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Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation awards three novel biomedical devices with $53,000 total Round-2 2014 Pilot Funding


PITTSBURGH (Dec 11, 2014) … The University of Pittsburgh's Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $53,000 to three research groups through its 2014 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include developing super-sensitive chemical assays for detecting blood proteins, a novel retractor for abdominal and thoracic surgical procedures, and a self-monitoring device for rehabilitation of stroke patients. 

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 third 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." 

FOR: I-HITS: Individualized Hand Improvement and Tracking system for stroke.
Award to design, build and test a rehabilitation system for stroke patients to self-monitor, track, and improve hand weakness. 

Amit Sethi, PhD, OTR/L 
Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences 

Ervin Sejdic, PhD 
Assistant Professor, Dept of Electrical & Computer Engineering 

Scott Bleakley, PT, PhD 
Director of Therapy Services, Health South Hospitals of Pittsburgh 

FOR: Diagnosis of Aggressive Prostate Cancer via Detection of MMP9 in Biological Fluids
Award to develop a prototype chemical assay device for detection of femtomolar levels of MMP9 in biological fluids. 

Abhinav Acharya, PhD 
Postdoctoral Associate, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering 

Steven R. Little, PhD 
Associate Professor and Chair, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering 

Tatum V. Tarin, MD 
Assistant Professor of Urology, UPMC 

FOR: A motorized flexible arm retractor for open abdominal surgery
Award to develop a prototype flexible retractor system which significantly improves effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of surgical procedures. 

Garth A. Elias, MD 
UPMC Mercy Dept of General Surgery 

Pete Allen, MD 
UPMC Mercy Dept of General Surgery 

Jeffrey S. Vipperman, PhD 
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science 

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