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    On the Edge: Leading Patent Foramen Ovale Research for Improved Warfighter Health

    2022: Phase 1 SMART Scholar and Mentor Pair

    Courtesy Photo | SMART Scholar: Ms. Karleigh Bradbury and Mentor: Nisha Charkoudian, Ph.D.... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    SMART Scholarship Program

    SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program Scholar Ms. Karleigh Bradbury and her mentor Nisha Charkoudian, Ph.D, embody the SMART vision of creating a highly skilled STEM workforce while supporting United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine’s (USARIEM) mission of providing “solutions to enhance warfighter health and performance through biomedical research.” Through the mentorship of Charkoudian, Bradbury has established herself as an emerging leader in patent foramen ovale (PFO) research during her SMART sponsored academic pursuit. For their collective efforts, Charkoudian and Bradbury were awarded the Fiscal Year 2022 Scholars and Mentors of the Year Award for a SMART scholar in academic pursuit for a doctoral degree.

    Bradbury is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in human physiology at the Cardiopulmonary and Respiratory Physiology Laboratory at the University of Oregon. Bradbury is working with Charkoudian on research focusing on the integrative physiological responses to exercise and thermal stress. Specifically, she is studying humans with and without a PFO, which is a hole in the heart. The American Heart Association estimates that more than a quarter of the population have a hole in the heart, mostly with no adverse health effects.

    To date, Bradbury has presented her research findings at regional, national, and international events. Her presentation, “Influence of a Patent Foramen Ovale on Heart Rate-Core Temperature Relationships at Rest and During Exercise in Young, Healthy Men,” was awarded “Best Graduate Presentation” at the Northwest Chapter American College of Sports Medicine Regional Meeting Presidents Cup.

    Additionally, Bradbury has published several research studies and co-authored papers for the Journal of Physiology titled, “Implications of a Patent Foramen Ovale for Environmental Physiology and Pathophysiology: Do We Know the ‘Hole’ Story?” Supplementary studies were published in the journal of Military Medicine, including work Bradbury co-authored with Charkoudian and other scientists at USARIEM.

    Charkoudian’s invaluable mentorship has amplified Bradbury’s impact during her Phase 1 academic pursuit. The mentor and mentee pair meet biweekly to discuss research progress and for Charkoudian to provide feedback. Bradbury also receives guidance on her presentations and publications from Charkoudian. These efforts allow Bradbury and Charkoudian to foster a positive working and collaborative relationship. The pair has also worked to complete collaborative studies for the United States Special Operations Command to assess three interventions to acute mountain sickness and exercise performance who high altitude events.

    As of present, Bradbury and Charkoudian have collectively completed several instrumental studies on warfighter health, enabling USARIEM to better plan for and prepare for field operations in support of the warfighter.

    Annually, SMART recognizes scholar and mentor pairs who embody the SMART vision of creating a highly skilled DoD workforce that competes with the dynamic trends in technology and innovation to protect national security. These awards recognize outstanding scholar achievements as well as the valuable guidance provided by their mentor at a SMART sponsoring facility.

    For more information on the Fiscal Year 2022 SMART Scholars and Mentors of the Year Award visit

    To read Bradbury study, “Implications of a Patent Foramen Ovale for Environmental Physiology and Pathophysiology: Do We Know the 'Hole' Story?” visit To learn more on Bradbury’s additional publication, “The Effectiveness of a Standardized Ice-Sheet Cooling Method Following Exertional Hyperthermia,” visit



    Date Taken: 01.27.2023
    Date Posted: 01.27.2023 14:47
    Story ID: 437392
    Location: US

    Web Views: 111
    Downloads: 0