Newswise — ROCHESTER, Minn. ― Jan. 27, 2014 ― Mayo Clinic has opened the Mayo Clinic Department of Defense (DOD) Medical Research Office. The office, in Rochester, MN., is designed to be an easy to use single point of contact, linking the research needs of the DOD with Mayo Clinic investigators capable of addressing those needs, and to improve access to funding to serve DOD research and development priorities.
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The office oversees Mayo Clinic's portfolio of DOD-funded research, which has evolved over Mayo’s long and successful partnership with the U.S. government. Today, dozens of Mayo Clinic researchers receive funding for special projects that use new technologies and innovative solutions to support military readiness, functional restoration and rehabilitation after complex injuries, restore health and improve wellness of military populations.
“This is a continuation of Mayo Clinic’s 150-year legacy with the DOD,” says Peter Amadio, M.D., director of the office, and an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic. “The office and website are designed to strengthen this long-standing relationship and to not only match DOD research needs with the expertise of Mayo Clinic, but also accelerate the entire process from proposal development to funding to delivery of a completed project.”
Mayo Clinic’s historical ties to the military goes back to the original founder, W.W. Mayo, who moved to Rochester to examine recruits for the Union Army. His sons, the Mayo Brothers, and their partners at Mayo Clinic set up field hospitals and developed mobile clinical laboratories for the Army during World War I. Mayo Clinic investigators developed the G-suit and oxygen mask during World War II. Today, Mayo Clinic investigators are regenerating nerves, bone, heart, tendon and other tissues to restore function in our wounded warriors, and developing innovative prosthetics when regeneration is not possible.
Other notable historical ties to the DOD include:
- Mayo Clinic scientists worked secretly with Charles Lindbergh to establish the first procedures for surviving parachute jumps from high altitude.
- Mayo Clinic scientists also developed an in-flight oxygen mask for pilots and passengers.
- The Mayo brothers (Drs. William J. and Charles H. Mayo) served with the surgeon general for medical military preparedness during World War I.
Part of the office creation includes a web page that details Mayo Clinic’s current initiatives with the DOD and key contacts.
Current projects include:
- Vaccine Research Group and Program in Translational Immunovirology and Biodefense. This team has worked extensively with the Defense Health Board to advise the secretary of defense on all scientific and medical matters related to military readiness.
- Regenerating nerve cells for wounded veterans. A team of Mayo Clinic researchers is part of a national consortium aimed at restoring mobility to severely injured American combat veterans.
- Using homemade supercomputers to develop pathogen countermeasures. This team built a single-user, 3.8-teraflop supercomputer and other technologies for just-in-time drug discovery with applications to the development of pathogen countermeasures and anti-cancer drugs.
- Aerospace Medicine Fellowship. In the Aerospace Medicine Fellowship at Mayo Clinic, the only program of its kind in the U.S., Mayo aerospace researchers continue advancing various projects applicable to high-altitude aviation and space exploration.
- Motion training for war-wounded amputees. This team brings evidence-based rehabilitative care to soldiers with musculoskeletal injuries. In the lab, the Improved Training Method for Rapid Rehabilitation of Lower Extremity Amputees project is specifically aimed at soldiers with this condition.
- Simulation Center medical readiness training. The Mayo Clinic Multidisciplinary Simulation Center has created “Medical Readiness Training for Combat Zones,” which is a four-day training course. The course serves soon-to-be-deployed military medical personnel. Personnel, at all levels, are vetted, trained and prepared for medical duty in combat zones. This is the first of its kind and considered a leading military medical training course by the Army.
Journalists – Dr. Amadio is available for interviews remotely or in Washington, D.C., Jan. 27–29.
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