A Hands-On, High Touch Approach

One project at a time, we're changing the way University faculty view their work—at the same time, we're realizing Wallace Coulter’s goal of “science serving humanity.”


The UVA-Coulter Translational Research Partnership awards $700,000 each year to biomedical engineering faculty members and research collaborators from the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering and other areas of the University. Together, teams of co-investigators work to develop new technologies that address unmet clinical needs, improve health care and lead to commercially available products.

In the process of funding scores of projects over the last decade, UVA-Coulter has stimulated a culture of translational research at the University,

Our Mission

The mission of the UVA-Coulter Translational Partnership is to support research projects that are explicitly translational in nature and in the doing so, develop and validate models of translational that can be widely adopted.

In the early 2000s, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation conceived a grand experiment to link the relatively new discipline of biomedical engineering to translational research. The University of Virginia was one of ten original institutions selected for a Coulter Translational Research Partnership Award.

History and Timeline

  • The Grand Experiment Begins

    The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation began its translational research programs in 2001 launching its first pilot programs. The Foundation and the universities adapted the product development practices of industry for use in academia. In what came to be known as the “Coulter Commercialization Process”, it is a guide to accelerate academic innovations using business practices that can be implemented by any university. Although formulaic in the identification of key success elements, each program has the freedom to operate within its own ecosystem and leverage their competencies for implementation. In addition, job process requirements for the four strategic stakeholders were created. 

    Coulter Foundation Grand Experiment

  • Coulter’s Commercialization Process

    At the core of the Coulter Commercialization Process is the desire to identify ideas, developed from interactions between clinicians and biomedical engineers, for solutions to unmet clinical needs. The projects are managed to the point where risk is reduced enough to attract professional follow-on funding, the metric of success. Although follow-on funding and commercialization are not the primary goals of the Program, they are critical steps to bringing innovations to patients.

    1. Collaboration between engineers and clinicians with an identified clinical need and a proposed experimental plan (project). A program director with biomedical industry experience to coordinate the program. A resourced and committed Licensing and Ventures partnership and an Oversight Committee (OC) composed of the translational research stakeholders.
    2. Each project required commercialization analysis, intellectual property protection, plans for regulatory approvals, reimbursement strategies, and achieving technical milestones.

    Coulter Foundation Commercialization Process

     

  • MAJOR MILESTONES

    2001

    The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation launches its first Translational Partner pilot program.

    2005

    The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation announces that the University of Virginia is one of 10 universities that will form the first phase of the Coulter Translational Partnership Program. The foundation provides UVA $5.9 million during this five-year period.

    2006

    The UVA-Coulter Partnership makes its first awards totaling $400,000. These include the use of adipose stem cells for chronic wound healing and the real-time cardiac stress testing.

    2009

    First commercial licenses for technologies funded by Coulter.

    2011

    The University of Virginia teams with the Coulter Foundation to create a $20 million endowment to foster collaboration between biomedical engineers and clinicians leading to new technologies to improve patient care and human health.

  • Meaningful Commercial Outcomes

    First Startup Company

    2010

    GID Group

    Research on autologous, adipose derived stem cells by Dr. Adam Katz and Shayn Peirce-Cottler has led to critically important therapies for diabetics.  "Dr. Katz and his collaborators have developed potentially game-changing technology for the treatment of diabetic wounds and other common afflictions," said Miette H. Michie, executive director and CEO of the U.Va. Patent Foundation. The work was licensed to a startup co-founded by Dr. Katz and colleagues. 

    https://news.virginia.edu/content/innovative-university-virginia-technology-could-make-fat-cure-what-ails-you

    Investments

    2017

    UVA-Coulter start-up HemoShear enters into an agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company that could be worth as much as $470 million. The two companies will use HemoShear’s proprietary disease modeling platform to discover and develop novel therapeutics for liver diseases.

    Takeda and HemoShear Therapeutics Extend Exclusive Drug Discovery Partnership in Liver Diseases

    2018

    Dexcom, TypeZero and the University of Virginia have had a longstanding, productive relationship in developing important technologies for diabetes management, including inControl for integration with both automated insulin delivery (“AID”) and smart pens. The companies share a consistent vision to improve the lives of people with diabetes through innovation.

     DexCom Acquires TypeZero Technologies

    UVA Coulter’s Early Technology is Licensed

    2009

    A UVA team developed a training kit for otoscopy, a commonly performed procedure in the ear.  The first of its kind, the team partnered with the medical education company Nasco.  Through this relationship, the team has manufactured and distributed this important product to clinical training programs around the world.

    https://www.enasco.com/p/Life-form-Diagnostic-%26-Procedural-Ear-Trainer-with-Pneumatic-Otoscopy-Kit%2BLF01066U

    Partnership with Siemens

    The Department of Biomedical Engineering is a world leader in MRI research.  With Coulter funding as well as support from the NIH, Siemens, and the UVA Medical School, Craig Meyer, John Mugler, and others have developed cutting edge imaging techniques for the heart, lung, brain, and other parts of human anatomy.  In partnership with Siemens, a world leader in medical imaging, the project teams are able to implement their life saving technologies to the clinic. 

    https://engineering.virginia.edu/news/2016/04/longstanding-mri-relationship-siemens

Coulter Team

Translational research is a priority of UVA’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. Over the years, the UVA-Coulter Translational Partnership has developed a highly articulated and customizable system of shepherding research projects across the gap between laboratory and marketplace.

Leadership Team

  • David Chen, MS, MBA

    Founding Program Director


    David Chen began his career at ImClone Systems, where he worked closely with both European regulatory agencies as well as the FDA. He holds a Master of Science in Cell and Developmental Biology from Rutgers University/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and an MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business. Email David Chen.

    Faculty Profile
  • Frederick Epstein, PhD

    Principal Investigator and Department Chair


    Frederick Epstein develops magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for assessing the structure, function and perfusion of the cardiovascular system, particularly in the setting of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and musculoskeletal disease. Email Fred Epstein.

    Faculty Profile
  • Hannah Moore

    Hannah Moore

    Coulter Program Administrator


    Hannah Moore facilitates approvals and permissions for current funded projects and also works closely with faculty members during the proposal process to ensure they have all the information needed to receive funding and launch their projects.  She has a clinical background in endocrinology, rheumatology and primary care. Email Hannah Moore.

Our University Partners

These on-Grounds partners are helping to ensure that promising technologies developed by its faculty enter the marketplace, where they can benefit citizens of the Commonwealth, the nation and the world.

  • UVA Licensing and Ventures Group


    The LVG reviews proposals for the UVA-Coulter Oversight Committee and provides input to Coulter researchers as well as connections to industry partners who can help shape the development of their intellectual property.

    UVA LVG
  • UVA Licensing and Venture Group Seed Fund


    UVA's $10 million Seed Fund managed by the Licensing and Ventures Group has invested in a number of start-ups based on innovations developed with Coulter funding.

    LVG Seed Fund
  • UVA's Offices of Research

    School of Engineering | School of Medicine


    The UVA-Coulter Program coordinates with the Offices of Research in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Medicine to secure support and funding for Coulter researchers.