2021 Spring Research Festival
2021 SRF: Highlighting Accomplishments Across Fort Detrick and USAMRDC in a Virtual Environment.
May 19, 2021
Taylor E. O'Guinn, STEM Program Coordinator, USAMRDC Contractor
The mission of the Spring Research Festival is to foster scientific interaction and collaboration among partners and local academia to complement and enhance research, development and acquisition capabilities; and advance military medicine. With an estimated attendance of 1,500, the 2021 SRF succeeded in its mission of connecting Fort Detrick with the community and bridging the gap between the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research agencies including the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Centers, the Center for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration and the Naval Medical Research Center.
A Year of Firsts
If COVID-19 has taught society anything, it has shared a lesson in resiliency and overcoming hardship. The SRF was canceled for the first time in the history of the event in 2020. Leading into 2021, the SRF planning committee made the decision to host the first ever virtual SRF.
The event, held on April 28-29th, 2021, was conducted on the platform Webex and the SRF website. This included everything from presentations, to the scientific poster display and the awards ceremony. In addition to a change in the format of the SRF, a second keynote presenter and a new event, the COVID-19 Mini Lecture Series, were added. The virtual nature of the event allowed for greater participation and reach from both audience members and presenters. General John Murray, commanding general of the U.S. Army Futures Command, provided welcoming remarks. His comments were available on the SRF website during the event.
Regardless of the format, the SRF planning committee is hopeful to incorporate virtual components in future SRFs with the intent of growing the event.
By the Numbers
The SRF was honored to have Dr. Ralph Baric and Dr. Deborah Birx as the keynote presenters. Baric is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina and Birx is retired Military serving 28 years in the U.S. Army and the former White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. These distinguished professionals spoke on their work with COVID-19 and discussed the impact their research has on global public health. Approximately 175 attendees tuned in for each of these presentations and participated in a question and answer session with the speakers.
The COVID-19 Mini Lecture Series featured speakers from USAMRDC, NCI, NMRC, and NBACC; all of which are located at Fort Detrick, MD. The speakers were nominated to speak on behalf of their agency due to their COVID-19 research efforts. Given the diversity of the agencies, the information shared ranged in scope from genome sequencing, surveillance, and antibody therapies to manufacturing and vaccine development. Each speaker had an average of 100 audience members.
The Poster Blitz was an opportunity for individuals participating in the Poster Display to showcase their research in a brief oral presentation. 20 individuals were selected to present in this yearâ€™s Poster Blitz and speakers were from USAMRDC and NCI. An average of 89 attendees viewed each presenter.
The Post-Baccalaureate/Post-Doctoral Symposium provides students in these respective degree programs a platform to present their research and laboratory accomplishments while receiving feedback from judges. There were five presenters in this event at the 2021 SRF and all employees of NCI. There were an average of 67 spectators per speaker.
The Poster Display, Poster Blitz and Post-Baccalaureate/Post-Doctoral Symposium were judged by a panel of judges selected by the SRF committee. Brigadier General Michael Talley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command and Fort Detrick, announced the award winners in a video that can be found on the SRF website. Winner's names are listed below. Congratulations to all winners on this outstanding honor.
|Applied and Environmental Biology||Gary Peterson - USDA|
|Biochemistry and Molecular Biology||Dr. Zhe Sun - NCI|
|Biosafety and Biosecurity||Ed Hong - USAMRDC|
|Cancer Biology||Dr. Dipak Poria - NCI|
|Clinical Research||Vishnuprabha Rahul Kannan - NCI|
|Detection and Diagnostics||Dr. Christopher Stefan - USAMRDC|
|Emerging Technologies||Sally Feng - NCI|
|Gene Therapy, Genome Editing, and Genetics||Dr. Hui Dong - NCI|
|Immunology||Morgan Johnson - NCI|
|Infectious Pathogens and Epidemiology||CPT Isaac Downs - USAMRDC|
|Informatics||Dr. Amanda Paulson - NCI|
|'Other'||Eleuterio Galvez - USAMRDC|
|Scientific Core Services||Jeffrey Carrell - NCI|
|Structural Biology and Chemistry||Dr. George Lountos - NCI|
|Therapeutics, Vaccines, and Drug Delivery||Kathleen Pagarigan - USAMRDC|
|First||Antonia Santoro - USAMRDC|
|Second||Ella Fitzgerald & Taeeun Kim - NCI|
|Third||Julia Morgan - USAMRDC|
|Fourth||Sally Feng - NCI|
|Fifth||CPT Isaac Downs - USAMRDC|
|First||Sarah Flaherty - NCI|
|Second||Dr. Amy Funk - NCI|
The SRF is open to Fort Detrick employees and local academia to attend and participate in the events. The SRF committee is always looking for judges, moderators, presenters and support members to assist in the planning and execution of the event.
To volunteer, inquire about the SRF or provide feedback on the 2021 SRF; please send us an email.