Having the Pre-Clinical Operative and Intensive Care Unit to manage and utilize is a unique opportunity and privilege. Describe some of the challenges and advantages of this undertaking?
MCIRCC’s Pre-Clinical Operative and Intensive Care Unit is a unique undertaking with few like it in the country. To start, our vision was to build a cutting-edge, high yield, high-return center for modeling of complex critical care illnesses and injuries. I wouldn’t say we have had that many challenges. At the same time, we needed to staff the unit with highly motivated individuals as well as make ourselves known and noticed in the research community. Both tasks were accomplished fairly quickly. The unit is unique and advantageous in the sense that it brings together scientists and researchers from different backgrounds to tackle some of the most multifaceted topics in critical care by creating complex models to test diagnostics, therapeutics, devices, sensors and biological markers. Those scientists would have had small chance of meeting or finding each other. The unit is currently well-funded, both institutionally and federally, and is conducting several projects lead by clinicians and engineers to plumb the depths of critical care illness such as sepsis, ARDS, TBI, cardiac arrest, hemorrhage and hemorrhage control. In a short period of time, the unit has established itself locally and nationally and is working with researchers across the nation.
Which of your MCIRCC projects are you most excited about and why?
Working with non-invasive monitoring is close to my heart, especially development of technologies that are portable and can be used at an early stage as a surrogate or a bridge to more complex invasive monitoring modalities. These technologies have the potential to transform healthcare by their ability to inform decision making and save lives. In addition, I am very much excited about our work developing models of sepsis and ARDS that might revolutionize our understanding of these diseases and their mechanisms.
MCIRCC has recently expanded its membership to students. You have become known for mentoring and incorporating students into your work. How do you and these students mutually benefit by their inclusion?
Students are the leaders and scientists of our future. They are an integral part of our unit’s operations. We provide our students with a firsthand opportunity to experience research and the scientific method. We train them as we would any other researcher or collaborator. They experience the same processes as other scientists in the research community with participation in poster presentations and possible publications. They have access to MCIRCC’s educational and career development resources. They, in return help with experimental procedures, data-collection and data processing. A lot of our students choose to stay with us beyond their training period and some are still working with us as full-time employees.
You’re quite engaged in Twitter. How (if at all) would you say that has impacted your work? Are there benefits that would lead to your recommending other researchers to utilize Twitter?
Twitter is a useful platform to reach out to other researchers who have similar research interests. It can be used to share celebrations and updates of our work and other researcher’s work. I recommend it to others as a way to stay up to date about current progress in research fields.
If this frigid Michigan weather ever breaks, what do you look forward to doing (outside of work) this spring/summer?
I look forward to hiking and hope to get a good bicycle to ride on the trails nearby. I always enjoy kayaking on the Huron River at least once each summer. I also will take some short road-trips, not yet determined.