Ohio Governor Visits the SRI

Posted: July 9, 2021

On April 28th, 2021, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and first lady Fran DeWine joined OSU President Kristina Johnson and Ayanna Howard, Dean of the OSU College of Engineering, on a tour of the Spine Research Institute.  The aim of this visit was to interact SRI students, faculty, and staff and learn more about how multidisciplinary teams of researchers at the SRI study, treat and prevent spinal disorders.

SRI director William Marras (right) discusses spine research innovations with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, first lady Fran DeWine, OSU President Kristina Johnson and Ayanna Howard, Dean of OSU's College of Engineering.

Dr. William Marras, SRI Director, noted that spinal disorders are the number one reason people miss work and the second most common ailment for which opiates are prescribed. The health care costs to treat spinal disorders exceed $100 billion a year, he said.

Marras and members of the SRI research team demonstrated wearable technology that analyzes how people with spinal injuries walk, move, and work. This technology illustrates the stress different tasks can have on the spine and the muscles around it.

SRI team members also highlighted its collaboration with the Comprehensive Cancer Center to apply engineering principles to better understand the effects that cancer and cancer treatments can have on the spine.  In addition, the SRI has a 35-year relationship with the State of Ohio to provide research and expertise to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, helping employees recover from spinal injuries and return to work.

Howard said SRI highlights the importance of engineering research to improve lives.  “Ohio State engineers are pursuing solutions at many intersections, perhaps none more important than those involving health care. In collaborating with other disciplines and point-of-care experts, engineers can help solve complex problems like chronic back pain with data-driven analysis, artificial intelligence and the fundamental principles of devices and design,” she said.

“This is something that I think President Johnson is very focused on – not only increasing the research at Ohio State, but making sure that research flows out into the community,” Dewine said. “There’s this vision of Ohio, that this is the go-to place for technology and the go-to place for medical technology.  Dewine added, “We have all the pieces here already. We just have to continue to push and focus. What we’re seeing [at Ohio State] is just one more example of that.”

This article was adapted from a new story written by Ohio State News writer, Chris Booker (614-292-7276)