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CMI awards six new seed grants in 2012 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program

PITTSBURGH (January 7, 2013) ... The University of Pittsburgh's Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) has awarded six (6) new seed grants in the 2012 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program, totaling $113,000. Funding of the program is shared jointly between the Swanson School of Engineering and the Wallace H. Coulter Translational Research Partnership.

Each team receiving the award represents a partnership between faculty co-investigators from the Swanson School of Engineering and the Schools of the Health Sciences. The awardees were selected by the CMI review team from among 20 proposals for innovative early stage medical technologies. Selection criteria involved considerations of clinical, technical, and commercial factors. 

The CMI is an interdisciplinary program within the University of Pittsburgh, whose purpose is to stimulate, guide, and promote the development and commercialization of early-stage technological innovations to improve health care. CMI provides an organizational structure that links faculty, students, and clinicians across the University of Pittsburgh through collaboration with the Swanson School of Engineering, Schools of the Health Sciences, Katz School of Business, School of Law, Office of Technology Management, and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership II.

Details of this program and other CMI-related information can be found at  www.engineering.pitt.edu/cmi .

The list of 2012 Round-2 awardees are indicated below:

Award #1:
Thomas Friberg, MS, MD , Professor, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Bioengineering, UPMC Eye Center
  Yadong Wang, PhD , Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh
"Reverse thermal gel as a controlled release platform for intraocular therapeutic delivery"
Award for a controlled release drug delivery platform based on a specific reverse thermal gel to deliver therapy to the eye for treatment of a variety of eye diseases This technology will allow controlled release of drugs, thereby reducing treatment frequency, lowering infection risk, and reducing healthcare costs. The grant will generate data needed to attract investment, secure federal grant support, and to promote interest by the pharmaceutical industry. 


Award #2:
Matt Sundermann, Dept. of Bioengineering and Dept. of Emergency Medicine. 
David Salcido, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Dept. of Epidemiology
Robert Tisherman, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
James Menegazzi, PhD , Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Dept of Bioengineering
Clifton Callaway, MD, PhD , Dept. of Emergency Medicine
"Automatic Chest Compression Device" 
Award to develop a "smart" CPR system that controls the administration of chest compressions. The grant would be used to fund experimental work and comparisons with current commercial devices.


Award #3:
Richard E. Debski, PhD , Associate Professor, Dept. of Bioengineering
Shawn S. Farrokhi, PhD, DPT , Assistant Professor, Dept. of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
William F. Donaldson, MD , Professor and Chief Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery
"Daily web-based inter-ACTION: Rehabilitation through a Wearable Motion Tracking Device"
Award for proof of concept model of a wearable motion capture device and web-based software measuring and communicating joint function data for patients and physical therapists. Funds will be used to develop and test functional prototypes which can be tested and evaluated in a laboratory setting prior to patient use.


Award #4:

Charles Sfeir, DMD, PhD , Director, Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, University of Pittsburgh
  Prashant N. Kumta, PhD , Professor of Bioengineering
"Degradable Metallic Plates and Screws for Bone Fixation"
Award for development and pre-clinical testing of second generation devices manufactured from proprietary biodegradable magnesium alloys. Safety and efficacy of devices will be evaluated for bone fracture healing.


Award #5:
Brian Jankowitz, MD , Assistant Professor Neurosurgery, UPMC
Anne M. Robertson, PhD , Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Youngjae Chun, PhD , Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering
"Novel Guidewires for Smooth Navigation in Interventional Radiology"

Award for development and testing of a novel class of guidewires, which facilitate endovascular interventions through complex vascular anatomy, and thereby reduce procedure time and patient risk.


Award #6:
Abbay N. Vats, MD , Dept. of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, UPMC
  Alex J. Jones, PhD , Associate Professor, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  Marlin Mickle, PhD , Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  William Stanchina, PhD , Chairman and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
"Point of Care Molecular Diagnostic Instrument with Data Tracking Capability"
Award for development of a rapid, inexpensive, point of care instrument utilizing isothermal DNA amplification for detecting STDs. Funds will be used to refine the current functional proof of concept model into a compact, portable system suitable for commercialization.


Contact: Paul Kovach