Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation awards four novel biomedical devices with $115,000 total Round-2 2017 Pilot Funding

PITTSBURGH (January 15, 2018) … The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $115,000 to five research groups through its 2017 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include proposed solutions to conditions such as peripheral artery disease, pulmonary fibrosis, improving auditory pathology detection, improved wound healing and repair, and a better means to perform root canal surgery. 

The Center for Medical Innovation, 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 sixth 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. “The CMI program supports innovative medical technology projects with commercial potential by fostering collaborations among UPMC’s clinicians and the Swanson School’s engineering faculty.”

AWARD 1: “A structurally and mechanically tunable Biocarpet for peripheral arterial disease”.  

For the development of a prototype “Biocarpet” that is mechanically and topographically tunable and can be used to treat complex peripheral artery disease. This will help treat long lesions in peripheral arteries that have multiple stenoses. 

[1] Jonathan P. Vande Geest PhD, Professor of Bioengineering, jpv20@pitt.edu                      

[2] Kang Kim PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering, kangkim@upmc.edu

[3] William R. Wagner PhD, Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering, wagnerwr@upmc.edu  

[4] John J. Pacella MD, Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine, pacellajj@upmc.edu     

[5] Kenneth J. Furdella, Graduate Student in Bioengineering, kfurdella@pitt.edu 

AWARD 2: “FibroKine (TM): CXCL10 Biomimetic Peptides for Treatment of Pulmonary Fibrosis” 

For the development of an inhaled aerosol delivery system will achieve target organ specificity and efficient delivery to the lung. This will specifically aid patients who suffer from Pulmonary Fibrosis.

[1] Cecelia C. Yates, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Development University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing, cey4@pitt.edu 

[2] Timothy E. Corcoran, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Medicine, Bioengineering, and Chemical Engineering University of Pittsburgh, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine,  corcorante@upmc.edu 

[3] Zariel I. Johnson, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Health Promotion and Development University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing zij3@pitt.edu 

[4] Christopher Mahoney, M.S. Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Bioengineering University of Pittsburgh, Swanson School of Engineering cmm237@pitt.edu 

AWARD 3: “ Hearing for Health: Single Unit Hearing Screener and Amplifier”

For the development of a wearable product that will allow health care professionals to quickly screen individuals for hearing loss. The device would also further provide sound amplification for those individuals with difficulty hearing. 

[1]Catherine V. Palmer, PhD, Director of Audiology at UPMC, Associate Professor Department of Communication Science and Disorders, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Otolaryngology, palmercv@upmc.edu

[2] Jeffrey S. Vipperman, PhD, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, Vice-Chair MEMS Department, jsv@pitt.edu

AWARD 4: “Gel-based reconstructive matrix for treating orbital trauma and periocular wounds” 

For the development of a novel ocular trauma management system, for immediate response to injuries that occur to the areas including and surrounding the eye.

[1] Morgan Fedorchak, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Ophthalmology, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, and Clinical and Translational Science fedorchak@pitt.edu

[2] Jenny Yu, MD, FACS Assistant Professor and Vice Chair for Clinical Operations Department of Ophthalmology/UPMC Eye Center 

[3] Michael Washington, PhD Postdoctoral Scholar Department of Ophthalmology 

AWARD 5: “Vital-Dent, a Revitalizing Root Canal Solution”

For the development of a novel device to regenerate vital tooth pulp after root canal therapy. Vital pulp will help protect the tooth from future infection and injury, reducing the need for tooth extraction, implants and dentures. 

[1] Juan Taboas, PhD, Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine, jmt106@pitt.edu 

[2]Herbert Ray, DMD, Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Department of Endodontics, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, hlr21@pitt.edu

[3] Jingming Chen, BS, Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine, jic74@pitt.edu 

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). 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. Over 50 early-stage projects have been supported by CMI with a total investment of over $1 million since inception.