Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert recently visited the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6 (NAMRU-6) as part of his regional engagement with the navies of Chile, Peru and Colombia.
NAMRU-6 had an opportunity to demonstrate U.S.-Peru collaborative efforts in disease surveillance and show off its world class laboratory facility in Lima.
The visiting party included the Peruvian CNO, Admiral Edmundo Deville; the Peruvian Director General of Naval Personnel, Vice Admiral Manuel Vascones; the Peruvian Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Rafael Zariquiey; and the Peruvian Naval Hospital Commander, Rear Admiral Hugo Gallo.
During the visit NAMRU-6 Commanding Officer Capt. Kyle Petersen briefed the visitors on the U.S.-Peru relationship from the founding of NAMRU-6 in 1983; the focus of the three overseas NAMRUs on tropical medicine product development and regional biosurveillance and NAMRU-6’s manpower and budgetary data.
Greenert toured NAMRU-6’s Parasitology laboratories where he learned from Lt. Cmdr. Ashley Jackson about molecular diagnostic tools for the parasite leishmaniasis and the world class malaria microscopy course provided to regional partner nations.
This was followed by molecular virology where Lt. Robert Hontz taught the CNO about full genome sequencing for pathogen discovery, PCR methods for influenza and dengue characterization and testing of new molecular tools for the field like the filmarray, and DTRA 24 month challenge devices.
In the bacteriology lab Greenert got to see efforts in antibiotic resistance, diarrheal vaccines and leptospirosis diagnosis from Lt. Nathaniel Reynolds.
The CNO then spent time with NAMRU-6 enlisted members HM2 Jose Jimenez and HM2 Logan Ortlieb who described their work in biomedical repair and inventory management.
The tour ended with displays of entomological research on mosquitoes and sandflies by Lt. Cmdr. Craig Stoops and a tour of the vivarium by Staff Sgt. Timothy Hair and Maj. Joseph Royal where all the NAMRU-6 preclinical work on diarrhea and malaria vaccines is carried out.
Greenert was interested in methods to protect and diagnose forward deployed Navy and Marine Corps members from dengue and malaria, particularly with the increased operational tempo in tropical parts of SE Asia; and, in NAMRU-6 efforts to bring the newest and most advanced laboratory technology to Latin America as a capacity building effort.
The CNO offered praise to Petersen and the NAMRU-6 crew on their outstanding scientific and diplomatic efforts in Peru on behalf of the U.S. Navy.
Story courtesy of NAMRU-6 Public Affairs. Image: Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the 30th Chief of Naval Operations, examines a campylobacter specimen. Campylobacter, a common cause of diarrhea, is one targeted pathogen in the NAMRU-6 pre-clinical vaccine program.