VCU celebrates its inventors
Tech Transfer unveils its new name — VCU Innovation Gateway
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013
What if a bandage could almost instantly stop bleeding on contact? And not from a small cut, but from a traumatic wound, such as one to a major artery? This type of technology may one day save the lives of severely wounded soldiers on the frontlines of combat, civilians injured here at home and patients in the midst of surgical procedures.
Two Virginia Commonwealth University scientists teamed up to invent such a product, which has has been licensed to a start-up company, St. Teresa Medical Inc.
David G. Simpson, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology in the VCU School of Medicine, and Gary L. Bowlin, Ph.D., formerly a professor in the VCU Department of Biomedical Engineering and now a faculty member with the University of Memphis, were recently honored with the Billy R. Martin Award for Innovation during the eighth annual Invented at VCU reception.
Their invention uses a technology called electrospinning to create a bandage that uniformly disperses clot-forming proteins to an injury site. Upon contact with blood, the bandage immediately dissolves and releases the proteins at the site, stopping the bleeding almost instantaneously.
The electrospinning process takes dextran, a polysaccharide substance, and uses an electric field to create very fine fibers ranging from a few micrometers to tens of nanometers. These fibers are coated with clotting proteins to create the bandage.
“I am fortunate to work in a department that recognizes the critical role of translational research in the practice of medicine. Virginia Commonwealth University has provided its faculty with an environment and the freedom that makes it possible to explore the development of a broad spectrum of next generation clinical interventions,” Simpson said. “Our efforts to develop the Fastclot hemostatic technology platform would not have been possible without this support and the efforts of our colleagues at the VCU Innovation Gateway. I am greatly honored to be recognized with the Billy R. Martin Innovation Award.”
Invented at VCU is hosted by VCU Tech Transfer, which officially launched its new name – VCU Innovation Gateway – during this year’s reception.
“VCU Innovation Gateway is about building strategic relations with industry, investors, entrepreneurs, universities and the regional economic development partners,” said Ivelina Metcheva, Ph.D., executive director of VCU Innovation Gateway. “During the past two years, VCU Tech Transfer broadened its mission and activities to support the implementation of Quest for Distinction, the university’s strategic plan. Now we are not only responsible for commercializing university inventions, but we are also committed to enhancing the overall culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at VCU.
“This broader function also includes fostering industry collaborations, promoting and supporting new venture creation, and thus contributing to the growth of the region’s innovation ecosystem and economic development.”
Tumi Oredein also was honored during the reception with the inaugural Student Innovation Award. Oredein, a product innovation major in the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation, developed SKRIBS, customizable wristbands on which wearers can write and rewrite their own messages. He is currently a finalist in Walmart’s Get on the Shelf competition, a multi-stage contest in which individuals and businesses submit their products for consideration to be offered to Walmart customers.
“We’re truly fortunate to be in a sphere that really does feel like an innovation ecosystem. Our goal is to make sure we are providing the space where you can do good work and where our work benefits humankind, not only in this region, but across the world,” said Beverly Warren, Ed.D., Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “In celebrating the eighth year of this event, it just goes to show what can be accomplished when a great university partners with a great region to supply the next invention, the next company, the next innovation that changes lives and transforms communities.”
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