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Actin’ like Winners

Swanson School and Medicine teams win top prizes at the 2022 Pitt Innovation Challenge Awards

Teams from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and School of Medicine are walking away with $100,000 from the 2022 Pitt Innovation Challenge Awards to change the future of healthcare. The bioengineering and chemical engineering departments were part of this year’s top projects. 

The Swanson School has an impressive track record at the PInCh Awards. In 2019, a bioengineering and ophthalmology team won the $100,000 prize for their novel contact lens that are coated with an immune modifying molecule for the treatment of dry eye disease.

Written by Robert Merlino, republished with permission 

Pitt Innovation Challenge Awards $550,000 for Healthcare Solutions


 PITTSBURGH, Oct. 27, 2022 - A total of $550,000 was awarded for the 2022 Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®).  Nine awardee teams proposed creative solutions to address important health problems including diagnostics, treatments, interventions, and programs. These solutions, if successfully brought into clinical practice, could significantly improve health outcomes for many and create healthier communities. The challenge, which is in its ninth year, is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

 After two rounds of pre-selection, the top six teams moved on to the final event where they pitched their ideas to a panel of judges to win up to $115,000. All of the finalists were guaranteed a minimum of $25,000. Three awards were also given to the winners of the virtual PInCh Elevator Pitch Competition.

 Bonus Awards for Engineering Good Health were available for PInCh 2022 teams with Pitt faculty leads from both the School of Engineering and Schools of the Health Sciences.

 $100,000 Awardees:

  • Actin Against ALS (A3), Christi Kolarcik, PhD& Partha Roy, PhD. $15,000 Bonus Award Recipient.
  • Micro-shield: Abdominal Adhesion Prevention, Steven Little, PhD; Thiagarajan Meyyappan, MD; Matthew Rosengart, MD. $15,000 Bonus Award Recipient.
  • Vanish Bioresorbable Stimulator. Trent Emerick, MD, MBA & Tracy Cui, PhD. $15,000 Bonus Award Recipient. 

 $35,000 Awardees:

  • Biocarpet, Jonathan Vande Geest, PhD & John Pacella, MD. $15,000 Bonus Award Recipient
  • Engaging Together for Healthy Relationships, Maya Ragavan, MD, MPH, MS.
  • Nephro-Safe, Sunder Sims-Lucas, PhD. 

Elevator Pitch Competition – $25,000 Awardees:

  • 3D Printed Filters, Markus Chmielus, PhD.
  • BIONIC: Naloxone Biofeedback Patch, Gaurav Chauhan, MD & Alexander Star, PhD. $5,000 Bonus Award Recipient.
  • CREAM Depression: Augmented Reality BCI, Mary Woody, PhD. $5,000 Bonus Award Recipient.

 The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) is an annual program supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Pittsburgh, designed to generate innovative solutions to challenging health problems by mitigating risk and providing financial and administrative support to move ideas forward. The PInCh program stimulates the translation of novel problem-focused research into the community by giving researchers a venue to be creative, develop new ideas, and work with people beyond their usual sphere of collaborators.

View the 2022 highlights video below: