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Burn Research

Burn and Critical Landing
Burn Research

Introduction to Burn Research

The mission of The Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center is to provide the best, and most advanced care to our patients. The Burn Center is the only adult burn treatment center in the Washington metropolitan area and features a multidisciplinary team approach to burn care that provides comprehensive, cutting-edge care for burn patients. Our surgeons, nurses, therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, and social workers hold degrees in their respective areas of expertise and all receive further specialized training in burn care. With more than 700 admissions annually, The Burn Center cares for an array of thermal, electrical, and chemical injuries as well as frostbite, soft tissue lesions, and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

In order to provide such cutting-edge, comprehensive care for our burn patients, an equally important part of our mission is to conduct innovative clinical and translational research. Research studies focusing on a variety of injury types and on all aspects and stages of burn care -- from injury to rehabilitation, advance the technologies and treatments available to patients. The research staff at the Firefighters’ Burn and Surgical Research Laboratory work as a team with clinicians and surgeons, the Outreach Coordinator, and local firefighters to understand the current challenges in burn care and areas where there is a need for greater knowledge that can be addressed through research. 

Research Topics

Clinical trials and translational studies are conducted in a variety of focus areas, including the following:

  • Burn injury related pain and itch
  • Wound healing products and technologies
  • Burn wound conversion and progression
  • Burn shock
  • Coagulopathies in burn and trauma patients
  • Novel applications of dermal substitutes
  • Transfusion practices
  • Electrical injury and limb salvage
  • Hypertrophic scarring development and treatment
  • Mechanisms of skin and scar dyspigmentation
  • Nutritional requirements for burn patients
  • Sepsis and complications of infection
  • Effects of hemofiltration in burns with sepsis and acute kidney injuries
  • Wound microbiomes and host:pathogen interactions
  • Rehabilitation of burn patients
  • Non-invasive wound imaging technology
  • Other skin disorders including Hidradenitis and Vitiligo
  • Occupational risks and challenges in rehabilitation for firefighters and military personnel

Awards, Recognitions, Innovative Technologies

The burn research team routinely publishes findings in academic journals and presents work at local, national and international conferences. The investigators hold academic appointments at institutions such as Georgetown University, the Catholic University of America, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. A diverse group of experts comprise the burn research staff including physicians (MD), scientists (PhD), nurses (RN), and trained laboratory technicians (BS, MS).

Techniques and novel methodology involving histology, molecular and cellular biology, non-invasive imaging, and model development are employed and emphasized in all research areas. Collaborations with colleagues in academic institutions, industry, government, and military allow for expanded technical capabilities as well as insight into important research areas for pharmaceutical interests, combat casualty care, basic science, and device development.

Collaborations within MedStar such as those with investigators in the MedSTAR Trauma service, Emergency Department, Department of Surgery, and Critical Care, further enhance the robustness of our research and it’s relevance to patient care at MedStar and beyond.

Contact Information

Contact us to obtain more information about our research programs.



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