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PInCh Awards $460,000 for Novel Health Care Solutions

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PITTSBURGH – A total of $460,000 was awarded at the 2019 Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) final event at which project teams proposed creative solutions to address important health problems including diagnostics, treatments and interventions. The challenge, which is in its sixth year, was sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). 


“Each year, the PInCh competition pulls together bold ideas to improve health,” said Steven Reis, M.D., director of the CTSI, associate vice chancellor for clinical research, health sciences, and professor of medicine at Pitt. “This year’s finalists provided outstanding solutions to critical problems that affect the lives of many individuals.”


After two rounds of pre-selection, 14 project teams were invited to the final event where six finalists — each competing for a $100,000 prize — pitched their ideas to a live audience and panel of judges, and eight finalists competed in a poster session for $25,000 prizes.


This year, the CTSI incentivized solutions for problems known to impact rural health disparities by offering an additional bonus award up to $25,000. 


$100,000 awards: 


  • OneValve: A self-regenerating heart valve that uses the patient’s natural healing process to replace diseased heart valves, decreasing the risk of blood clots and improving durability over current therapy.
  • HIV Detective: A “one-minute” HIV test that can detect infection at the point of patient contact with health care providers.
  • CyteSolutions Lens: A silicone-hydrogel-based contact lens that has been coated with natural biopolymers containing an immune modifying drug for the treatment of dry eye disease.


$25,000 awards (bonus of $5,000 awarded to winners denoted with asterisks):


  • Good Vibrations: A novel vibration therapy device for treating residual/phantom limb pain and muscle atrophy in amputees.
  • MobileDerm*: A mobile “pop-up” dermatology clinic that will diagnose and treat skin conditions in socioeconomically disadvantaged and rural communities where health care is not easily accessible. 
  • TeenBrainOnline: A novel neuroimaging task to measure teen brain response to social media and address a need to study the impact of social media on rising teen depression and suicide rates.
  • Aphasia Games for Health: A video game aimed at reducing social isolation and improving language skills in patients with aphasia. 
  • 42Days*: A mobile health platform to identify maternal mortality risk at a time when women need it most, providing real-time intervention delivery and connection to care.
  • Push-To-Spin: A novel device to make surgical fat grafting procedures more efficient.


Awardee videos can be viewed at PInCh.