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Participant Profiles

Participant Demonstrates Award-Winning Traits at U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense

In February 2003, Damon L. Burman was honored by receiving a The Black Engineer of the Year Technology Award given at the 17th annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.  The conference hosted over 8,000 students and professionals in the fields of math, science, engineering, and technology.

Burman was been a participant in the ORISE program at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and was a member of Dr. Carmen M. Arroyo’s research group at USAMRICD, first as a student contractor and then as an ORISE intern. 

During his tenure at the USAMRICD, Burman continued to demonstrate his award-winning traits. He was a highly versatile ORISE intern who conducted state-of-the art assays ranging from immuno assays such as human growth factor responses by utilizing enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods and clonogenic assays such as MTT assay for quantitating cellular growth and survival of human cells.

In addition, Burman assisted in several sophisticated biomagnetic resonance experiments using such techniques as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. He has participated in joint research projects with several senior scientists at the USAMRICD in an effective and successful manner.  One of the most recent examples of his versatility involved the performance of molecular biology assays using multiplex human polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR).

Through Burman’s efforts, a new methodology that allows simultaneous measurement of inter-related biomarkers of chemical warfare agent (CWA) cytotoxicity was introduced.  This new biotechnology also has potential application to the drug discovery process. 

At the 23rd Army Science Conference/Technical Program in Orlando, Fla., in December 2002, a paper entitled “Multiplex immunoassays as an effective method to simultaneously analyze different biomarkers allowing rapid diagnosis of injury resulting from chemical warfare agents (CWAs)” from Dr. Arroyo’s laboratory with Burman as co-author was selected for a poster presentation.

Previously, Burman attended and presented a paper entitled “Application of EPR and NMR to the analysis of phosphovanadomolybdate polyoxometalate, H5PV2Mo10O40, reacting with chloroethyl sulfides” at the 44th International Symposium of Magnetic Resonance, the Rocky Mountain Conference, during the summer of 2002.

Burman’s enthusiasm created a work atmosphere conducive to high production.  Evidence of this is acceptance of the peer review publication “Regulation of 1-a, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) induced by sulfur mustard on human skin cells” for publication in Pharmacology & Toxicology, 2003.  Most recently, Burman was a co-inventor of an invention patent application for a Topical Ointment for Vesicating CWAs that was filed in Jan. 14, 2003.

In addition to Burman’s efforts at the USAMRICD, he enrolled in the master’s degree program in Forensic Molecular Biology at George Washington University. Burman not only contributed to the development of medical countermeasures to chemical warfare agents, but he served to demonstrate the way ORISE interns can use their experiences to both foster their careers and share in advancement of science under the guidance of dedicated mentors and supporting institutions—in this case, Dr. Arroyo and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense.

Burman is now on the faculty of Villa Julie College in Maryland.