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Medical Consortium Awards $600,000 to DFW Researchers

 Texas Business reports: A medical technology consortium focused on moving innovation to the marketplace awarded more than $600,000 in a third round of grants to Dallas-Fort Worth area researchers in critical health care fields.

The six awards from Texas Medical Research Collaborative carry about $100,000 each and aim to propel research in the areas of brain imaging, gas detection through sensors and auditory devices that may reduce the risk of falling. Research award topics also include developing imaging devices for skin cancer diagnosis, computerized infusion and monitoring system for fetal blood transfusion, and developing a wireless implantable device to treat depression.

TxMRC was founded in 2009 as a collaborative research partnership among The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Instruments, Texas Health Research & Education Institute, the research and medical education arm of Texas Health Resources, and the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Carolyn Cason, UT Arlington’s interim vice president for research, said the consortium has proved to be a worthwhile venture for all the participants and a significant pipeline that accelerates the process of moving university research from the labs to consumer markets.

“These are the kinds of technologies the marketplace needs,” Cason said. “This is the kind of research we believe the marketplace will embrace.”

Clinical work on the projects generally takes place at Texas Health hospitals and other facilities.

“Our collaborative gives researchers a boost in their work to solve real-world medical problems in a relatively short timeframe,” said Marsha Barnhart, Texas Health Research & Education’s director of research development.

TMAC, a UT Arlington affiliate formerly known as the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, manages the TXMRC partnership. TMAC provides businesses with the tools to be successful.

The annual grants are awarded to research teams that have identified technologies that can solve real-world problems in a relatively short time frame. Grant recipients work with representatives of the consortium's academic, industry and health care partners to develop pilot programs aimed at attracting sustained funding from external sources, such as federal, state or private agencies.

The 2012 TxMRC award winners, project titles and award amounts are:

George Alexandrakis, UT Arlington bioengineering assistant professor, for “A Near‐Infrared Brain Imaging System for the Continuous Bedside Monitoring of Intracranial Pressure Buildup in Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury,” $100,000.

Heather Beardsley, TMAC research associate, for “Sleep Related SUID Monitoring System based on CO2 Sensor Technology,” $100,000.

Nicoleta Bugnariu, an associate professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and a physical therapist/neuroscientist, for "Good Hearing, Steady Feet: Development of Auditory Devices that Improve Hearing and Decrease the Risk of Falls," $100,000.

Hanli Liu, UT Arlington bioengineering professor, for “Implementation, Validation, and Translation of a Hyper-spectral Imaging Device for Fast Skin Cancer Diagnosis," $100,000.

Issa M. S. Panahi, UT Dallas associate professor of electrical engineering, for “Computerized Infusion and Monitoring System for Fetal Blood Transfusion," $100,000.

Yuan Bo Peng, UT Arlington associate professor of psychology, for “Development of A Wireless Implantable Closed-Loop Device for Major Depressive Disorder,” $105,900.