Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation awards three novel biomedical devices with $65,000 total Round-1 2017 Pilot Funding
Faculty from Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering and Industrial Engineering among this round's recipients

PITTSBURGH (July 26, 2017) … The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $65,000 to three research groups through its 2017 Round-1 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include a new technology for reducing risk of post-partum uterine hemorrhage, a thermal device for inducing nerve block in pain control, and a system to improve transplanted organ viability.

CMI, a University Center housed in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, 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 sixth year of pilot funding,” said Alan D. Hirschman, PhD, CMI Executive Director. “Since our inception, more than $1 million from external funding sources and from the Swanson School of Engineering has been invested in early stage medical technologies. Many of these technologies have the potential to significantly improve the delivery of health care and several new companies have resulted from the program, which has successfully partnered UPMC’s clinicians and surgeons with the Swanson School’s engineering faculty.”


AWARD 1: Objective Postpartum Uterine Tone Monitoring
Funds development of a new prototype uterine tone measurement device for eventual testing in the clinical setting. The device would evaluate intra-uterine muscle tone for detection of and control of postpartum bleeding.

Gerhardt Konig, MD
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Jason Shoemaker, PhD
Assistant Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering


AWARD 2: Novel Thermal Block Technology to Block Nerve Conduction
For development and preclinical testing of a thermal nerve block device for anesthesia and pain control. Early research in mice shows that the effect can be useful in controlling production and communication of nerve impulses. The award will demonstrate proof of concept to attract additional funding from external competitive grants. Development of a small implantable, wireless controlled, wireless chargeable device to control the electrodes will be a primary goal. The prototype device will then test the pudendal nerve to confirm the nerve block effects.

Changfeng Tai, PhD
Associate Professor of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Associate Professor of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

Christopher Chermansky, MD
Assistant Professor of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

Bo Zeng, PhD
Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering


AWARD 3: OrganEvac/Whole Organ Sonothrombolysis Device
This award is an equal participation between the Center for Medical Innovation and the Coulter Translational Research Partners II Program at Pitt. The early stage seed grant will demonstrate proof of concept that sonothrombolysis technology can greatly enhance viability of transplanted liver tissue through evaluation of thromboemboli in excised, non-transplantable human liver tissue.

Paulo Fontes, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Director of the Machine Perfusion Program, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

John Pacella, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Heart and Vascular Institute

Flordeliza Villaneuva, MD
Vice Chair for Pre-Clinical Research, Department of Medicine and Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Director, Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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 Innovation Institute, and the Coulter Translational Research Partnership II (CTRP). Established in 2011, CMI promotes the application and development of innovative biomedical technologies to clinical problems; educates the next generation of innovators in cooperation with the schools of Engineering, Health Sciences, Business, and Law; and facilitates the translation of innovative biomedical technologies into marketable products and services. CMI has supported more than 50 early-stage projects through more than $1 million in funding since inception.

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7/26/2017

Contact: Paul Kovach