Brendan McCracken  Laboratory Specialist Associate

Brendan McCracken
Laboratory Specialist Associate

You work in MCIRCC's specialized large animal intensive care unit. What sets this lab apart from others at this university and other institutions?

Our Lab is the just the best, obviously! But honestly, it’s a combination of the equipment and facilities. Our data acquisition equipment is state of the art, which allows us a unique ability to measure complex changes in physiology in real time. Specifically, hemodynamics and oxygen transport. We have ultrasound and X-ray imaging, as well as a complete blood lab right in the operating room allowing hematology, chemistry, coagulation, and blood gas analysis. Basically, if you’re interested in it, we can probably measure it. 

Our facilities are also unique. We have two surgical operating rooms that could allow as many as six procedures at any given time. Couple that with the adjacent two intensive care unit beds for extended monitoring and it’s really a place the likes of which are few and far between.

You're helping out with several different large animal models right now. Do you have a "favorite" study at the moment or any that stand out?

We have four major models we are working with right now: hemorrhagic shock, cardiac arrest, traumatic brain injury, and sepsis.

I don’t know about “favorite”, but I think our new sepsis model from Timothy Cornell, MD, FAAP, Kevin Ward, MD, and Hakam Tiba, MD, is really standing out; mostly because a model like this has never been done before. There are plenty of sepsis models out there, but they are all lacking in some way. Establishing the best model is the first step of studying any pathology. We are leading the way in creating a high fidelity, replicable, and most importantly clinically relevant model of sepsis, which will subsequently lead to more effective treatment strategies. 

While I'm sure the list is never ending, what do you consider to be the best part about your job?

I hope this doesn’t sound too cliché, but without a doubt it’s the people (the team, the team, the team!). I’m surrounded by so much ambition and innovation, coming from everyone from students to faculty. It’s inspiring. Collaborating with the investigators and their teams keeps me learning constantly, which both keeps me engaged and then allows me to spread knowledge by teaching our students and other visiting collaborators.

The MCIRCC team definitely appreciates their food... What's your favorite Ann Arbor restaurant and what's your favorite item on their menu?

I’m going to cheat a little bit on this question because it’s not exactly in Ann Arbor. There’s a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant in Ypsilanti called La Fuente. My favorite is the Super California burrito smothered in Verde sauce. Warning: If you eat here, all of the other Mexican restaurants might just become disappointing.