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MHS honors individuals, teams for exemplary research

Michael Dubick explains the function and capabilities of the SAM Junctional Tourniquet to Army General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a meeting. Michael A. Dubick (right) of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio, Texas, explains the function and capabilities of a special tourniquet for use in combat situations to Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dubick received the 2020 Distinguished Service Award for lifetime achievement from the Military Health System Research Symposium. (U.S. Army photo by Steven Galvan)

Each year, the Military Health System honors excellence among its researchers and medical teams through the premier Department of Defense scientific meeting. The Military Health System Research Symposium brings together nearly 3,000 health care professionals, researchers, and DoD leaders for a four-day medical conference held each August. Due to the ongoing national emergency surrounding COVID-19 and DoD’s support of the pandemic response, this year’s conference was canceled. The MHSRS, however, continued the practice of recognizing the accomplishments of health care professionals and announcing this year’s awards winners. Four individuals and two teams received honors for 2020.

Michael Dubick with the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio, Texas, received the 2020 Distinguished Service Award for lifetime achievement in the research category, blood and blood products for the treatment of coagulopathy and hemorrhagic shock. Dubick’s career in government service has spanned 32 years.

“His research efforts have resulted in great strides in military battlefield medicine and have paid off in the most important criterion of success: lives saved both on the battlefield and in civilian trauma victims,” said Joseph Wenke, manager for the Extremity Trauma Research Program at USAISR, who nominated Dubick.

Christopher Broder of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, received the award for Outstanding Individual Research Accomplishment/Military Senior Researcher in the research category, development of new front-line therapies to prevent and treat endemic viral diseases.

“Dr. Broder’s expertise in viral diseases and his proven track record of bench-to-bedside product delivery have made him an invaluable resource for the MHS as the DoD and the country respond to the pandemic,” said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Todd Rasmussen, associate dean for clinical research at USUHS.

Navy Lt. Luke A. Beardslee, Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory at the New London Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut, received the award for Outstanding Individual Research Accomplishment/Military Junior Researcher in the research category, enhancing human performance and survivability in extreme.

“As the only researcher in Navy Medicine with a background in microelectronics and nanotechnology, Lieutenant Beardslee rapidly conceived of innovative projects to support the laboratory mission of producing solutions for warfighter health protection,” said nominator Ben Lawson, technical director at NSMRL. “He designed, built, and led a team which demonstrated a working prototype of an ingestible wireless capsule system to better characterize underwater blast exposure effects inside living organisms.”

Jessica Gill, a nurse from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, received the award for Outstanding Individual Research Accomplishment/Academia-Industry in the research category, TBI biomarkers: diagnostic and prognostic indicators.

“[Gill] has been extremely productive and focused her lab’s collaborative research on diagnostic and prognostic blood-based biomarkers in active duty service members and veterans who suffer combat-related TBI,” said Dr. Kimbra Kenney, a neurologist and assistant professor at USUHS.

The recipients of the 2020 MHSRS Team Awards are as follows:

  • Outstanding Research Accomplishment/Team/Military: COVID-19 Rapid Response Team, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland, in the research category, detecting the next threats: technological advances for field pathogen identification. Sheila Peel, director of the Diagnostics and Countermeasures Branch Laboratory at WRAIR, was the team lead. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peel and her team of experts responded quickly to support military capabilities and readiness by forming a Rapid Response Team that used in-house expertise and capabilities to greatly advance SARS-CoV-2 viral and serology testing.
  • Outstanding Research Accomplishment/Team/Military: The Combat Trauma Research Group of the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia, in the research category: life-saving interventions for hemorrhage control. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sean Stuart was the team lead. The Combat Trauma Research Group executed a comprehensive evaluation of a novel mechanical wound closure device, the iTClamp, through a series of research trials, culminating in an improved redesign of the device for immediate use in combat medicine.

“This year’s nominees highlighted the impressive talent and leadership displayed among researchers and medical providers throughout the DoD,” said Terry Rauch, acting deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Health Readiness Policy and Oversight. “I commend the awardees for their outstanding skills and contribution that support the readiness of our force.”

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