Department of Basic Medical Science

Shock / Trauma Research


The Shock / Trauma Research Center at the School of Medicine brings clinicians and scientists together to bridge the gap between basic science and clinical care. The clinical signs of shock, indicated by dangerously low blood pressure, can be triggered by either infection or injury thus leading to inadequate perfusion of vital organs and tissues. Research presently being carried out in the Center has established that many of the basic biochemical and molecular mechanisms responsible for tissue damage are remarkably similar in hemorrhagic and septic shock, and that both types of shock involve basic cellular pathways leading to inflammation. While clinicians and scientists are beginning to understand these basic mechanisms, there is still much to be learned before it will be possible to effectively treat patients with these diseases. Developing and testing potential therapeutic interventions constitutes an important part of the research focus of investigators in the Center.

Dr. Charles Van Way, Endowed Chair in Shock Trauma Research, leads the Shock/Trauma Research Center. The Center conducts basic research on shock-induced tissue injury and organ failure, one of the very few such centers in the Midwest. Importantly, the Center is adjacent to a Level I trauma center, the largest in Western Missouri. Nearly 1,000 patients per year are admitted to the trauma center, approximately 40% with gunshot or knife wounds, and 20% with hemorrhagic shock. The Center is ideally suited to develop innovative techniques to treat shock, which can be readily transferred to improve the care of injured civilians in the community, or to wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Drs. David Morrison and Nilofer Qureshi, renowned for their research on septic shock, are key basic scientific investigators within the Center. Dr. Mingui Fu is a relatively recent addition to the Center.