The Pitt Innovation Challenge 2020

What is your innovative solution to a challenging health problem?


The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) is a multi-round competition designed to generate innovation solutions to challenging health problems by mitigating risk and providing financial and administrative support to move ideas forward. To enter Round One, teams submit a two-minute video describing the problem, the proposed solution, and team. Teams chosen for Round Two are invited to submit a written proposal and budget expanding on their idea. The next period of review selects teams for Round Three which requires a response to reviewers, revisions to their written proposal, and delivery of a pitch to a panel of judges and a live audience.

Final Round

Note: This year's final round has been modified. 

Each team will submit responses to reviewers, revisions to their written proposal, a contingency plan, and generate content for a project webpage that will go live on September 21. These webpages will include details about each project as well as opportunities for public comments and feedback.

Each team will also give a virtual pitch and participate in a question and answer session with the final judging panel. Awardees will be announced on October 14.

The following projects have advanced to Round Three of the competition:


 Project Title  Team Members
3D-Sculpted Ear Implants from Cadaveric Cartilage Jesse Goldstein, Burak Ozdoganlar, Liliana Camison, Lucas Dvoracek, Phil Campbell, Toygun Cetinkaya
Acoustic Waveform
Respiratory Examination (AWARE)
Erick Forno, Wei Chen, Wei Gao
LemurDx Oliver Lindhiem, Mayank Goel, Sam Shaaban
Neurocognitive Therapy for
Children with Autism
Barbara Baumann, Janice Nathan, Shaun Eack,
Valire Carr Copeland, Barry Nathan
Novel Lung Targeting Peptides
for Cystic Fibrosis
Maliha Zahid, Raymond Frizzell, Sanjay Mishra, Eunwon Kim
Patient Specific Expandable Foam Eric Beckman, Kenneth Urish, Malcolm Dombrowski, Neel Patel
Sevo Christina Patterson, Pulkit Grover, Arnelle Etienne,
Shawn Kelly, Ashwati Krishnan, Amber Afelin, Jasmine Kwasa
Sulfotransferase Inhibitor: Depression Therapeutic Alexander Deiters, Tom Leyh, Ian Cook,
Mary Cacace, Kristie Darrah
Transplants for Kids George Mazariegos, Eric Pahl, James Squires,
Kyle Soltys, Cassandra Confair, Alexandra Kepler




Three projects will be selected to receive $100,000 awards while the remaining six finalists will each receive $25,000 awards. Projects eligible for the Bonus Award, being those ideas that impact aspects of health related to an epidemic or pandemic, will receive additional funding. Each awardee will also receive project management support and guidance from CTSI.


Proposals are reviewed by a panel with diverse expertise and backgrounds representing academia, health science (basic and clinical), entrepreneurship/business, and community perspectives. Projects are judged on the following criteria: problem definition, innovation, significance/impact, and approach/feasibility.

Awards Announcement

The PInCh 2020 awardee announcement will be broadcast live on October 14 at 12 pm on YouTube. Please stay tuned for additional details.

Live updates will also be shared on Twitter @Pitt_PInCh and the hashtag #PittPInChEvent.