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Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation awards three novel biomedical projects with $60,000 in Round 1 2020 Pilot Funding


PITTSBURGH (July 1, 2020) … The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $60,000 to three research groups through its 2020 Round-1 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include a virus-resistant wear-resistant textile, a system for removal of cell-free plasma hemoglobin in extracorporeal therapies, and a biocontainment unit for reducing viral transmission to healthcare workers and 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 eighth 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: “Wash-Stable and Mechanically Durable Anti-Virofouling Medical Textiles”
For the development of a nanoparticle-based reusable textile for use in healthcare settings.

Paul W. Leu, PhD;  Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering
Robert Shanks , PhD  Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, UPMC                                                 
Eric Romanowski, MS,  Research Director, Charles T. Campbell Laboratory of Ophthalmic Microbiolog

AWARD 2: “Targeted removal of cell-free plasma hemoglobin in extracorporeal therapies” 
For an extracorporeal hemoperfusion device that removes plasma hemoglobin from a blood column using treated porous beads.

Nahmah Kim-Campbell, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Pediatrics
William Federspiel, PhD; Professor of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering
Ryan Orizondo, PhD  Researcher in Bioenengineering, Swanson School of Engineerin

AWARD 3: “Individual Biocontainment Unit for Reducing Viral Transmission to healthcare Workers and Patients”
For the expedited development, approval and manufacture of a novel device for use with ICU patients to reduce contamination by aerosolized particles.

David M. Turer, MD, MS Department of Plastic Surgery, UPMC
Heng Ban, PhD; Professor Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, Swanson School of Engineering
J.Peter Rubin, MD;  Chairman, Dept of Plastic Surgery, UPMC

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About the University of Pittsburgh Center for Medical Innovation

The Center for Medical Innovation is a collaboration among the Swanson School of Engineering, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Innovation Institute, and the Coulter Translational Research Partnership II (CTRP). CMI was established in 2012 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 70 early-stage projects have been supported by CMI with a total investment of over $1.4 million since inception.

Contact: Paul Kovach