I am a junior faculty member with the Department of Dermatology at the Harvard Medical School. I have been interested in using non-pharmacologic options, e.g., light-based therapy, for the control of traumatic wound infections, especially those caused by drug-resistance bacterial strains. I came to know the Airlift Research Foundation (ARF) in 2008 when I was collecting information for my proposals on treating military wound infection. I found that the mission of the ARF perfectly parallels my current research efforts and so I booked the ARF website to my favorite folder. I read thoroughly the stories (e.g., News & Events) posted on the ARF website, and had known that there are a group of people, from this Foundation, have been working hardly, seriously, and voluntarily to do the things of raising funds to support the scientific research into improvements in the care, treatment, and rehabilitation of extremity trauma sustained on the battlefield. Their work is highly respectful. I realized that the ARF is the organization I should work with and collaborate.
After breeding my ideas on treating military infections for about two years, I submitted a proposal to the ARF for a research grant in 2010. In this project, I proposed using ultraviolet C light for the control of military wound infections. The goal of the project is to prove the effectiveness and safety of germicidal light on wound infection and build up portable germicidal light sources that can be used on the battlefield. As many of us have known, The growing phenomenon of antibiotic resistance and multi-resistance, a topic familiar to civilian researchers, is of great concern in military settings as well. The use of light-based techniques for preventing and treating military wound infections is compelling - in that it is a non-pharmacological approach that is likely to be non-injurious to wounds. My proposal was ranked as an outstanding one by the scientific reviewers and I was fortunate to be selected by the Board of Directors of the ARF as a recipient of the 2010 ARF research grant. This was actually the first grant I received since I was promoted to a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School in 2009. Prior to the ARF grant, I had a Bullock-Wellman Fellowship Award from the Harvard Medical School, which enabled me to be promoted to a faculty member of the School. With the ARF grant, I have been able to test several of my ideas on light-based techniques for wound infections by using animal models. We have found that Ultraviolet C light could prevent burn infections in mice caused by an Acinetobacter baumannii strain, which was isolated from an infected US solider in Iraq. In the event of acute Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, the use of could save life of mice which otherwise died. With the support of the ARF grant, we have also found that blue light can inactivate bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus, which are all the major would pathogens of military wound infections. The findings are very exciting. The data generated under the support of ARF grant have placed me in a good position in pursing major federal funds, for example, from the Department of Defense. So, I wound really like to thank the ARF for her important and generous support to me during my early stage of career.
I was fortunate to get the chance in 2011 to meet in person some of the ARF staff members, first time in the annual conference of the Orthopedics Research Society held in Long beach, CA, and then in the reward ceremony held in the Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh. What impressed me the most was the enthusiasms the ARF people carried on toward their efforts. In addition, they are very well organized and easy-going. I think I should value every dollar of the grant to work things out, in order to justify the efforts the made to improve health care of our wounded warriors and also their support to my search and career.
Review from Guidestar
Airlift Research Foundation funds research that promises to save limbs of our military men and women, my peers who life and limb for all of us. To date, during my board service, researchers funded by Airlift grants are promising science and advancements which may have enhanced my personal recovery in 2004, when I lost my leg in Iraq. They are working with load bearing scaffolds, UVC light infection control, and other things that might have preserved at least 8 inches of my residual limb on the battlefield in 2004. I serve Airlift because these potential advancements can help my comrades who are still in the fight.
Retired Lieutenant Ed Salau, Infantry.
I have been involved with this foundation since it's inception because i passionately believe in and identify with the focused mission. To apply the most advanced technology and innovative research to our warriors who have had their lives compromised in the pursuit of securing our freedom is compelling. It is truly a small sacrifice to support the effort of Airlift Foundation in support of our wounded heros.
Thank you for your interest in learning more about the Airlift Research Foundation. Your support will leverage research that improves the care of military and civilian survivors of traumatic extremity injuries. You can make a difference! Please join us in supporting this urgent cause.
There is not a cause more noble than defending your country and be willing to die for it. For those who have served, made the ultimate sacrifice, and have been wounded we owe our gratitude. Airlift Research Foundation is one small way to show our thanks by supporting the research that could possibly make these wounded warriors whole again. I'm excited for what the future holds for Airlift!
As an Orthopaedic surgeon, I know how difficult it is for repair large bone defect in patients, as a researcher, I know how difficult it is for an early stage investigator to get founded. It is Airlift research foundation provided me a grant and gave me this chance to continue doing my research project aims at exploring methods of repairing severely damaged bone and cartilage with stem cells. Here I want to thank all the supporters to this foundation and hope more people can join us to support this foundation together.
I am a researcher in bone repair and regeneration. I had quite experience with the foundation. The airlift foundation was formerly aircast foundation, which supported orthopedic research. I submitted my proposals to them three times, it was not funded. But the feedback helped me continue to improve my research quality. In 2009, the foundation restructured and focused on orthopedic research on wounded soldiers. Fortunately, my research was eventually funded by airlift research foundation in 2009. In this project, I proposed to study on anti-infection and bone regeneration. More fortunately, when I had personal interaction with the injured soldiers and their families in the meetings the foundation organized, I started to realize the real impact on injured soldiers and civilians my research may have. I am also very glad that I could share my experience with my trainees and colleagues.
I am close to several friends who are currently serving in the military. Whenever they return from duty, they tell their stories about the horrors of combat and about fellow soldiers who were either killed or seriously injured. Upon their return home, those who survived must cope with their injuries. A lot of the time those injuries involve bones and limbs. Overcoming such disabilities is a crucial step in order to return to a “normal” lifestyle, whether that involves returning to service or simply learning how to walk again. The Airlift Research Foundation has helped fund the research I am performing on bone regeneration in order to treat those who suffered limb trauma. My research focuses on developing a non-invasive method of regenerating new bone. Such a method would not require surgery and would bypass the obstacle of finding suitable bone grafts. If successful, such a method would greatly facilitate the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers, decrease recovery time and complications, and increase the quality of life of trauma patients. I am excited by the thought that my work may one day help countless trauma victims get their lives back together, and I am very thankful that the Airlift organization is helping to make this dream possible.
Review from Guidestar
My grandfather served in World War II as a young adult. His ship, the U.S.S. Corry, was the first and only ship to sink at the attack on D-Day. He was not seriously injured, but the reality of losing life or limb was prevalent among his shipmates and friends serving as soldiers. I have met several war veterans who try to return to a “normal life” and succumb to having to take up a different trade based upon an unfortunate ailment. This research endeavor, which is partially supported by the Airlift Research Foundation, not only benefits rectifying an individual’s physical disability, but it also presents the opportunity for returning to a “normal life.” Normalcy includes both career and family life, from typing on a keyboard with both hands to holding a child. This research project is especially personal to me for the wide range of applications. Bone restorations from facial trauma to missing appendages will one day be a reality as a result of this project. This ambition is what keeps me moving forward each day as a student researcher. I am excited to be working for such a dedicated organization toward a goal that can and will immediately help thousands in need.
Review from Guidestar
When my parents brought me to live in Kuwait in the 1990’s, evidence of the Gulf War was everywhere. The war-torn little country had been ransacked and ravaged, and though the fighting was over the trauma of that time would never be. Now, ten years later, I am back in the United States, in the Houston Medical Center, where I work this summer on a research project that is of paramount importance to me. In scientific terms, the goal of my summer research, which is partially supported by the Airlift Research Foundation, is to characterize and compare different materials for synthetic bone grafts to treat combat-related and civilian large-scale bone injury. What makes this work meaningful, though, is not just that I might better understand the chemical effects of different scaffolds. The true goal of my research is to better understand how to help people – real people who are suffering the way I saw people suffer when I was growing up in the Middle East. The beauty of this research is in its universal application: people of all nations will benefit from what I discover. This work excites me because I grasp its importance – every day when I come into the lab I picture those men and women and children whose entire lives could change for the better because of it. Spending my childhood in a country fresh out of war made me see suffering as part of the human condition. This research, though, helps me realize that it doesn’t have to be.
Review from Guidestar