FEATURED PILOT GRANT AWARDEE
Bryn Martin, Phd
University of Idaho
MRI-Based Biomarkers for Characterization of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
“MW CTR-IN has provided me with collaborations beyond my university, opportunities for career development and learning, advice on federal grant proposal submissions, and funding to carry out an innovative research project. Another benefit is the high-level research culture it facilitates. My funding has put me in touch with other active and ambitious early career researchers at University of Idaho and beyond that will lead to success. The individual time that was spent to help directly mentor me and provide specific advice on my grant applications has been extremely helpful and something that is truly exceptional.”
Interview Q & A
- Why and how did you become interested in clinical &translational research?
- Dr. Martin: I majored in Mechanical Engineering as an undergraduate and wanted to get into research. There was a professor who was doing research in mechanics of towers so that they do not fall over during earthquakes and another who was doing research on a spinal cord disorder called syringomyelia. After talking with both of them, I decided that I would rather do research on people than on buildings. I didn’t really realize the relevance at the time, but ever since then, I started doing research as an undergraduate on syringomyelia with that professor and went on to get my PhD at the University of Illinois in Chicago. An advisor plays such an important role and I am very thankful for my advisor, Francis Loth. He’s a great person to work with, and I feel I have known since an undergraduate that I wanted to do engineering in the body. Some people don’t think of mechanical engineers working in the body, but actually there is actually a huge amount of things that can be done in bio-engineering. This field is really challenging, you have this tissue where it’s not just the mechanics of materials but you also have the biology interacting with the materials. So it’s like a wide-open space of questions.
- What has been the impact of the MW CTR-IN Pilot Grant on your career and research activities?
- Dr. Martin: I feel that in CTR-IN areas, we have limited resources. If you go to the more traditional disciplines, I think it can be hard to compete in some ways because equipment matters more and more. This was my first grant /external award as a new professor in 2015 and it is important for your promotion and tenure, as it makes you look competitive. It helped me do my first actual clinical study, IRB, informed consent & human subjects research, and also helped me connect with Medical Doctors in Idaho. After attending the CTR-IN Conference, I received support and recommendation with new angles towards my research that I am conducting in the future.
- How else has the MW CTR-IN Program helped you with your scientific questions / endeavors?
- Dr. Martin: Basically, the preliminary data that I collected from my first project for the MW CTR-IN was really useful for the upcoming projects in cerebrospinal fluid biomechanics, which is my focus.
- What was the most surprising to you about the MW CTR-IN Program?
- Dr. Martin: There is a bunch of project tracking, the funds were great, but after the project ended, there was so much online forms to fill out. I understand that this was a necessary procedure, but it’s a lot of paperwork.
- What do you think other people should know about the MWCTR-IN Program?
- Dr. Martin: I felt that the MW CTR-IN Program’s Annual Conference was so different than a typical conference. It’s really centered on people trying to really help each other and improving what you’re doing. I never expected that kind of support. I’m especially very grateful to this program which had introduced me to so many aspects of my research and where it can go. As a new researcher, the MW CTR-IN Program is a great resource to kick-start your project.