Military applications of the biology classroom

By Lt. Col. Melissa Eslinger Department of Chemistry and Life Science

May 17th, 2018 | News, News and Features
 Alan Beitler, Office of the Dean, discusses his deployed experiences as a hospital commander to cadets enrolled in CH275, core biology. Through a case study approach, cadets were able to see the relationships of deployed trauma cases to the upcoming lessons in human physiology and their futures as Army leaders.  Courtesy Photo

The core biology (CH275) course recently hosted a series of special topics relating science to events within the military and industry. The goal of this lesson was to support faculty to bring their research and field experiences to cadets to illustrate how course concepts are used and applied throughout their respective specialties.
The day began with Dr. George Kennedy, a first-year faculty member, describing how he uses genetic screens to determine the function of genes in the “making of a Ph.D.”
The assistant course director, Maj. Ryan Rodriguez, related his research interests in vector-borne disease and how this impacts public health, particularly with mosquito-borne illnesses. Aaron Owens, recently retired Army logistician, addressed the “Science of Deployed Logistics.”
With the final portion of the course focusing on human physiology, we were fortunate to have Dr. Alan Beitler, Office of the Dean, present his experiences as a West Point graduate, Infantry officer and Army surgeon. Dr. Beitler relayed his experiences as a hospital commander during Operation Enduring Freedom as well as the importance of cultural and cooperative efforts in deployed medicine.
The case study approach of the types of trauma injuries in a deployed environment resonated with the audience from both the scientific and humanities based perspectives.
We were pleased to welcome Capt. Rebecca Kent, an Army critical care nurse, and sister of CLS faculty member Maj. Elizabeth Kent, as she delivered a series of lectures entitiled “Army Battle Field Care.”
Kent described her experiences as a Special Operations Resuscitation Team (SORT) team leader in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). She returned from leading her eight- person deployment support team downrange in December 2017.
During her talk, she related the topics of human physiology, hemorrhagic bleeding and efforts with the “walking blood banks” pioneered by the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Kent provided practical examples of how officers, of all specialties, must be trained for kinetic operations and the importance of rapport building and cross training with local forces during stability missions.
Together, this series enriched cadets’ understanding of relevant and contemporary issues, techniques and technology along with an appreication of how concepts learned in core biology directly translate to current experiences within the Army, at all echelons.