Coulter Funded Projects

UVA-Coulter 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 2021-2022

  • Injectable fibrous hydrogels for treating pelvic organ prolapse

    Steven Caliari, PhD (BME and CHEM Eng) and Monique Vaughan, MD (Obstetrics and Gynecology)

    There is an urgent clinical need for innovation in the field of prolapse surgery and tissue engineering approaches to augment prolapse repair. Pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) are common and can have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life, sense of well-being, body image, and sexuality. Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in particular affects millions of women worldwide; approximately 11% of women in the United States will undergo surgery for prolapse or urinary incontinence.  The central objectives of this proposal are to: 1) optimize the formulation of a material that can be delivered in a minimally invasive manner during prolapse surgery, and 2) assess the biocompatibility and therapeutic efficacy of our technology. 

  • An Implantable Airway Sensor: Revolutionizing Pulmonary Diagnostics and Treatment

    Patrick Cottler, PhD (Plastic Surgery) and James Daniero, M.D. (Head and Neck Surgery)

    We are building an implantable airway biosensor that offers real-time respiratory physiology data. Whereas existing sensors offer snapshot measurements in atypical environments, our sensor would offer patients and doctors a longitudinal stream of in situ data. Our first target user group is severe asthmatics, who often do not experience the typical warning signs of an impending deadly exacerbation. For these patients, real-time airway monitoring would offer drastic improvements in healthcare outcomes. We are seeking funding to test our next prototype in rabbits to prepare us for larger clinical trials and commercialization.

  • 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).

  • Super Resolution / Molecular Imaging for Improved Prostate Cancer Diagnostic Performance

    John Hossack, PhD (BME) and Sumit Isharwal, M.D. (Urology)

    The limitations of the PSA blood test and digital rectal examination to diagnose prostate cancer are well established. Current clinical practice primarily relies on a systematic 12 core biopsy and, in some cases, multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI). We see to non-invasively characterize prostate lesions with regard to microvascular features and tumor biomarkers using a low cost, radiation free, mobile and readily available technology – specifically newly developed ultrasound-based technology. We are developing an ultrasound molecular imaging of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) combined with super-resolution ultrasound localization microscopy.

  • A Novel Gene Therapy Platform for Deploying Nanobodies to Achieve Sustained Protection Against SARS-CoV-2

    Brent French, PhD (BME) and Craig Slingluff, M.D. (Surgical Oncology)

    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant morbidity and mortality and has driven major societal change as the world awaits vaccine rollouts at scales adequate to protect the global population. However, the efficacy of current vaccines is being threatened by new variants of SARS-CoV-2. Novel variants from Brazil and California both demonstrate significant capability to evade the immunity conferred by the current vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. In order to augment the existing vaccines and antibody therapeutics directed against SARS-CoV-2, we propose a novel gene therapy platform that will deploy nanobodies to protect even the most vulnerable individuals against COVID-19.