St. John's Medical Research Scientists to Teach Children

March 17, 2010

Area children will get the chance to meet real-life medical research scientists at a Discovery Center event 6-8 p.m. March 30.

St. John’s Medical Research Institute scientists will provide demonstrations of products invented and created in Springfield and share their experiences being part of the innovation process. The event is part of many scheduled during the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship and Art (IDEA) Exposition. The second annual event will take place in downtown Springfield in the urban research park district March 30; April 1-2, 2010.

Kara Childers is among the scientists who will be on hand that Thursday. She is one of now 21 full-time staff working at St. John’s Medical Research Institute. The team works alongside physicians on a variety of drugs and devices, ranging from plastic surgery to infectious disease.

“The research we do at St. John’s is different than many other research facilities in that the problem is brought to us by an individual and we work along side them to find a solution ,” she said.

The research team stays involved with the project or device through the manufacturing and production phase until it is eventually back in the hands of the individual who brought the idea to the institute. “I like this type of research because we’re not justdeveloping a novel technology and then trying to apply it to medicine, but we are creating a technology with specific purpose tailored to fit the intended need.”

Growing up, Kara was surrounded with family members who worked in the healthcare field.  She enjoyed listening to their stories about interesting cases and quickly realized she was intrigued with the problem solving aspect of healthcare.

“I knew I wanted to be a part of creating solutions to existing problems healthcare providers face”, says Kara, “that is what research is all about”.

While an undergraduate student at Missouri State University, Kara worked for the Center of Biological and Life Sciences (CBLS), a branch of Jordan Valley Innovation Center (JVIC), working on medical research projects for St. John’s. During this time she also worked as a patient care associate at St. John’s Hospital. Working alongside medical staff, gave Kara a better understanding of the hurdles patients, nurses and the hospital face everyday.

“I quickly realized my passion was improving patient care.  In research I am not directly involved in giving patient care, but when I’m in the operating room and the device I helped design is being used and the patient is safer and the doctor can do his job better, I know ultimately it’s the patient’s who benefit.  That is very rewarding.”

While working on her Master’s thesis research project, Kara had the opportunity to work with St. John’s ophthalmologist, Dr. Wendell Scott.  Dr. Scott was looking to the Institute to help him create an antiseptic for the eye to be used clinically and over-the-counter that would not burn the patient’s eyes. Before Povinol, there wasn’t a product capable of broad spectrum antisepsis that didn’t require local anesthetics, or a product for minor infections of the eye other than a physician-prescribed antibiotic.  Povinol may also have applications in treating the world's leading cause of preventable blindness - Trachoma, in third world nations.

Want to Attend?


March 30, 2010

6-8 p.m.

DiscoveryCenter 438 E. St. Louis Street

Free Addmission

Kara, along with other research scientists from St. John’s Medical Research Institute at Jordan Valley Innovation Center and Inveno Health, will provide educational sessions and demonstrations on medical innovation and research.

This event is part of the second annual IDEA Exposition and is an opportunity for children to see what careers in science are available in Springfield.

Media Contacts

Sonya Kullmann
Berryville, Branson, Cassville, Lebanon, Mountain View, Rolla, Springfield, Aurora
Phone: 417-820-2426