another 50 abstracts will be placed on posters for public viewing.

The day's events begin with judged oral presentations at 8 a.m. in the Letterman Auditorium in the Medical Mall. Tours of the DCI's labs will initiate at 10:30 a.m.; a keynote address by Col. Russell Pinard, Division Chief, Science & Technology Branch, Defense Health Agency, will commence at 12:45 p.m. followed by more judged presentations from 1:45 until 3:15 p.m.

An awards ceremony wraps the day up at 4 p.m.

"The research done here is filling scientific gaps in medicine," continued Maj. Jacob Johnson, PhD, deputy chief, DCI. "We do science here that furthers medicine."

This kind of medicine is very precise, and it begins with the human genome, an organism's complete set of DNA to include all of its genes.

"Precision medicine is all about you," explained Johnson.

During the past decade, the field of precision medicine has grown as the technology needed to conduct genetic studies has improved.

"Medicine has been population-based; now it is moving toward being individually based," he said.

Due to the positive power of technology, and armed with an individual's genetic signature, medical care providers can tailor medications to treat specific medical conditions.

For example, preterm infants face a litany of complications, one of which is the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.  This condition plays a role in the development of an intestinal disease known as necrotizing enterocolitis.

Researchers in the DCI are studying the molecular mechanisms of specific medications in order to modify them to fit the genetic makeup of a woman who contracts the disease.

"This kind of research has value to the warfighters and Madigan's patients," Burney said. "It has applications globally."

For guests who do not have access to JBLM, contact the DCI at 253.968.1160 to make arrangements.

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