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5th Annual SURF Research Conference expands with additional research and innovation offerings

5th Annual SURF Research Conference expands with additional research and innovation offerings

Participants at the 2018 SURF Research Conference at UTSA.

(June 12, 2019) – Military-minded research collaborators in San Antonio will converge at UTSA this week for the fifth annual San Antonio Military Health System (SAMHS) and Universities Research Forum. The conference takes place Thursday, June 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, June 14 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the H-E-B Student Union Ballrooms (HSU 1.104/1.106) on the UTSA Main Campus. 

Organized with assistance of SAMHS Service partners, the 59th Medical Wing and Brooke Army Medical Center, UT Health San Antonio and UTSA, SURF highlights the latest research and discoveries of trainees, faculty, staff and students working to improve health outcomes and readiness. It is a natural fit given San Antonio is known as Military City, USA and and is home to the largest Department of Defense (DOD) in-patient facility and outpatient ambulatory surgical center.

More than 550 participants have registered for the conference, the highest to date since its inception in 2015. Forum participants will present and share innovations in research, practice, and policy; earn continuing education credits/units, e.g., medical, nursing and dental; and connect with scholars and practitioners for future education, research, policy, and practice collaborations.

“Nearly 98 percent of our 2018 attendees who were surveyed felt that SURF offered a unique experience and over 75 percent said they connected with a new colleague from a different organization,’ said Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA interim vice president for research, economic development and knowledge enterprise. “These types of collaborations and cross-pollination opportunities are essential for scientific innovation and breakthroughs. Along with our partners, UTSA is proud to support SURF as a bridge to our military partners and fellow researchers.”

SURF 2019 research tracks include:

  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Data Analytics
  • Brain Health
  • Evidence Generation and Translation for Patient-Centered Care
  • Immunology & Infectious Disease
  • Oral and Systemic Disease Interactions
  • Patient Engagement & Continuity of Care
  • Pre-hospital Trauma & Critical Care
  • Precision Medicine
  • Public Health & Wellness
  • Regenerative & Molecular Medicine
  • Substance Abuse & Mental Health

There will be a research topic for everyone in the biomedical and health fields with 44 podium presentations, four symposia and over 130 poster presentations.

Representing Rear Admiral Mary Riggs, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Midboe, director of Research and Technology for the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) Defense Health Program (DHP), will deliver the keynote address. He will highlight their research portfolio, health and readiness in the future operating environment, strategic drivers, and their alignment to support DHP’s major research focus area investments. With the ongoing transition of placing all of military medicine under DHA's command, the agency will eventually oversee the healthcare for almost 10 million patients, one of the largest healthcare systems in the world.

Jeffrey W. Stansbury from the University of Colorado Boulder (UCB) will be the closing keynote. He is a professor of chemical and biological engineering, and a professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC); and the director of the Biomaterials Research Center, UCHSC/UCB. His research focuses on polymers used in biomedical materials applications in many different forms and functions. Stansbury and his team are designing, synthesizing, characterizing and evaluating novel polymeric materials for a wide array of dental and biomedical applications whether it be dental restorations intended for permanent or, as with drug delivery vehicles, can be designed to degrade and clear the body after their service is complete.

Given its past success, SURF has been expanded to include a Biomedical Innovation Showcase and  Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) sessions.

The Biomedical Innovation Showcase will feature a panel of inventors and their tech transfer partners to help delegates understand the commercialization process.  They will discuss the different models of commercialization and their different perspectives with a focus on medical military applications.

Panelists include Scott F. Walter, director of Technology Transition and Transfer, 59th Medical Wing; John A. Fritz, technology licensing associate at UT Health SA; Christine Burke, UTSA director of Commercialization and Technology Transfer; Amir Jafari, UTSA assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and Dr. Alex Papanastassiou, associate professor, Department of Neurosurgery at UT Health SA.

This year representatives from the CDMRP will be onsite at SURF, conducting workshops on June 13 and hosting open house sessions on June 14. CDMRP fosters novel approaches to biomedical research in response to the expressed needs of the American public, the military and Congress. They fill research gaps by funding high impact, high risk and high gain projects that other agencies may not venture to fund encompassing breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, neurofibromatosis, military health and other specified areas. Since 1992, the CDMRP has managed approximately $7.7 billion in Congressional appropriations for peer-reviewed research aimed to prevent, control and cure disease. Sessions will include: (1) Overview – Programs, Program Cycle & Processes; (2) Funding Opportunities & Application Process – Strategies for Success; and (3) DoD-Funded Research & Collaborations – Planning for Success.

Registration is free with funding for the conference made possible in part by The San Antonio Life Sciences Institute. Pre-registration is highly encouraged for planning purposes and includes continental breakfast, lunch (June 13) and parking. Healthcare and medical professionals may earn continuing education credits by attending the forum. #SATXSURF is also fully digital. Download the electronic guidebook.

Sarah Hada

Learn more about SURF including topics and daily agenda.

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

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