Last month, MCIRCC hosted the Massey Regional TBI Conference to explore the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of traumatic brain injury. Through lectures, a poster session, and scientific presentations from funded Massey TBI Grand Challenge teams, the conference was able to generate powerful dialogue about the most complex disease in the most complex organ.

More than 80 faculty, staff, and students attended the conference in addition to our special guests from the Department of Defense and the Joyce and Don Massey Family Foundation.

The conference began with a keynote address from David Wright, MD, FACEP, who is the associate professor and vice chair for research at the Emory School of Medicine. He spoke about the importance of TBI research and how supporting technology development and translational and clinical research can greatly improve the outcome for severe TBI patients.

Attendees also heard from the 2015 Massey TBI teams who were funded through the Massey TBI Grand Challenge. Ashwin Belle, PhD, an analyst architect, highlighted his progress on a real-time hemodynamic monitoring system known as BARRELEYE. This innovative technology will allow doctors to analyze a patient’s vitals up to the minute with comprehensive information. Eventually, this data will also allow doctors to make better predictions about patient outcomes.

The poster session featured abstracts from investigators across all disciplines and levels of experience. Five of these abstracts were chosen for oral presentation, and several of them received outstanding awards for their posters. Hakam Tiba, MD, MS, Michael Weykamp, BS, and Vahagn Nikolian, MD, all received awards for their exceptional posters presentations.

Perhaps the most powerful moment of the conference came from the question and answer session with Erik Boneff, a former U-M TBI patient, and his physicians, Teresa Jacobs, MD, and Karin Muraszko, MD. After being hit by a bus in Ann Arbor on his way home from work, Erik sustained severe brain injuries. However, the rapid response of the doctors and surgeons led to an incredible recovery that is extremely rare in TBI cases that severe.

The afternoon saw presentations from the 2016 Massey TBI teams where attendees were updated on their progress as they continue to develop their projects. Topics included everything from using a robot to conduct quantitative pupillometry to digitalizing extra-ventricular drains with integrated intracranial pressure monitor and cerebral spinal fluid flow monitor/regulator.

To end the day, Kevin Ward, MD, professor of emergency medicine and director of MCIRCC, spoke about the upcoming 2017 Massey Grand Challenge which will once again focus on traumatic brain injury.