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Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation awards four novel biomedical devices with $85,000 total Round-2 2015 Pilot Funding

Proposals include a nanowire glaucoma drainage implant; an emergency lung intubation device; a timed-release microsphere drug for middle-ear infections; and bioactive hydrogels for bone regeneration

Pitt CMI logoPITTSBURGH (February 1, 2016) … The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $85,000 to four research groups through its 2015 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include a nanowire glaucoma drainage implant; an emergency lung intubation device; a timed-release microsphere drug for middle-ear infections; and bioactive hydrogels for bone regeneration. 

CMI, a University Center housed in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE), 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. 

“This is our fourth year of pilot funding, and our leadership team could not be more excited with the breadth and depth of this round’s awardees,” said Alan D. Hirschman, PhD, CMI Executive Director. “This early-stage interdisciplinary research helps to develop highly specific biomedical technologies through a proven strategy of linking UPMC’s clinicians and surgeons with the Swanson School’s engineering faculty.” 

AWARD 1: Self-Cleaning Smart Antibacterial Surfaces
Award to design, build and test a glaucoma drainage implants with antimicrobial properties based on nanowire technology
Paul W. Leu, PhD
Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering 

Graham Hatfull, PhD
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences 

Robert M.Q. Shanks, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology 

Nils Loewen, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology 

AWARD 2: Esophocclude (Temporary Occlusion of the Esophagus in Patients Requiring Emergent Intubation)
Award to develop a new lung intubation device which minimizes the risk of gastric aspiration in emergency care and in surgical applications
Philip Carullo, MD
Resident, Department of Anesthesiology 

Youngjae Chun, PhD 
Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering 

AWARD 3: Controlled release, gel-based ear drops for treatment of otitis media
Award to develop a novel timed release microsphere drug delivery system for treatment of middle ear infections
Morgan Fedorchak, PhD
Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering 

Cuneyt Alper, MD
Professor, Department of Ophthalmology 

AWARD 4: RegenMatrix (Collagen-mimetic Bioactive Hydrogels for Bone Regeneration)
Award to apply develop a bioactive hydrogels to guide bone mineralization in osteoporosis and in healing of fractures
Shilpa Sant, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences 

Yadong Wang, PhD
Professor, Bioengineering 

Sachin Velankar, PhD
Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering 

Charles Sfeir, DDS, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology 

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 Office of Technology Management (OTM), 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 in cooperation with OTM and in partnership with CTRP.



Contact: Paul Kovach