Parker commands dedicated researchers

Team tackles everything from engineering heart tissue to traumatic brain injury (Science Careers)

After 12 months on patrol in Iraq for the U.S. Marines, Sgt. Josue "Josh" Goss returned home in June to pursue another mission: graduate studies in biophysics. Although the transition to civilian life can sometimes be "brutal," the Harvard University lab where Goss works operates with a familiar sense of camaraderie and urgency. His e-mails, for example, are peppered with military verbiage and frequent requests for "sitreps," or situation reports.

Most of these abbreviated commands come from Kevin "Kit" Parker, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and a veteran himself, who served 10 months on patrol in Afghanistan for the U.S. Army. In addition to Goss, the Parker lab has two other veteran students, undergraduates Josue Guerra and Jorge Pozo. Together, the former soldiers are pursuing studies on traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Although their experience in a battlefield environment provides a common motivating factor for their studies, the students say it has, more significantly, helped prepare them for their scientific careers. "To be successful in the military, you’ve got to be a dynamic problem-solver. And that fits perfectly in line with research," Goss says. "Learning how to solve problems on the fly is the key to being effective in the laboratory."

Read the full story in Science Careers ...