Columbia-Coulter 2012 – 2013 Cycle 1 Awardees

Mar 25 2014

Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership

2012 – 2013 Cycle 1 Awardees

Principals: Elisa Konofagou, PhD and Scott Small, MD
Title: Focused Ultrasound for Non-Invasive Drug Delivery of Neurotherapeutics
Dr. Elisa Konofagou (Biomedical Engineering) has pioneered the use of focused ultrasound to noninvasively and reversibly open the blood-brain barrier, allowing drugs to traverse into targeted brain regions. Together, she and Dr. Scott Small (Neurology) are confirming the safety of FUS-enabled BBB opening in primate models.

Principals: Kenneth Shepard, PhD and W. Ian Lipkin, MD
Title: Rapid, Label-Free Detection of Pulmonary Pathogens
Drs. Kenneth Shepard (Electrical Engineering) and Ian Lipkin (Epidemiology) are developing a single-molecule detection platform that will sense one-in-a-billion concentrations of viral or bacterial DNA within minutes by employing carbon nanotubes to directly detect the DNA, permitting label-free detection with high-specificity. More accurate and timely diagnosis enables quicker and more appropriate/customized treatment, does not require purification, amplification, or labeling, and allows for real-time, actionable data to make appropriate clinical decisions at the point of care. Their first application focuses on detection of pulmonary pathogens.

Principals: Helen Lu, PhD and William Levine, MD
Title:  Biomimetic Graft for Rotator Cuff Repair
Drs. Helen Lu (Biomedical Engineering) and William Levine (Orthopaedic Surgery) have developed a synthetic polymer graft for rotator cuff repair that mimics fiber alignment and mineral distribution of native tissue at the insertion site, permitting true osteointegration of the graft at the tendon-to-bone interface. This provides a low-cost, scalable manufacturing method that improves surgical outcomes, reduces the chance of surgical failure, and lowers the need for repeat surgery. The safety and efficacy of the device are being evaluated in preclinical studies.

Principals: Samuel Sia, PhD and Jessica Justman, MD
Title:  Point-of-Care Test for Rapid Diagnosis of MRSA
Dr. Samuel Sia (Biomedical Engineering) has developed a handheld, nucleic-acid based diagnostic device that can be operated with minimal training, requires no sample preparation, and delivers results in about 45 minutes. With Dr. Jessica Justman (Medicine), Dr. Sia will evaluate feasibility of the platform to render rapid diagnoses for infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA.

Principals: Binsheng Zhao, PhD and Lawrence Schwartz, MD
Title:  Evaluating Tumor Response to Cancer Therapy
Drs. Binsheng Zhao (Radiology) and Lawrence Schwartz (Radiology) have developed CT and MRI software that accurately measures subtle changes in tumor volume and density and a corresponding prototype imaging platform to optimize and translate these algorithms. This technology provides improved segmentation and quantification for better assessment of response to targeted therapies, not only in oncology, but also in neurologic and cardiovascular/ vascular diseases. It also provides a user-friendly, workflow-efficient and extensible platform, thus enabling development of optimal therapeutic trials using quantitative imaging biomarkers, better tumor response assessment, and improved prediction for clinical care. Algorithms are being optimized and converted into suitable formats for rapid integration with commercial imaging systems.

Principals: Henry Spotnitz, MD and Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD
Title:  Surgical Tools to Facilitate Cardiothoracic Device Insertion
Drs. Henry Spotnitz (Surgery) and Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic (Biomedical Engineering) are developing access tools to localize and enter the coronary sinus for left ventricular lead insertion, thus reducing operating room time, hospital stay, costs, and bleeding risks. The team is pursuing optimization of their access devices for faster lead insertion, contrasting with many hours in difficult cases with conventional approaches.

2013 – 2014 Cycle 2 Awardees

Principals: Keith Yeager, MEng, and Anjali Saqi, MD, MBA
Title:  XCellent – Maximizing Cellular Yield of Pathology Specimens
Keith Yeager (Biomedical Engineering) and Dr. Anjali Saqi (Pathology & Cell Biology) have developed XCellent, a low-cost, single-use cell block device for processing small volume tissue specimens that  maximizes cellular yield and standardizes cell block preparation, thus enabling personalized medicine diagnostic testing, minimizing repeat procedures, and saving technician time.

Principals: Jeffrey Kysar, PhD, and Anil Lalwani, MD
Title:  Devices for Delivery of Intracochlear Implants and Therapeutic Agents
Drs. Jeffrey Kysar (Mechanical Engineering) and Anil Lalwani (Otolaryngology) are developing devices for uniform and reliable delivery of intracochlear implants and therapeutic agents across the round window membrane without anatomic or functional damage. This approach minimizes patient injury, maintains hearing, and improves recovery time by avoiding traumatic disruption of bony walls of the cochlea, while enabling more precise dosing of therapeutic delivery over time.

Principals: Samuel Sia, PhD and Judith Korner, MD
Title:  Brown Adipose Microtissues (iBAMs) for Treating Obesity and Associated Diabetes
Drs. Samuel Sia (Biomedical Engineering) and Judith Korner(Medicine) are developing systems and methods for engineering of brown adipose (fat) tissue. Unlike white adipose tissue, which stores energy, brown fat burns calories, thus increasing metabolism. Injectable microtissues of brown fat, created from the patient’s own cells, could help reduce obesity and associated diabetes.

Principals: David Brenner, PhD, Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD, Alan Bigelow, PhD, and Henry Spotnitz, MD
Title:  DUVS: Differential UV Sterilization to Selectively Kill Bacteria
Drs. David Brenner (Radiation Biophysics), Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic (Biomedical Engineering), Alan Bigelow (Center for Radiological Research) and Henry Spotnitz (Surgery) have developed Differential UV Sterilization (DUVS). In contrast to conventional germicidal lamps, which emit a broad spectrum of UV wavelengths, DUVS uses a single UV wavelength to selectively kill bacteria while remaining safe for human exposure.