Coulter Funded Projects

UVA's Coulter Center for Translational Research builds networks of relationships around our researchers, connecting them with veteran entrepreneurs, investors and experts in such fields as clinical trials, regulation, and patents and licensing. Because every new technology has its own requirements and follows its own path to the marketplace, we approach each project differently. The exchange of ideas, insight and information is the engine that moves innovative technologies from university laboratories to the marketplace. We now have twelve years’ experience taking biomedical innovations born in the academic environment and translating them into practical use.

  • Coulter Team led by Don Griffin
  • Coulter Project in the NICU


  • Cerillo World's Smallest Multiwell Plate Reader

Projects Funded for 2022-2023

  • Defining novel signatures of airway obstruction in pediatric asthma using UVA’s proprietary Analysis of Respiratory Kinematics (ARK) technology

    Shrirang Gadrey,MD (Genreal Medicine) & Randall Moorman, MD (BME, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics)

    In this project, we will enroll 40 children (ages 5-11) with severe asthma. We will record spirometry, forced oscillometry, & ARK signals before and after bronchodilator therapy. We will develop measures from ARK signals that strongly correlate with conventional markers of airway obstruction. The overarching goal is to define a novel pediatric-specific kinematic signature of an EPAC that is reliably, reproducibly, and conveniently detected at home and triggers timely treatment.

  • Conformation-specific antibody as therapy for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

    Tom Barker, Ph.D. (BME) and James Hagood, MD (Pulmonology)

    Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the most prevalent interstitial lung disease with an incidence of 20 to 60 cases per hundred thousand people in the US. The disease etiology remains mostly unknown and, apart from lung transplants which often fail within a few years, few treatment options exist. In this Coulter project, we will discover the highest tolerated dose of our engineered antibody, H5 (1), examine its potential to stop disease progression in murine models of lung fibrosis (2), and collect further Pk/Pd data (3).

  • Low Field Spiral MRI

    Craig H. Meyer, Ph.D. (BME and Radiology), John Mugler, PhD (Medical Imaging and Radiology) and Chris Kramer, M.D. (Cardiology and Radiology)

    Common field strengths of mainstream commercial MRI scanners are 1.5T and 3T. The largest MRI scanner manufacturer recently introduced a low-cost, low-field (0.55T) scanner that could significantly expand the MRI scanner market. The scanner has a small footprint, and the main magnet is fully sealed, requires only 0.7 liters of helium and does not require a quench pipe or helium refills. This makes it much easier to site than a conventional 1.5T scanner, so that the scanner can be installed in new settings such as intensive care units and emergency departments.

  • A Point-of-Care Diagnostic Tool to Identify NICU Infants at Risk of Liver Damage

    Jason Papin, Ph.D. (BME) and Sean Moore, M.D. (Pediatric)

    In the US, one in twelve (380,000) babies are born prematurely each year. Premature infants unable to tolerate oral or enteral feeds are intravenously provided parenteral nutrition (PN) until digestive function matures. While maximizing caloric intake via PN is essential for optimal clinical outcomes, a subset of neonates receiving PN develop liver damage called PN associated cholestasis (PNAC), with an incidence exceeding 50% of infants born less than 1000 g and 85% of infants requiring PN for longer than 14 weeks (20,000 to 40,000 infants annually). Currently, PNAC is only detectable after it occurs and the current diagnostic process requires testing blood in vulnerable infants who may already be anemic. We have identified 57 promising metabolic biomarkers in the stool samples of NICU infants that predict PNAC before elevation of bilirubin levels in the serum (the standard clinical metric).

  • Therapeutic Ultrasound for the Treatment of Degenerative Mitral Stenosis

    John Hossack, PhD (BME) and Patricia Rodriguez, MD (Cardiovascular Medicine)

    Degenerative mitral stenosis, marked by mitral annular calcification (MAC), is an increasingly frequent cause of mitral valve (MV) dysfunction [1, 2]. MAC prevalence is estimated at from 4.3% to 15%, increasing with age as well as other cardiovascular risk factors [3]. The presence of mitral stenosis (MS) marks a high-risk cohort with limited treatment options. Emerging minimally invasive and transcatheter therapies have been developed, but none are consistently associated with ideal outcomes and available for all patients. We address this need.

  • Smart Pain Patch: Wireless Sensors Controlled Pain Drug Delivery

    Joshua Li, MD (Orthopaedic Surgery) & Baoxing Xu, Ph.D. (​Mechanics and Materials)

    We propose to develop a safe smart electronic microneedle drug delivery platform to timely manage back pain by integrating microheater and temperature sensors with therapeutic microneedles on a bandage-like conformal skin device with wireless data transmission capability.

  • Upper EXTremity Examination for Neuromuscular Diseases (U-EXTEND): Objectively Assessing Treatment Efficacy and Accelerating Drug Discovery

    Silvia Blemker, P.hD (BME) & Rebecca Scharf, MD (Developmental Pediatrics)

    New research must be done to measure the effectiveness of interventions (or lack thereof) and motor changeover in neuromuscular disorders, from micro-movements to muscular regeneration, in a group of patients who previously didn’t live long enough to keep measures of progress. The proposed system will produce a novel, multi-modal platform for measuring motor function in patients with neuromuscular diseases that will revolutionize the way clinical trials are performed moving forward, therefore accelerating the pipeline of new treatments for childhood neuromuscular diseases.

  • Development of a Novel Encapsulation Platform for Islet Transplantation

    Liheng Cai, P.hD (BME) & Jose Oberholzer, MD (Surgery Transplantation)

    This project concerns a clinical challenge, the development of cell-based therapy for Type I diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune disorder affecting >1.5 million people in the US. Solving this challenge becomes possible with our technological and conceptual innovations. Technically, we have invented a voxelated bioprinting technology that enables the Digital Assembly of Spherical Particles (DASP) to form multiscale porous scaffolds for islet encapsulation.


  • Design and optimization of particle-based therapeutics for modulating adipocyte signaling in obesity

    Mete Civelek, P.hD (BME) & Heather Ferris, MD (Endocrinology and Metabolism)

    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) performed in over a million people identified hundreds of new therapeutic targets to reduce obesity. Studies have also shown that drug candidates that target genes identified in GWAS are twice as likely to succeed through phase 3 clinical trials than those that do not have genetic support. Currently, most pharmaceutical companies are using human genetic studies to identify potential therapeutic targets. Previously, we identified the transcription factor KLF14 as a potential anti-obesity drug target through human genetic studies.