June 13, 2008
MGH researchers receive CIMIT grants

Thirteen teams headed by investigators from the MGH have been selected to receive research funding as part of the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology's (CIMIT) $5 million science grants program for fiscal year 2009. Twenty-eight projects were selected from a record number of 188 pre-proposals submitted by multidisciplinary and multi-institutional teams at medical centers, engineering schools and academic institutions in the Boston area. A key goal of the CIMIT grant program is to bring together clinicians and engineers, often from different institutions, to accelerate medical innovation.

Mehmet Toner, PhD, was named to receive one of four major grants, worth $500,000 over two years. Toner is principal investigator on a project to develop a label-free viral detection microchip for point-of-care applications that will enable testing for viruses such as HIV and influenza in a doctor's office, ambulance or battlefield. Other researchers on this team are William Rodriguez, MD, of the MGH; Scott Manalis, PhD, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and Rahul Sarpeshkar, PhD, of MIT.

In addition to large grants, CIMIT will support 24 smaller awards, ranging from $40,000 to $135,000 each. Principal investigators from MGH research teams and their fields of interest are: Sydney Cash, MD, PhD, microelectrode records and advanced algorithms for seizure prediction; Michael Hamblin, PhD, and Michael J. Whalen, MD, transcranial NIR light for traumatic brain injury; Judy Hung, MD, PhD, polymer injection for treatment of ischemic mitral regurgitation; Charles Lin, PhD, label-free detection and quantification of circulating leukocytes by in vivo flow cytometry; Robert Levine, MD, operating on the heart from within — a minimally invasive approach to treat mitral valve disease.

Others to receive grants are: Dieter Manstein, MD, noninvasive measurement of intraepidermal nerve density; Rob Sheridan, MD, development of a magnetic endotracheal tube imaging device; Cathryn Sundback, ScD, poly film as a barrier to formation of viscero-parietal peritoneal adhesions; Gary Tearney and Farouc A. Jaffer, MD, PhD, integrated OFDI-Fluorescence Catheter for Imaging Atherosclerosis; and Seek Yun, novel ocular biomechanics.

Two Clinical Systems Innovation grants have been awarded to Ronald Dixon, MD, for Healthcare 360, a technology-enabled model for general medical care; and to Ronald Newbower, PhD, for a handwashing compliance and documentation system.

CIMIT is a nonprofit consortium of Boston-area teaching hospitals and engineering schools, providing innovators with resources to explore, develop and implement novel technological solutions for today's most urgent health care problems.

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