NIH T32 Research Training

Host Response to Trauma Research Training Program

Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death in the United States in individuals under the age of 44 years.  More than 100,000 deaths each year in the United States alone are attributed to trauma.  With the advent of new technologies and strategies to resuscitate, stabilize, and transport trauma patients, individuals are now surviving insults that in years past would have been lethal.  This sets the stage for an often prolonged series of complications that may subsequently lead to death for reasons other than the original traumatic injury.  A greater understanding of the biological mechanisms of traumatic injury and its complications may lead to the development of new diagnostics, treatment modalities and patient care practices. 

Our trauma training program is designed to directly investigate those mechanisms.  Our program is unique in that it involves numerous clinicians and scientists from multiple departments that offer a tremendous breadth of expertise and perspective.  Trainees devote 2-3 years to conduct research on a topic related to trauma, burns or perioperative injury.  In addition, didactic training is provided in the responsible conduct of research and research ethics and additional topics as necessary.  The training program is entering its 21st year and to date has trained over 40 individuals, many of which have gone on to successful academic careers.

Program Faculty
Charles C. Caldwell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
Bradley R. Davis, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
Michael J. Edwards, M.D., Professor & Chairman, Department of Surgery
Kenneth Greis, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Cancer Biology
Dennis Hanseman, Ph.D., Biostatistician
David A. Hildeman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Jay A. Johannigman, M.D.., Professor, Department of Surgery
Jennifer M. Kaplan, M.D., M.S., Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Alex B. Lentsch, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Surgery
Marshall H. Montrose, Ph.D., Professor & Chair, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology
Timothy A. Pritts, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
Hector R. Wong, M.D., Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Basilia Zingarelli, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Current Trainees

Sarah J. Atkinson, M.D.

Dr. Ritha Belizaire

Dr. Atkinson is involved in both basic and clinical research. The basic research program is focused on the role of matrix metallopeptidase-8 (MMP-8) in sepsis. Previous work in the laboratory indicates that inhibition of MMP-8 activity may be a novel therapeutic approach for sepsis. Because the immature host responds differently to a sepsis challenge, compared to a mature host, this concept needs to be explored across a range of developmental ages. Dr. Atkinson is using genetically modified animals and pharmacologic inhibitors to investigate the role of MMP-8 in a sepsis model that mimics the pediatric-aged patient. The clinical research program is focused on a novel, candidate sepsis diagnostic biomarker, interleukin-27 (IL-27). Dr. Atkinson is investigating the ability of IL-27 blood concentrations to distinguish between sterile systemic inflammation and systemic inflammation due to bacterial infection in critically ill surgical patients. 

Bobby Johnson, M.D.

Dr. Ritha Belizaire

During sepsis, exquisite control of inflammation is necessary to execute beneficial actions (bacterial clearance) while minimizing pathogenesis. Initially, activated leukocytes participate in the anti-microbial response. During sepsis, leukocytes can undergo apoptosis or become unresponsive. In other inflammatory models, both activated and apoptotic leukocytes have been shown to be precursors to neutrophil-derived microparticles (NDMPs). NDMPs are small vesicles of heterogeneous density and composition. The role of MPs in sepsis is currently poorly characterized. Dr. Johnson will conduct research to determine signaling mechanisms driving NDMP formation and elucidate mechanisms of NDMP-associated macrophage de-activation during sepsis. 

Jeff Sutton, M.D.

 Dr. Priya Prakash

After hemorrhage, resuscitation is required for survival and recovery. Recently, resuscitation strategy for hemorrhagic shock has undergone a major change, with emphasis on the early use of blood products, including stored packed red blood cell units. Studies from our and other laboratories have demonstrated that stored units of packed red blood cells are associated with increased harm to the recipient. Our preliminary data indicate that several changes that occur during the units during storage, including the formation of red blood cell microparticles, may be responsible for harmful effects of transfusion with stored packed red blood cells. Dr. Sutton will conduct research to determine the mechanisms by which red blood cell derived microparticles cause harm. 

Additional Information/Application
Alex B. Lentsch, PhD
Program Director
Department of Surgery
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
231 Albert Sabin Way
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0558