Visionary Medical Tools Take Center Stage at Pentagon

Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad explains the differences between various types of mosquitoes as a visitor examines them under a microscope

Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Director of Emerging Infectious Disease Threats with the Military HIV Research Program/Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, explains the differences between various types of mosquitoes as a visitor examines them under a microscope during DOD LAB Day 2017. The Emerging Infectious Disease display was just one of the products highlighted by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Lab Day. (Photo credit: Adam Wyatt, TATRC)

After spending an hour in the midday sun setting up a neurotrauma-themed display at the Pentagon, Dr. Marcello Pilia stepped back, wiped the sweat from his forehead and admired his work.

"This is the main attraction right here," said Pilia, deputy manager of the Neurotrauma Portfolio for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Combat Casualty Care Research Program, pointing to the neuro-diagnostic I-Portal PAS tool funded in part by the CCCRP. "Let's just hope it gets the attention it deserves."

Jockeying for attention was indeed part of the game during the bi-annual DOD Lab Day event, which took place from May 17-18 in the center courtyard of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Designed to showcase next-generation knowledge and materiel products from the Army, Navy and Air Force, the event features hundreds of enlisted personnel, contractors and government employees, and further serves as a chance for DOD leaders to both assess the progress of current funding efforts and to identify upcoming capability gaps.

"It's such a unique opportunity to be able to demonstrate an Army product to the leaders of each service," said Dr. James McClung of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. "The real benefit is in the transition of knowledge and product utility across the entire DOD."

McClung's presentation of the Performance Readiness Bar, a calcium-fortified snack bar developed to optimize bone health in basic trainees, was just one of the products spotlighted by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command during the two-day event. Other displays included the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center's presentation of the artificial intelligence-based APPRAISE system used in blood transfusion efforts, as well as updates on both freeze-dried blood products from the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity and early-stage clinical trials of a new Zika vaccine from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

"The entire event is really an opportunity to showcase what we do on a daily basis, and then to bring that hard work to a larger audience," said USAMRMC and Fort Detrick Commanding General Maj. Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb who toured all 90 displays during a VIP walk through on the morning of May 18.

For Pilia, a first-time Pentagon visitor impressed by both the pageantry of a historic building and the accompanying groundbreaking science, the palpable concept of teamwork on display only heightened the experience.

"To see the size and scope of the whole event," he said, "it's really an amazing thing to be a part of."

To see photos of all USAMRMC displays shown at Lab Day, visit the USAMRMC Flickr page at: link.

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Last Modified Date: 26-May-2017