PInCh 2016: What is your bold solution to a vital health problem?

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute sponsored the fourth Pitt Innovation Challenge. This year’s challenge focused on bold solutions in health.

$100,000 Award Winners


Team Members: Maliha Zahid, MD, PhD, Timothy Feinstein, PhD, Yijen Wu, PhD, and Cecilia Lo, PhD

Description: A novel peptide for delivering radioisotopes, therapeutic small molecules or proteins specifically to heart muscle.


Team Members: Juan Diego Naranjo, MD, Lindsey Saldin, PhD Candidate, and Stephen Badylak, MD, DVM, PhD

Description: Minimally invasive treatment for Barrett´s Esophagus causing disease regression and mitigation of cancer risk.


Team Members: Bryan Brown, PhD, Lorenzo Soletti, PhD, MBA, Paul Gardner, MD, Travis Prest, MS, and Aimon Iftikhar, MS

Description: For those seeking better ways to treat and recover from nerve injuries, NeuroGel is an injectable solution that provides a simple and effective method for enhancing nerve reconstruction.

$25,000 Award Winners

Aeronics Inc

Team Members: Alec Kaija, Blake Dube, Christopher Wilmer, PhD, and Mark Spitz 

Description: This portable oxygen device uses porous materials to store medical oxygen at low pressure in a standard 12oz aluminum can—making oxygen therapy more portable than ever before!


Team Members: Jes Klarlund, PhD, Robert Shanks, PhD, Nicholas Stella, and Kimberly Brothers, PhD 

Description: A new generation of eye drops that allow current advanced biological drugs to act on the surface of the eye


Team Members: Prashant Kumta, PhD, Vijay Gorantla, MD, PhD, Jingyao Wu, and Abhijit Roy, PhD

Description: VasoMag is a novel engineered biodegradable metallic vascular stent technology that provides superior mechanical support to open the narrowed vessels and maintain the needed patency while safely degrading in 6-12 months.

$25,000 Poster Session Award Winners

Emotion Prosthetics

Team Members: David Rabin, MD, PhD, Shan Gao, PhD, Erik Loraas, MD, Kathryn Fantauzzi, MPA, Raghav Sharma, Greg Siegle, PhD, and Lorenzo Soletti, PhD, MBA

Description: Purrr is a convenient, wearable, and intuitive tool that detects stress on the rise and empowers you to effortlessly control it before it controls you.


Team Members: Amit Sethi, PhD, OTR/L, Chip Hanlon, Ervin Sejdic, PhD, Catherine Leece

Description: I-HITS is an individualized hand improvement and tracking system, which allows patients with stroke to monitor their hand movement and enables therapists to deliver treatment outside therapy.

Ventriculo-Amniotic Shunt for Fetal Aqueductal Stenosis (VASFAS)

Team Members: Stephanie Greene, MD, Stephen Emery, MD, Youngjae Chun, PhD, and Puneeth Shridhar, MD, MS

Description: A ventriculo-amniotic shunt to treat fetal hydrocephalus will prevent the progressive brain injury that occurs in utero until conventional treatment can be instituted following birth.



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