Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care

mcircc matrix

M-CIRCC: The Critical Injury and Illness Center based at NCRC Creates an Important Comprehensive Research Platform

The vision for interdisciplinary, collaborative research at U-M has gained significant strength in an exciting new development. The university recently launched the Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care or M-CIRCC, a new center for the study of acute illnesses and injuries, to be based at NCRC. Like other flourishing research programs at NCRC such as the Biointerfaces Institute, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, the Cardiovascular Research Center, the Translational Oncology Program and the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, M-CIRCC will focus on innovative translational research in a team science framework. It brings together scientists, physicians and engineers in a broad range of specialties, from emergency medicine, surgery, internal medicine, nursing and pediatrics to biomedical engineering, pharmacy, epidemiology and bioinformatics.

With the formation of M-CIRCC, the already renowned critical illness and injury research at U-M has acquired an integrated and comprehensive platform across several major clinical entities, ranging from adults to children, and trauma to medical, while also drawing on cutting-edge engineering and applied basic science expertise of U-M’s world-class research enterprise. This creates an enormous potential to help a large variety of patients with a range of acute and critical illnesses and injuries.

Dr. Younger Portrait

M-CIRCC is a unique program, probably the only one in the country that is as broad based and integrated between all the critical care specialties and with an extensive level of involvement with medical, engineering and other schools across campus. Several locational benefits of NCRC add to the synergies between the key areas within M-CIRCC. Apart from the close connection with the medical school, the proximity to the College of Engineering on north campus and the presence of the Office of Tech Transfer right on the NCRC site are major advantages in the translation of the research into tangible patient benefits. 

An important part of the center’s mission will be serving as a place where junior investigators in the life sciences and engineering can get exposure to the intellectual richness and complexity of the challenges encountered when caring for the most severely ill patients.  Dr. John Younger, one of the founding members of the group, put it this way.  “In every hallway of this institution, and on a daily basis, I walk by the brightest, most motivated students I have ever seen.  All of these kids are going to apply their brains, energy, and passion to something.  One of my personal goals for M-CIRRC is for the center to serve as a magnet for all of this talent, for it to be a place where students, residents, and fellows can get a sense of the impact they might have on the lives of our patients.  We want them to spend some time with us and realize that there’s nothing else in the world they’d rather work on.”

Several major participants in M-CIRCC have already moved to NCRC. Research operations include the labs of Drs. Neumar, Younger, and Ward from the Department of Emergency Medicine - researchers who focus on cardiac arrest, sepsis, and critical care monitoring, as well as Dr. Hasan Alam’s surgery group with a large trauma research program. Researchers who will collaborate in the bioinformatics area will be dual-based in the new center and in the Department Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics. Close collaborations with strategic partners such as the Biointerfaces Institute, Michigan Center for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) and the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI), all of which are already at NCRC, will be facilitated by the location. M-CIRCC is thus not only internally composed of a wide range of researchers, its deliberate strategy of reaching out to other established research programs to foster new collaborations adds yet another dimension. After all, when critical masses of researchers from diverse groups are co-located and are provided ample opportunities for interaction, who can predict the path-breaking innovations that could result?