Public Release: 

Giving new medical tech a kickstart at University of Pittsburgh

Pitt's Center for Medical Innovation awards five novel biomedical devices with $115,000 total Round-2 2017 Pilot Funding

University of Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (January 22, 2018) ... The University of Pittsburgh's Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $115,000 to five engineering and medicine groups through its 2017 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include proposed solutions to conditions such as peripheral artery disease, pulmonary fibrosis, improving auditory pathology detection, improved wound healing and repair, and a better means to perform root canal surgery.

The Center for Medical Innovation, a University Center housed in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering, supports applied technology projects in the early stages of development with "kickstart" funding toward the goal of transitioning the research to clinical adoption. Proposals are 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.

"We have an extremely strong cohort from our 2017 Round 2 funding," said Alan D. Hirschman, PhD, CMI Executive Director. "The collaboration between engineering and medicine at Pitt provides a fertile setting for novel medical technology, and so we're proud to give these researchers funding to take their ideas to the next level."

AWARD 1: A structurally and mechanically tunable Biocarpet for peripheral arterial disease

Development of a prototype "Biocarpet" that is mechanically and topographically tunable and can be used to treat complex peripheral artery disease. This will help treat long lesions in peripheral arteries that have multiple stenoses.

Jonathan P. Vande Geest, PhD
Professor of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

Kang Kim, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and secondary appointment in Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

William R. Wagner, PhD
Professor of Surgery University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Director, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and secondary in Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

John J. Pacella, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Vascular Medicine Institute

Kenneth J. Furdella
Graduate Student, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

AWARD 2: FibroKine: CXCL10 Biomimetic Peptides for Treatment of Pulmonary Fibrosis

Development of an inhaled aerosol delivery system will achieve target organ specificity and efficient delivery to the lung. This will specifically aid patients who suffer from Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Cecelia C. Yates, PhD
Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Development, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Timothy E. Corcoran, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and secondary appointments in departments of Bioengineering and Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

Zariel I. Johnson, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Christopher Mahoney, M.S.
PhD Candidate, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

AWARD 3: Hearing for Health: Single Unit Hearing Screener and Amplifier

Development of a wearable product that will allow health care professionals to quickly screen individuals for hearing loss. The device would also further provide sound amplification for those individuals with difficulty hearing.

Catherine V. Palmer, PhD
Program Director and Associate Professor, Audiology Program, Department of Communication Science & Disorders, University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences; and Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Jeffrey S. Vipperman, PhD
Professor and Department Vice-Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

AWARD 4: Gel-based reconstructive matrix for treating orbital trauma and periocular wounds

Development of a novel ocular trauma management system, for immediate response to injuries that occur to the areas including and surrounding the eye.

Morgan Fedorchak, PhD
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Clinical & Translational Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; secondary appointment in Chemical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering; and Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration

Jenny Yu, MD, FACS
Assistant Professor and Vice Chair for Clinical Operations Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC Eye Center; and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Michael Washington, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

AWARD 5: Vital-Dent, a Revitalizing Root Canal Solution

Development of a novel device to regenerate vital tooth pulp after root canal therapy. Vital pulp will help protect the tooth from future infection and injury, reducing the need for tooth extraction, implants and dentures.

Juan Taboas, PhD
Department of Oral Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine; secondary appointment, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering; and Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine

Herbert Lee Ray Jr., DMD
Assistant Professor of Endodontics and Director, Graduate Endodontic Residency Program, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine; and Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine

Jingming Chen, B.S.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering; and Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine

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About the Center for Medical Innovation

The Center for Medical Innovation at the Swanson School of Engineering is a collaboration among the University of Pittsburgh's Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Innovation Institute, and the Coulter Translational Research Partnership II (CTRP). CMI was established in 2011 to promote the application and development of innovative biomedical technologies to clinical problems; to educate the next generation of innovators in cooperation with the schools of Engineering, Health Sciences, Business, and Law; and to facilitate the translation of innovative biomedical technologies into marketable products and services. Over 50 early-stage projects have been supported by CMI with a total investment of over $1 million since inception.

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