Research Labs - War Related Illness and Injury Study Center
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War Related Illness and Injury Study Center

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Research Labs

 Currently there are two research labs at WRIISC:

Cardiorespiratory Physiology Laboratory

The Cardiorespiratory Physiology Laboratory’s (CPL) objective, as part of the WRIISC, is to study post-deployment health concerns with a focus on shortness of breath, inability to exercise, and fatigue within the context of military and environmental exposures, such as air pollution and burn pits. We are a human subjects research laboratory and take an integrative approach to complex problems facing Veterans. As such, we have a multidisciplinary team with expertise in clinical exercise physiology, exposure science, environmental health, respiratory physiology, biomedical engineering and biochemistry.

The CPL’s program of research spans two main areas of post-deployment health: Airborne Hazards and Gulf War Illness. Our active airborne hazards projects focus on understanding metabolic and physiologic mechanisms of respiratory symptoms such as our Pulmonary Vascular study as well as the unique role for blast overpressure injury on lung function and symptomatology. Together with our collaborators, we are also investigating novel imaging and physiologic techniques to assess the small airways as well as potential long-term health effects related to particulate matter exposure via animal models. Our Gulf War Illness projects are focused primarily in the manifestation of physical fatigue in Gulf War Veterans brought on by exercise and the role of mitochondrial dysfunction. The CPL's research efforts are informed by our clinical evaluation experience through the Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits Center of Excellence. Most importantly, knowledge gained from our research efforts informs and refines our clinical evaluations in order to provide Veterans the most advanced care.

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Behavioral Health Research Lab

The mission of Dr. Lisa McAndrew’s Behavioral Health Research Lab (BHRL) is to gain a better understanding of Veterans’ views and experiences related to their post deployment health concerns. We hope to apply this knowledge to develop evidence-based behavioral health interventions to improve Veterans’ overall quality of life and optimize health outcomes. The BHRL recognizes the inherent need to maximize health for Veterans presenting with both physical and mental health concerns. As such, our lab is driven and committed to understanding and promoting accessibility to and acceptability of behavioral health interventions within the larger VA system. The BHRL places high value on quality improvement, dissemination of knowledge and research, and continuing education. Most importantly, our lab values a collaborative and team-based approach to conducting innovative research to meet our goals.

Current research projects include a large funded randomized controlled trial examining how best to implement specialty care to Veterans with Gulf War Illness to improve disability, chronic pain, and other chronic physical symptoms; a clinical trial of Problem-Solving Therapy (PST) for Veterans with chronic pain and suicidal ideation; and a clinical trial of Health Coaching for Veterans with chronic pain and other complex symptoms. If you are interested in volunteering for any of our research studies, see our Volunteer for Research page. Past research studies include a clinical trial of Problem-Solving Therapy (PST) for Gulf War Illness and a study examining patient provider concordance. For the most updated publications from the BHRL lab, see the publications page.
The BHRL also has a thriving fellowship and training program. If you are interested in learning more about our training opportunities, see the WRIISC’s fellowship page.