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