UCI Beall Applied Innovation recently announced three award recipients of the latest Proof of Product (POP) Grants cycle in a special funding track sponsored by Anthem Inc. and Danaher Corporation.

“POP Grants provide a collaboration vehicle for companies who seek innovations broadly, regardless of faculty’s department affiliation,” said Nancy Kim Yun, group director of the Enterprise Collaborations Group. “Our industry partners engage with UCI in multiple ways from sponsored research, industry and student events, and salon-style roundtables to POP Grants.”

The Anthem and Danaher Track Award was made possible by Anthem Inc., the American health insurance provider, and Danaher Corporation, the global science and technology company. Both worked with Applied Innovation’s Research Translation Group and Enterprise Collaborations Group to provide funding for projects in two research areas of interest: maternal health care and post-acute cardiac prevention and care.

The Enterprise Collaborations Group – which coordinates and facilitates relationships and mutually beneficial connections with select corporate and industry partners – works on behalf of UC Irvine (UCI) to foster collaboration for the betterment of the university and the general public.

Two of the awardees – Hung Cao, Ph.D., from the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and Caryn Bradley, PT, Ph.D., from the School of Medicine – received funding to further develop their projects focused on maternal and fetal healthcare.

Bradley is working on an integrated biomedical platform with a clinical algorithm for determining optimum feeding protocols for preterm infants, and Cao is developing medical-grade wearables that remotely monitor maternal and fetal health, including maternal blood pressure, and can administer fetal nonstress tests in the home setting.

“Our core technologies include the non-contact electrode method for biopotential recording as well as advanced algorithms to filter and extract individual signals such as fetal electrocardiogram, maternal electrocardiogram and electromyogram,” said Cao.

The third awardee, Arash Kheradvar, M.D., Ph.D., from the School of Engineering, received funding to develop a minimally invasive whole-heart assist device for patients who suffer from Stage-D heart failure. Many of these patients are not eligible to be on a heart transplant waiting list, are either too ill to undergo a major surgery to receive a traditional ventricular assist device (VAD) or do not find current VADs acceptable alternatives due to their existing limitations.

“[The device] externally wraps the heart and provides a synchronized additional pumping force via its patented mechanism,” said Kheradvar. “The new device does not modify the heart, eliminates the need for blood-thinning medications and is totally contained in the chest with no driveline attached to the patient.”

Get involved with Applied Innovation and support programs including POP Grants.

Story written by: Ethan Perez

Main graphic: Kate Wokowsky