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CCOM gap funding supports 3 medical innovation projects

Date: Friday, May 15, 2020

Three University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine faculty and staff have received gap funding for innovative translational research projects that potentially could lead to new, commercially viable medical devices or technologies.

Following are summaries of the funded projects:

Bradley VanVoorhis, thumbnailBrad Van Voorhis, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology
Development of uterine balloon
$60,000 ($50,000 gap funding plus $10,000 in departmental funding)

Arshavae, thumbnailEvgeny Arshava, MD, FACS, clinical associate professor of surgery
Sterilization validation for surgical tool accessory
$30,000 ($25,000 gap funding plus $5,000 in departmental funding)

Quentin Adams, thumbnailQuentin Adams, MD, resident physician in radiation oncology
Development and accuracy testing of mechanical positioner for prostate cancer therapy
$30,000 ($25,000 gap funding plus $5,000 in departmental funding)

Last fall, Brooks Jackson, MD, MBA, UI vice president for medical affairs and the Tyrone D. Artz Dean of the Carver College of Medicine, announced plans for significant UI Health Care investments in research and education initiatives over the next five years. This included a $1 million gap innovation fund—with $200,000 awarded per year ($100,000 each spring and fall) over five years—to support innovative, entrepreneurial-minded faculty and staff with projects or ideas that address unmet needs in health care. 

“Our faculty and staff are often able to identify ways to improve the delivery of care,” Jackson says. “Innovation is key to what we do, and this funding support creates an opportunity to advance innovative ideas into real-world applications.” 

In academic research, gap funding generally refers to university or collegiate support for projects that demonstrate strong commercial potential but have progressed beyond a point where traditional external funding is available. 

The $200,000 gap fund is administered by UI Ventures, which is part of Innovation and Economic Development at Iowa, led by chief innovation officer Jon Darsee. Carver College of Medicine faculty and staff were invited to submit proposals focused on innovations in the medical device or software areas. The committee reviewing the proposals included Darsee; Jordan Kaufmann, PhD, senior director of UI Ventures and executive director of the UI MADE program; UI Health Care faculty; and external industry experts.

“Working to transform an idea into a practical solution with the potential to impact patients in Iowa and around the world is important work,” Darsee says. “These funds create a unique opportunity for faculty interested in solving challenges they experience in their day-to-day jobs as physicians.” 

The funding program “taps into the enormous creative talents of UI Health Care team members,” says Matthew Howard, MD, chair and DEO of the Department of Neurosurgery and one of the faculty leaders on the committee reviewing the proposals. “It provides critically important financial and advisory support that helps drive the translation of novel ideas into practical clinical solutions.”

The next round of funded projects will be announced in fall 2020. The deadline for applications is May 31. To learn more and submit a proposal, visit the UI Ventures website.