DAN Announces the 2017 Recipient of the R.W. “Bill” Hamilton Memorial Dive Medicine Research Grant

Divers Alert Network® (DAN®) is pleased to announce Dr. Virginie Papadopoulou as the 2017 recipient of the R.W. “Bill” Hamilton Memorial Dive Medicine Research Grant.

DAN created the R.W. “Bill” Hamilton Memorial Grant in honor of Dr. Bill Hamilton, a world leading physiologist with over five decades of specialization in diving, aerospace, and environmental physiology with particular interest in decompression, breathing gases, and the effects of pressure. The award of $10,000 goes to a deserving scientist for the purposes of conducting dive medicine research. A range of research projects can be funded through this grant and the spirit of the program is to support initiatives closely related to Dr. Hamilton’s studies. Focus areas could include the physiology of decompression stress, primary decompression model development, optimization of decompression procedures, evaluation of decompression models implementation, comparative dive computer effectiveness studies and mechanisms of decompression illness.

Dr. Papadopoulou is an experienced researcher in the field of dive medicine with a background in physics and bioengineering. She is currently a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Dayton Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her primary research addresses ultrasound imaging and therapy of cancer using special formulations of microbubble contrast agents. Dr. Papadopoulou’s research aims to engineer techniques for monitoring human physiology as it adapts to extreme environments. She will use the R.W. Hamilton award, which is funded by the DAN Foundation and administered by the Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF), to support research into improving decompression science by redefining decompression modeling to limit decompression stress, as opposed to solely avoiding decompression sickness. The study will begin with an evaluation of whether dual frequency echocardiography can be used to assess post dive bubble population dynamics. Designed to improve decompression science and reduce the incidence of DCS, the study aligns closely with DAN’s mission to advance diving science and promote dive safety.

“I am honored to receive this award,” said Papadopoulou. “I sincerely appreciate the sustained emphasis on safety that DAN has demonstrated by actively promoting education and research initiatives that focus on preventing accidents and understanding risk factors. This award is a fantastic opportunity to introduce state-of-the-art ultrasound microbubble imaging techniques to the field of decompression physiology. My hope is that this new bubble population dynamic assessment after diving will allow us to personalize the decompression modeling that is key to safe sea and space exploration.”

The R.W. “Bill” Hamilton Memorial Dive Medicine Grant is scheduled to continue through 2020 and is intended to fund an important one-year research project culminating in a presentation of the findings to the leadership teams at DAN and the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Applicants can be involved in any aspect of the research, but the spirit of the program is to support initiatives closely related to Dr. Hamilton’s studies. For more information about the grant, or to apply, contact GBroyles@DAN.org.

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The largest association of recreational scuba divers in the world, DAN is supported by membership dues and donations. DAN's mission is to help divers in need of medical emergency assistance and to promote dive safety through research,education, products and diving services. The benefits of DAN membership include emergency medical evacuation assistance through DAN TravelAssist, a subscription to Alert Diver magazine and access to DAN's insurance services.

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