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Solving Challenging Medical Problems in a PInCh

Pitt Bioengineering teams win top prizes at the 2023 Pitt Innovation Challenge Awards

AneuRisk - award

Teams from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering are walking away with a total of $200,000 from the 2023 Pitt Innovation Challenge Awards. Three teams from Pitt’s Department of Bioengineering won this year for proposing innovative projects that will change the future of healthcare. 

The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®), a program supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), is designed to generate innovative solutions to challenging health problems by mitigating risk and providing financial and administrative support to move ideas forward. The program allows for the translation of problem-focused research into the community through funding and encouraging groundbreaking collaborations. 

The Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Bioengineering had four winning representatives this year, including Senior Associate Dean for Research & Facilities David Vorp and Visiting Research Assistant Professor Timothy Chung, whose team placed second in the challenge. The team will receive $100,000 for Aneurisk, an artificial intelligence-based tool that can assess the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm patients.

  • AneuRisk
    ($100,000 Awardee)  An artificial intelligence-based tool to assess the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm patients that can reduce imaging costs, radiation, and prevent adverse outcomes.  Timothy Chung, PhD; David Vorp, PhD; Nathan Liang, MD, MS.

Two other teams with BioE faculty members, Assistant Professors Morgan DiLeo and Kevin Bell,  were awardees. Each team received $15,000 Bonus Awards in the competition, which were given to teams who engaged with the Makerspaces at the Pitt Swanson School of Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship program in their project. 

  • A-SIDE
    ($50,000* Awardee)  A bioengineered Autologous Serum Ocular Insert for Dry Eye Disease, using a patient's own blood serum proteins to treat dry eye disease with convenience, comfort, and efficacy. Morgan DiLeo, PhD; Vishal Jhanji, MD.
  • CuffLink
    ($50,000* Awardee) A groundbreaking rotator cuff telehealth rehabilitation platform that combines the safety of mechanical motion exercise equipment with motion tracking and remote monitoring to improve patient recovery. Kevin M. Bell PhD; Michael P. McClincy, MD.

Pitt’s Department of Bioengineering has a history of past PInCh winners, including Partha Roy, professor of bioengineering, whose team took first place last year. Other previous awardees include bioengineering primary faculty Jonathan Vande Geest, Bryan Brown, and many more bioengineering-affiliated individuals throughout the past ten years of the challenge.  See a full list of this year’s awardees here.A-SIDE - stage

About CTSI

The University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is an integral part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) nationwide network that provides the support necessary to bridge the gap between innovative approaches to research and effective clinical and public health practice and policy. CTSI creates, supports, and encourages opportunities that better the human condition. Whether that is helping a researcher find study participants, providing seed funding for an idea with potential, or giving guidance on the dos and don’ts of clinical research, CTSI  can move your research, project, or idea through from start to finish.