Going strong, Ignite Research Colloquium kindles partnerships

Ignite-Research-Colloquium-headerA goal of increasing collaborations, research capacity and external funding to improve overall health and well-being is a commonality of the three colleges within the Division of Health SciencesCollege of Public Health and Human Sciences (CPHHS), College of Veterinary Medicine (VetMed) and College of Pharmacy – as well as the Linus Pauling Institute.

Through the Ignite Research Colloquium, together the four joined forces to share and expand on the knowledge of leading edge researchers in their respective fields.

In this third colloquium, cancer research was the hot topic among the majority of presentations at October’s event.

“We had a diverse array of presentations that addressed the complex interplay of factors operating at multiple levels of influence to prevent, manage and treat cancer,” says CPHHS Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs Marie Harvey.

With specific research topics ranging from “Cancer Risks in Children with Birth Defects; Clues from a High-Risk Population” to “A Decade in Melanoma Research,” the rapid-fire presentations offered a unique opportunity for researchers to learn about others and consider how their expertise might benefit the overall cause.

Four research applications were funded by the Division of Health Sciences’ Interdisciplinary Research Grants Program after the first year of the program.

One, in particular, has already seen positive results from two years of discussions, research and application following the first Ignite Research Colloquium in 2013.

CPHHS Assistant Professor Megan MacDonald, VetMed Associate Professor Wendy Baltzer and Assistant Professor Craig Ruaux, and College of Agricultural Sciences Assistant Professor Monique Udell recently presented on their pilot study “Animal Assisted Adapted Physical Activity for Children with Motor Disabilities” – showing great progress since its inception.

“I’ve been impressed with our results,” Megan says. “Generally speaking, children are improving their motor skills and health. Not to mention, it’s such a fun study to be a part of!”

The team found that their independent, brief 5-minute presentations at Ignite has turned into something much more – a possible breakthrough in adapted physical activity.

“This partnership has led to a unique intervention for children with disabilities and their family dogs,” Megan says. “It’s been an amazing opportunity to work with faculty from other colleges on campus and it’s been really interesting for me to see how powerful our minds together move these ideas forward. I’m excited to see where this collaboration goes, but I’m especially excited to see how this work impacts children with disabilities.”

See the full list of presenters (pdf) at this year’s Ignite Research Colloquium and read about the colloquium’s in February 2013 and March 2014.