Monday, June 24, 2024

UTSA to co-host event for over 700 health care innovators

UTSA to co-host event for over 700 health care innovators

JUNE 21, 20224 — UTSA will team up with several academic, industry and military organizations to present the inaugural AIM Health R&D Summit on Monday, June 24 and Tuesday, June 25 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, an opportunity that will combine three large-scale bioscience events in Greater San Antonio.

The summit will provide a unique opportunity for innovators and practitioners from academia, industry and military (AIM) to connect with potential collaborators from the San Antonio Military Health System (SAMHS), academic institutions, public and private organizations, small businesses, and industry partners.

The summit will be presented by UTSA in collaboration with VelocityTX, UT Health San Antonio, the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and agencies and branches of the U.S. Department of Defense in San Antonio.

“These types of collaborations and cross-pollination opportunities are essential for scientific innovation and breakthroughs.”

Attendees will have the chance to exchange ideas and explore cutting-edge research and development underway in health care. The event, which is free to university and military community members, currently has more than 750 registered participants.

“These types of collaborations and cross-pollination opportunities are essential for scientific innovation and breakthroughs,” said Nicole Beebe, UTSA interim associate vice president for the UTSA Office of Research Partnerships & Strategy. “We are honored to co-host this event. It’s an exciting opportunity to build relationships in academia, industry, military and medical communities.”  

Beebe attributes much of the growth of the UTSA research ecosystem to the cultivation of strategic partnerships.

“UTSA highly values our connections with other universities and institutions, as they have contributed to our classification as a Tier One research university and have supported us on the path to becoming one of the great public research universities of the future,” she said.

UTSA research expenditures grew to $152.3 million in FY 2023, exceeding $100 million for the fourth consecutive year.

“As a major hub for military medicine and the bioscience industry, San Antonio is the epicenter of dual-use technology development,” said Rene Dominguez, CEO of VelocityTX. “The AIM conference is critical because it provides the military medical community an opportunity to engage with emerging technologies at every stage of development, from research and prototyping to commercialization.”

Stephen Schwab, an assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Management, added that UTSA is uniquely situated to facilitate health care research that bridges industries and sectors.

“San Antonio has a unique relationship with the military and civilian leadership. For instance, Brooke Army Medical Center has a standing appointment with the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC),” explained Schwab. “STRAC is responsible for regional emergency healthcare in the San Antonio area and BAMC is the only level one trauma center in the military. Furthermore, military research is reliant on academic and industry partners both due to regulatory requirements and manpower limitations.”

Schwab continued, “UTSA, as the heart of public research in San Antonio with a mission that involves public service and community engagement, is in a position to lead the kinds of collaborations that take basic research and turn it into a breakthrough or take a breakthrough in battlefield medicine and bring it to the local health system.”

Schwab is an economist whose research focuses on workforce issues in health care. He also collaborates with the military and industry in studying how technology can improve patient outcomes. He will present at the session, “The Value of Primary Care in the Military Health System.”

The upcoming summit will combine three of San Antonio’s leading life science events: the BexarBio Pitch Competition, Military Medical Industry Day (MMID), and San Antonio Military Health and Universities Research Forum (SURF).

UTSA, UT Health San Antonio and the 59th Medical Wing have been co-hosting SURF since 2014. Last year, attendees reported forming successful partnerships, relationships or collaborations through SURF

Like SURF, the AIM summit is also designed with networking in mind. It supports SURF’s mission to advance research collaborations between academic, industry and military partners — plus offers participants the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge research taking place among the country’s small businesses and private organizations.

The AIM Summit marks the first time that Kelly Cheever has attended a conference that brings together these three areas of research.

“I am hoping to meet more like-minded people to collaborate with on research,” said Cheever, an assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Kinesiology. Cheever works with partners from the South Texas Veterans Health Care System’s Department of Veterans Affairs to research the cumulative burden of contact sports and military service on the body.

“Concussions, musculoskeletal injuries and joint disease have all been found to have high rates in both athletes and service members and I am interested in researching how combined exposure to both contact sport participation and military service may magnify or compound the negative health effects of each,” explained Cheever, who will serve as speaker and co-chair of the AIM session, “Sleep Duration and Sleep Quality as Season-Long Predictors of Ratings of Perceived Exertion and Psychological Wellbeing in Female Soccer Athletes.”

Alireza Abbasi Ghiri, a UTSA PhD candidate in mechanical engineering, graduate research assistant and speaker at the event, commented on the value of the summit for students.

“Students should attend to gain exposure to the latest research and developments in the health sector, network with professionals and experts, and explore potential career opportunities,” he said. “The summit provides a platform to learn from leading researchers, discover new interests, and find inspiration for their own academic and professional journeys.”

Ghiri’s research primarily focuses on the biomechanics and pathology of traumatic brain injuries, with a particular interest in sex-based differences and the role of biomarkers.

“Currently, we are exploring potential partnerships with military organizations to address the unique challenges faced by service members,” explained Ghiri, who will talk about his research during the session, “Sex-Specific Responses in Traumatic Brain Injury Biomarker Elevation Following Soccer Heading.”

Below is more information on the three life science events taking place at the summit:

Military Medical Industry Day
The event promotes engagement between innovators in the private and the military medical community. Presented in partnership with the City of San Antonio, the event will include an address by Mayor Ron Nirenberg on June 25, and presentations by senior Defense Health Agency (DHA) officials, representatives of the individual service branches, and innovators from academia and the private sector.

San Antonio Military Health and Universities Research Forum (SURF)
UTSA partners with UT Health San Antonio, and the Military partners in San Antonio to host this event, which showcases emerging research and fosters interdisciplinary dialogue to advance military medicine. The event will include feature presentations and breakout sessions on a range of subjects including precision medicine, neuroscience and traumatic brain injury, battlefield health and trauma, regenerative medicine and human performance.

⇒ Learn more and register for the AIM Health R&D Summit.
⇒ Explore the event agenda.

BexarBio Pitch Competition
Four prominent San Antonio-area companies will pitch their innovations in competition for $100,000 in non-dilutive funding. Pitches will be judged by a panel of bioscience experts. This event is sponsored by Bexar County and hosted in partnership with Alamo Angels, Texas’ largest network of accredited angel investors. The event will also feature opening remarks by Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai.

Researchers, students and faculty are encouraged to join the event. Registration is free for attendees with a .edu or .mil email address.

Audrey Gray

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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