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Seven New Solutions: Pitt Innovation Challenge Awards $400,000 to Creative Thinkers

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 13, 2014 -- Projects that will help children use devices to treat their asthma, a portable sensor that monitors a condition called ketosis and a Web-based tool to aid recovery from knee injury were each awarded $100,000 prizes last night in the second Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh). Also, four other projects received $25,000 awards during last night’s live judging event at the University Club in Oakland.

More than 60 teams participated in the challenge, which was sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Office of the Provost, and the Innovation Institute. During the first phase of the competition, which began in September, each team submitted a video entry to answer the question, “From cell to community:  How can we individualize solutions for better health(care)?” Twenty teams were then asked to provide a written description of their projects, and 10 finalists were chosen to present during the showcase.

“PInCh is a celebration of the pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit of some of the brightest, most enterprising teams of visionary thinkers in and around the Pittsburgh region,” said CTSI director Steven E. Reis, M.D., associate vice chancellor for clinical research, Health Sciences, and professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “This approach is leading to the implementation of some amazing ideas.”

In addition to the cash prize, the winners will also get the assistance of a project manager to begin implementing their ideas.

$100,000 Awards:

  • Nebukin: Game-based software aid to help children properly use nebulizers for inhaled treatment of conditions such as asthma.
  • Nanoketo:  Small portable sensor for monitoring ketosis, a condition common in diabetics in which the body uses fat instead of sugar for energy.
  • ACL Interaction: Web-based tool to individualize rehabilitation of ACL injuries of the knee.

$25,000 Awards:

  • PediaTristan: Educational video series for pediatric patients and families.
  • Psychometabolomics: A screening test for metabolic disorders in hard-to-treat depression.
  • Caring for Cancer Survivors at the Virtual Bedside: Web-based communication for medical teams of childhood cancer survivors.
  • MAGIC (Medication Adherence using in clinic):  App using passive and active data to track mental status of psychiatric patients.
Finalist and semi-finalist videos can be viewed on the PInCH website.


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