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JBSA News
NEWS | June 26, 2024

NAMRU San Antonio leadership, research scientists attend Inaugural AIM Health R&D Summit

By Burrell Parmer Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio Public Affairs

Leadership and research scientists assigned to Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio participated in the inaugural AIM Health R&D Summit held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio from June 24-25.

Designed to promote cross-sector collaboration in the development of life-saving battlefield technologies, the summit combines three of San Antonio's leading life sciences events: Military Medical Industry Day, BexarBio Pitch Competition, and the San Antonio Military Health and Universities Research Forum.

Opening ceremonies began with the presentation of the colors by the University of Texas San Antonio Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps followed by opening remarks from Rene Dominguez, chief executive officer of VelocityTX, and other major sponsors.

“We really feel that this conference, this year and for the upcoming years, is going to be something that’s nationally recognized,” Dominguez said. “There are some great featured topics; everything from emerging challenges to sources of funding to how we sell products to the Department of Defense (DoD).”

NAMRU San Antonio research scientists presented two presentations titled “Thera-101 Secretome Influence on Angiogenesis and Bone Regeneration” and “Engineering Neutrophil-membrane Coated Nanoparticles as an Effective Drug Delivery System during Ischemia Reperfusion Injury on the Battlefield.”

Additionally, NAMRU San Antonio personnel participated in several Tri-Service Subject Matter Expert Panel Engagement Sessions along with representatives from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, the U.S. Air Force's 59th Medical Wing, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Department of Veterans Affairs.

On day two of the summit, NAMRU San Antonio personnel continued to serve on the Tri-Service SME Panel Engagement Sessions while other researchers presented scientific posters.

NAMRU San Antonio’s Chief Science Director Dr. Darrin Frye, along with Commanding Officer Capt. Jennifer Buechel (Nurse Corps), and Prospective Executive Officer Cmdr. Nicholas Hamlin (Dental Corps) took the opportunity to attend the summit.

“This summit provided us with a unique and valuable experience,” said Frye. “We had an excellent mix of traditional Defense Health Agency and military members all getting the opportunity to interact and connect with academia and leaders of industry.”

According to Frye, it was inspiring to experience the convergence of motivated attendees who possess the shared altruistic goal of wanting to make a difference in military medicine.

“It is rewarding and mutually beneficial to have NAMRU San Antonio researchers present their data to parties unfamiliar with their work,” Frye said. “While audience questions may illuminate some weaknesses in design or protocol, they usually motivate, better the product, and create intriguing new pathways for future follow-on research.”

NAMRU San Antonio’s presence is a must since the unit’s research and knowledge products play such a pivotal role in solving many of the current national defense and congressional priorities Frye said.

“As an integral part of the tri-service medical research enterprise, supporting the Navy, and Joint Force requirements, is an important and welcome responsibility,” said Frye. “We must be a visible and vocal advocate for scientific discovery and our presence at the AIM Summit demonstrates our commitment to excellence.”

The summit concluded with a visit and remarks from the Hon. Ron Nirenberg, mayor of the City of San Antonio.

“These past few days were impactful because they brought together top-tier minds from San Antonio’s multi-faceted industries through a compilation of events” Nirenberg said. “These events serve to support start-ups, connect medical technologies to our military, and attract presenters from around the nation to showcase the great work that is underway in the Alamo City.”

According to Nirenberg, as the seventh largest city in the nation, San Antonio supports growth and development through community partnerships and growth opportunities, particularly in key academic industries and medical sectors.

“We are honored to host this event which is part of a continuing series of local symposiums and networking events featuring the Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, the Air Force’s 59th Medial Wing at JBSA-Lackland, and the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, also located at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston,” Nirenberg said. “We also like to thank our federal and national partners who have been with us throughout this summit. San Antonio is at the intersection of all great things academic, industry, and military assets that together create a prime environment for the growth of our bioscience industry.”

NAMRU San Antonio’s mission is to conduct gap driven combat casualty care, craniofacial, and directed energy research to improve survival, operational readiness, and safety of DoD personnel engaged in routine and expeditionary operations.

It is one of the leading research and development laboratories for the U.S. Navy under the Department of Defense and is one of eight subordinate research commands in the global network of laboratories operating under the Naval Medical Research Command in Silver Spring, Maryland.