CMI announces first seed grant awards


The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) has awarded its first seed grants of $25,000 to three teams of investigators as part of its 2012 Round-1 Pilot Funding Program. Each team represents a partnership between faculty co-investigators from the Swanson School of Engineering and the Schools of the Health Sciences. The awardees were selected by the CMI review team from among 32 proposals for innovative early stage medical technologies. Selection criteria involved considerations of clinical, technical, and commercial factors.

The CMI is a new interdisciplinary program within the University of Pittsburgh, whose purpose is to stimulate, guide, and promote the development and commercialization of early-stage technological innovations to improve health care. CMI provides an organizational structure that links faculty, students, and clinicians across the University of Pittsburgh through collaboration with the Swanson School of Engineering, Schools of the Health Sciences, Katz School of Business, School of Law, Office of Technology Management, and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership II.

The 2012 Round-2 Pilot Funding has been announced, and full proposals are due November 1, 2012. Details of this program and other CMI related information can be found at www.engineering.pitt.edu/cmi.

The list of 2012 Round-1 awardees is indicated below:

Award #1:
Carl Snyderman, MD, MBA, Professor, Department of Otolaryngology and Co-Director, UPMC Center for Cranial Base Surgery.
Jeffrey S. Vipperman, PhD , Associate Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Swanson School of Engineering.
“SafeDrill: bi-modal sensing for safe and efficient neurosurgical procedures”

The co-PIs are developing “SafeDrill”, an innovative system for use with existing tools in delicate cranial surgery. The device will reduce the risk of injury to patients and improve surgical efficiency by providing information to the physician who must penetrate bone in order to treat underlying soft tissue. CMI will fund the analytical and developmental work needed to translate the technology into a clinical instrument.

Award #2:
Tatum Tarin, MD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Dept of Urology
Kevin Chen,PhD, Professor, Dept of Electrical Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering
“A New Approach for Laser Surgery in Kidney”

The proposed technology is a breakthrough in the use of lasers for endoscopic kidney surgery. Advances in laser optics now make it possible to employ extremely compact endoscopes for diagnostic imaging, tissue characterization and optical ablation therapy in the kidneys through the ureters. CMI will fund the early development of a clinical device suitable for in vivo studies.


Award #3:
John A. Kellum, MD, Professor of Critical Care Medicine
William J. Federspiel, PhD, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering
“Respiratory Dialysis: CO2 Removal for Patients with Respiratory Failure”

The proposed technology is a significant advance in the application of hemodialysis to the treatment of patients with respiratory failure. CMI will fund the early development of a clinical device suitable for in vivo studies.