What happens when engineers are partnered with medical professionals to tackle pressing health care challenges – with each collaborator bringing forth distinct professional insights? Society gets better medicines, treatments and technologies.
“This concentrated collaborative effort made huge gains in quantifying processes in brain immunolgy that may someday impact research in Alzheimer’s, autism and other neuro-immune diseases,” says electrical engineer and professor Scott Acton.
Via a seed grant from the Center for Engineering in Medicine, mechanical engineering and orthopedic researchers team up to work toward an innovative solution for treating lower back pain after surgery and for chronic back pain. They are developing drug delivery patches that would be worn on the skin, like a bandage, to deliver non-addictive pain medicine directly to the site of pain, rather than systemically via pills or injections.
Initiative Encourages Collaborations Between Engineers and Clinicians
Engineering has always been an integral part of medicine. Walk into a hospital or a clinic, and every aspect of care — from the devices physicians use to diagnose and treat disease to the vaccines and pharmaceuticals they prescribe — bears the imprint of engineers. The University of Virginia’s new Engineering in Medicine initiative is designed to jumpstart medical innovation by explicitly fostering partnerships between engineers and clinicians.
UVA happens to be one of only eight universities in the United States with top schools of Engineering and Medicine separated by less than a mile. Thanks to Jeffrey Holmes, MD, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine; and Mark Sochor, MD, Vice Chair for Research, Emergency Medicine and the Medical Director of the Center for Applied Biomechanics, we are taking advantage of that physical proximity with initiatives like the newly developed Center for Engineering in Medicine.
With money from the Strategic Investment Fund, this center is a joint effort among the Schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Nursing and will provide seed funding for research projects.
Collaboration is the name of the game here. Each project will combine clinical teams with engineering teams to innovate.
In this issue: News Article: Tapping the Insight of Engineering to Drive Innovation in Medicine; Funded Research Projects: Fall 2017 Cohort; Call For Proposals: Spring 2018 - RFP and proposal submission info