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Advanced Platform Technology Center

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Steven Garverick Innovation Incentive Program


The Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center is a national Veterans Health Administration Rehabilitation Research and Development Center created to capture innovations at the forefront of microelectronics and materials science and apply them to the clinical needs of disabled veterans. The ultimate long-term success of the Center depends upon sustaining a core group of committed investigators from different backgrounds and technical and/or clinical disciplines. To do this, the Center must cast a broad net to attract new concepts from our investigators. Along these lines, the Center has instituted the Innovation Incentive Program (IIP). The principal purpose of the IIP is to provide seed funding for promising Center-related research projects that require a modest investment to make them competitive for external funding. Projects will be selected for funding based on evaluation of a short written proposal and live presentation.


Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:
• Clinical Relevance/Impact to Veterans
• Related Core Research Area and/or Technology Area
• Quality and Potential for External Funding

See full IIP Announcement for details.


At an upcoming APT Center Investigators’ meeting, selected applicants will deliver a short presentation (10 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A) of their proposed project. PowerPoint slides, mockups, demonstrations and prototypes are allowed. Presentation must include 1 budget overview slide (or verbal summary).

Investigators in attendance will rate each live project presentation.


 IIP Announcement / Kick Off:   TBD
 Intent to Present Due Date:  TBD
 APT Leadership Committee Review:  TBD
 Finalists selected for Interactive Review Notified:  TBD
 Live Interactive Review Presentation Date:  TBD
 IIP Recipient Announced Date:  TBD
 Detailed Budget from IIP Recipient Due Date:  TBD


2010Wen Ko, Ph.D.
Micropackage Technology for Medical Implantable Devices
The aim of this proposed project is to study, develop, and evaluate a non-hermetic biocompatible micro-packaging technology for a microfabricated wireless implantable pressure monitoring device that requires the packaged device volume to be less than 0.2 cm3; the cross section area to be less than 0.02 cm2, and is powered by RF recharged Lithium battery.

2011Philip Feng, Ph.D.
Self-Powered Multifunctional Bio-Implantable Piezoelectric Microsystems for in-situ Heart Healthcare
Heart health is of critical importance, particularly for patients who suffer from cardiological issues. The capability of real-time monitoring and in-situ signal processing with high spatial and temporal resolutions is particularly desirable. Heart energy is amongst the highest quality (e.g., for its non-stopping rhythms) within all the possible power/energy sources from human motion. We believe it is now feasible to develop self-powered micro/nanoscale (surface-mount) implants that can locally monitor the dynamics of the heart and scavenge the heartbeat energy to self-power their spectrum analysis circuits and other implants. We plan to develop a network of distributed self-powered piezoelectric micro/nanoelectromechanical system resonators and arrays for real-time, in-situ heartbeat spectrum analysis and harness the heart power up to 0.01–0.1% (~0.1–1mWatt) – a considerably high power level for powering micro/nanodevices in implantable systems for bio-medical monitoring, diagnoses, and stimulation.

2012Horst von Recum, Ph.D.
Sterilization of an Affinity‐Based Drug Delivery Device to Reduce Infections from Orthopedic Implants
Bacterial infections can originate during implantation of prosthetic joints, but become symptomatic up to 24 months after implantation. These late‐onset infections are difficult to treat because of the formation of a biofilm preventing direct access to antibiotics. Controlled release of antibiotics from an orthopedic implant could prevent initial infections, avoiding late‐onset infections, and reduce the amount of systemic antibiotics needed to prevent bacterial infection. Affinity‐based systems made from cyclodextrin (CD) crosslinked polymers can release antibiotics for several weeks. We plan to test changes in the mechanical and chemical properties of the crosslinked‐CD polymer from the sterilization process. After sterilization, we will test for changes in antibiotic release. We will also investigate gentamicin as an alternative therapeutic agent, because of its high temperature, autoclavable capabilities.

2013Paul Marasco, Ph.D.
Liner Constructed of Advanced Engineered Materials
In modern prosthetics, a suction liner provides a mechanical connection to the rigid socket by "gripping" the residual limb of the patient by either skin traction or suction. Unfortunately, liners are made from materials that are impermeable to water such as silicone and polyurethane. Prolonged moisture accumulation inside the liner adversely affects fit and contributes to skin damage such as maceration (tissue softening from constant water exposure), breakdown and infection. We will engineer a new type of liner material that maintains skin traction and suction but that also absorbs, wicks, channels, and manages the water from sweat.

2014 – Umut Gurkan, Ph.D. ; Glenn Wera, M.D.
Synovial Fluid Biochip for Monitoring Joint and Prosthesis Health
Synovial fluid analysis is frequently used in order to clarify whether an infection or inflammatory disease is present in a joint. A major challenge in monitoring and maintaining joint and prosthesis health the lack of portable, easy-to-use, point-of-care systems to reliably provide cell count and differential in synovial fluid aspirates to predict and diagnose infection and to monitor prosthesis and joint health. We plan to develop and validate a ‘Synovial Biochip’ that will accurately quantitate cellular content in a synovial fluid aspirate, specifically white blood cells, and help clinicians diagnose infection quickly and monitor joint and prosthesis health reliably.

2015aKiju Lee, Ph.D.
Development and Preliminary Evaluation of Wearable Bio-Social Sensors for Older Veterans Living in a Community Living Center
Companionship and its converse, social isolation, influence not only quality of life among older people but are increasingly recognized as having an impact on both physical and mental health and subsequently use of health services. We propose to develop a unique bio-social sensor system that can facilitate the assessment of biological, behavioral, social, and physical environmental data and the examination of their interactive roles and relative importance.

2015bSteve Majerus, Ph.D.
Wireless Graft Patency Monitoring Using PDMS-Based Flexible Pulsation Sensors
The use of sophisticated imaging technologies to probe the status of an implanted, vascular graft (used to bypass diseased vessels or for hemodialysis) require skilled personnel and are costly. A means to easily assess graft flow patency would lead to improved diagnosis of graft patency and warn of impending graft failure. We will fabricate flexible pulsation sensors (FPS) that will minimally affect the compliance of grafts to reduce long-term failure rates. We will combine the FPS with wireless readout circuitry and verify the in vitro accuracy and reliability of wirelessly measured graft flows.

2016Michael A. Suster, Ph.D.
A Dielectric Coagulometer for Comprehensive Assessment of Blood Coagulation at the Point-of-Care
There is a growing need for a low-cost, easy-to-use, and portable platform for point-of-care (POC) assessment of the complete hemostatic process outside of the laboratory setting. We aim to develop a novel dielectric coagulometer for rapid and comprehensive assessment of the blood coagulation process at the POC. We will refine the construction and validate the performance of a dielectric microsensor (ClotChip) for monitoring of the complete blood coagulation process from a single drop of whole blood in a miniaturized, portable measurement platform.

2017aMark Walker, M.D.
Virtual-Reality Game-Based Vestibular Rehabilitation
Vestibular dysfunction is a common cause of dizziness and balance problems, especially in patients with chronic illnesses that are common among veterans. Many of these patients have disabling symptoms, for which they are referred to physical therapists for vestibular rehabilitation (VesR). This project will initiate the development of a virtual-reality (VirR) game-based approach that will provide a new and innovative tool to treat them.

2017b – Rahila Ansari, M.D.
"Smart" Prosthetic Liners
Amputees report that the primary problem they face with their artificial limbs is a poor fitting socket. The reasons for this are many and include: changes in body weight and size of residual limb, swelling of residual limb, development of pressure sores, and accumulation of sweat. The most crucial aspects in redesigning a liner are the ability to wick moisture up through and out of the socket, along with shape-changing capabilities to accommodate limb dimensional changes. Hence, we propose to develop a “smart” polymeric system that can meet these needs.

2019 - Steve Majerus, Ph.D.
Acoustic neuro-modulation, which uses low intensity focused ultrasound (FUS) to stimulate or inhibit peripheral nerves, may enable non-invasive, portable, and low-cost treatment of various neurological disorders. Wearable and body-conformal ultrasound probes are a key enabling technology for FUS-based neuromodulation because they enable chronic use in ambulatory subjects. We have developed flexible conformal probes that include two co-located ultrasound arrays that will enable a novel image-guided neuromodulation strategy in which i) the acquired images are analyzed to extract biomarkers associated with the targeted nerve, and ii) the modulation beam is then steered to the target.


For more information and to submit your proposal, contact Vi Huynh at