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The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $47,500 to three research groups through its 2019 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include a system for preservation of explanted hearts used in transplantation surgery, a new vascular stent with anti-thrombogenic capability, and a rugged, infection-resistant material for orthopedic implants.

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.

The winning projects, objectives, and teams include:

AWARD 1: “A Structurally and Mechanically Tunable Biocarpet for Peripheral Arterial Disease”

For the development of a material and method of deployment of specialized materials that coat the inner lumen of synthetic vascular grafts. The coating will greatly improve the viability and anti-thrombogenic properties of long stent grafts which overlap flexible joints.

Jonathan Vande Geest, PhD, Professor of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering
William Wagner, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering; Director, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
John Pacella, MD, Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine, UPMC

AWARD 2: “Ex-Vivo Heart Perfusion System for Human Heart Support, Resuscitation, and Physiologic Testing”

For the development of a system for preservation of explanted donor hearts suitable for transplantation. Includes means to verify the heart’s mechanical and biological viability to improve recipient response.

Christopher Sciortino, MD, PhD, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, UPMC
Harvey Borovetz, PhD, Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering
Rick Shaub, PhD, UPMC Artificial Heart Program, UPMC
Garrett Coyan, MD, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, UPMC; William Wagner Lab, McGowan Institute

AWARD 3: “In Vivo Efficacy of an Antibacterial and Biocompatible Polymeric Nanofilm on Titanium Implants”

For the development of biocompatible, anti-biofilm coatings for orthopedic use, especially in children.

Houssam Bouloussa, MD, MS, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Michael McClincy, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, UPMC
Prashant Kumta, PhD, Professor of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering

“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 McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Alan 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.”

Congratulations, all!

Read more…

University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering News Release