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Dartmouth joins effort to help war wounded

Mar 04, 2011

CONTACT: Catharine Lamm

Dr. Joe Rosen
Dr. Joe Rosen

Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth has been awarded a place in The Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM)—a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary network striving to develop advanced treatment options for severely wounded U.S. servicemen and women. The Principal Investigator at Thayer School is Joseph Rosen, Adjunct Professor of Engineering and Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

"This new program will provide state-of-the-art technologies to help the wounded in the present wars," said Dr. Rosen. "It will also have long term dual use for civilian-related problems."

Managed and funded through the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC)—with additional funding from the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the National Institutes of Health, and the Veterans Administration—the AFIRM is made up of two "Cores": 1) The Rutgers University and Cleveland Clinic-led Core; and 2) The Wake Forest University-led Core. Each of the two civilian Cores is itself a multi-institutional network with Thayer School acting as part of the Rutgers-Cleveland Clinic Core. Each Core was awarded $42.5 million over a period of five years.

The AFIRM was designed to speed the delivery of regenerative medicine therapies for critically injured service members from around the world, with a focus on those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are five major programs:

  1. Limb Salvage, Regeneration and Transplantation
  2. Facial Reconstruction
  3. Burn Repair
  4. Scarless Wound Repair
  5. Compartment Syndrome Repair (of damage due to dangerous pressure levels occurring within body cavities).

Researchers will be investigating new therapies such as tissue engineering to develop innovative healing methods relevant to each program.

Rosen will play four major roles in the AFIRM: 1) Member of the Executive Committee; 2) Program Leader of the Compartment Syndrome Group; 3) Chair of the Surgical Advisory Committee (consisting of national surgical experts who will review the products); and 4) Member of the Synergy Group (spanning between the Rutgers-led and Wake Forest-led cores).


Dartmouth is a private, four-year liberal arts institution at the forefront of American higher education since 1769. A member of the Ivy League, Dartmouth is a superb undergraduate residential college with the intellectual character of a university, featuring thriving research and first-rate graduate and professional programs. Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth was founded in 1867 by Dartmouth alumnus Sylvanus Thayer. The School offers both undergraduate and graduate programs and operates a single unified Department of Engineering Sciences. World-class research at Thayer School is advancing innovation in three focus areas: engineering in medicine; energy technologies; and complex systems. These areas crosscut traditional engineering disciplines and address critical human needs.

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