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Pitt's Center for Medical Innovation announces pilot funding for biomedical technology

PITTSBURGH (February 10, 2014) The University of Pittsburgh's Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded a total of $82,000 to six research groups through its 2013 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest research to receive funding includes projects ranging from a "smart" topical wound gel and CPR system to an infectious disease detection device and a prototype instrument for minimally-invasive brain surgery.

CMI, a University Center housed in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering, funds applied technology projects that are in the early stages of development, with the goal of ultimately transitioning the work to clinical adoption. Proposals were evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, technical and clinical relevance, potential health care impact and significance, experience of the investigators, and potential in obtaining further financial investment to translate the particular solution to healthcare. Funding ranges from $10,000-$25,000 each.

"CMI serves as a critical "kickstart" for biomedical devices that are ready to move to the next level of R&D, and so we're excited for the potential of these six projects," said Alan D. Hirschman, PhD, CMI Executive Director. "The CMI leadership team was impressed by the quality of these proposals, which represent some of the most intriguing early-stage interdisciplinary research at Pitt and UPMC. "

FOR: CUROSTEM: Cellular Bio-bandage
Award to develop Curostem, a 'smart' topical wound gel, which incorporates biological and pharmacological materials into a bioengineered polymer gel topically applied to non-healing wounds in all clinical care settings.

Research Team:
Donald P. Taylor, PhD, M.B.A.
Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE)

Austin Nuschke (Student co-PI)
Department of Pathology, UPMC

Alan Wells, MD, D.M.Sc.
Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Pathology, UPMC
Professor, Department of Bioengineering, SSOE

Eric Beckman, Ph.D.
George M. Bevier Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering, SSOE

FOR: Point-of-Care Molecular Diagnostic Instrument with Data-Tracking Capability for time-critical Infectious Disease Detection
Award to develop a rapid point-of-care instrument using isothermal DNA amplification to detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Research Team:
Abhay N. Vats, MD
Kathrin Gassei, PhD
Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Alex K. Jones, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director, Computer Engineering Program

William Stanchina, PhD
Chairman and Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, SSOE

FOR: Fiber-optic light cord safety sheath
Award to develop a device for use with laparoscopic surgical instruments to eliminate the risk of burns for over 2 million patients annually.

Research Team:
Benjamin T. Ristau, M.D
Urology Resident, Department of Urology, UPMC

William W. Clark, PhD
Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, SSOE

Steven G. Docimo, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

FOR: Dilatable ports for deep brain access
Award to design, build and test a prototype device for minimally invasive brain surgery, that can mitigate most of the tissue trauma generated by surgical devices.

Research Team:
Johnathan A. Engh, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, UPMC

Anne M. Robertson, PhD
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, SSOE

FOR: Automatic Chest Compression Device Adaptable to Physiologic Feedback.
Award to continue development of a "smart" CPR system. Grant will fund experimental work and preclinical studies.

Research Team:
Clifton Callaway, MD
Department of Emergency Medicine, UPMC

James Menegazzi, PhD
Department of Emergency Medicine, UPMC

William Clark, PhD
Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, SSOE

Matthew Sundermann
Graduate Student, Bioengineering, SSOE

FOR: Degradable reverse thermal gel as a controlled release platform for intraocular therapeutic delivery.
Award to continue development of an advanced gel for treatment of macular degeneration and other diseases of the eye.

Research Team:
Yadong Wang, PhD
Professor, Department Bioengineering, SSOE

Thomas Friberg, MD
Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC


Contact: Paul Kovach
University of Pittsburgh

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