• Current AAST Resarch Projects


    2016-2017 Scholarships

    The AAST Research and Education Foundation is funding two scholarships for 2016-2017. The scholarship recipients received their scholarship plaque at the 75thAAST Annual Meeting in Waikoloa, HI and will present their research findings at the 76th AAST Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

    Robert Becher, MD, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

    Project Title: The PEGESUS Study: the Project to Evaluate Geographic Variations in Emergency General Surgery in the United States

    Emergency general surgery (EGS) patients overall have significantly poorer operative outcomes when compared with their non-emergent counterparts. While some hospitals likely have outcomes which are exceptional, this may not be true of all hospitals in all states. This geographic variation in care, at a national, regional, and local level, needs to be defined: to identify gaps in outcomes, to optimize the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of EGS care, and to optimally develop and improve emergency surgical systems of care throughout the country. With these reasons in mind, the AAST Research and Education Scholarship will allow me to complete the PEGESUS Study: the Project to Evaluate Geographic Variations in Emergency General Surgery in the United States. The overriding goal of the PEGESUS Study is to more comprehensively understand the geographic variations in EGS surgical outcomes, and ultimately improve the safety and quality of emergency surgical systems of care in the US.

    Damien Carter, MD, Tufts University School of Medicine, Portland, ME

    Project Title: The role of mitochondrial DAMP's in Burn wound inflammatory signaling and vascular permeability

    Severe burns which are refractory to current resuscitation practices continue to challenge burn care providers, and remain the primary cause of burn-related mortality and severe morbidity. This is primarily as a result of inflammatory and infectious complications resulting from inhalation injury and/or an overstimulated and dysfunctional immune response. The loss of vascular integrity after burn injury is the primary culprit for large volume requirements, tissue edema and end organ dysfunction. The vascular endothelial glycocalyx has been studied in non-burn trauma and is thought to contribute to as much as 70% of vascular luminal integrity. Traumatic injury is known to significantly alter endothelial glycocalyx structure - systemically - resulting in increased capillary leak. This phenomenon has not been studied to any extent in burn injury.   Previous work in animal models has demonstrated that topical inhibition of burn wound inflammation attenuates burn-induced SIRS and reduces pulmonary vascular permeability and edema. Our aim is to determine the potential of a topical inflammatory modulator to prevent the breakdown of the vascular glycocalyx structure and decrease third space fluid losses and tissue edema. Our topical immunomodulatory treatment may be a viable adjunct in difficult burn resuscitations. Additionally, this therapy would be easy to integrate into current acute burn care practices. Furthermore, our research may help to define more effective ways to resuscitate burn patients as well as identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention in burn resuscitation