GW student wins award for research

A GW medical student got lucky cutting some mice open and won a prestigious award.

Neil Badlani, a senior in the seven-year bachelor of arts/medical doctor combined degree program, received the Cabaud Memorial Award from the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine after discovering a new process that could have a significant impact on the field of sports medicine.

While studying scar tissue at the University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center this summer, Badlani discovered a way to use proteins to prevent the formation of scar tissue in mice. Scar tissue forms when injuries occur and can limit range of motion, a problem that can plague all athletes.

A paper written about the experiment won the AOSSM award. Badlani’s name appears second on the list of authors.

Working with a $3,500 stipend from the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative, Badlani anesthetized mice and gave them identical injuries by slicing through leg muscles. He stitched the injuries to mark where the incisions were made and waited for two weeks for the incisions to heal.

Badlani killed the mice to observe their tissue and injected the protein decorin into them. When the mice produced no scar tissue after two weeks, Badlani said his experiment was a success.

Badlani said the opportunity to work with scientists from all over the world, including a doctor for a Japanese sports team, was a highlight of the successful experiment.

It was a really good experience to be around so many well-known doctors and playful mice, Badlani said.

The paper about the experiment will be read at the annual AOSSM conference in Idaho and may be published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, Badlani said.

Badlani, who said he likes orthopedics because I’ve broken a lot of my own bones, hopes to be invited to the conference. He retains his sense of humor while he discusses the ranks that he has joined in the scientific community.

I’d really like to go to the conference.I’m really glad it’s held in Idaho and not someplace like California or Florida, he said.

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