Two Engineering Researchers Win POP Grants

Oct. 13, 2020 - Two Samueli School faculty members – Arash Kheradvar and Hung Cao – received Proof of Product Grants from the UCI Beall Applied Innovation funding program. POP grants accelerate the development of UCI’s commercially promising technology.

With the $90,000 POP grant, Kheradvar will be developing a minimally invasive whole-heart assist device for patients who suffer from Stage-D heart failure. Many patients with this condition are not eligible to be on a heart transplant waiting list, are too ill to undergo a major surgery to receive a traditional ventricular assist device (VAD) or cannot use current VADs due to existing limitations.

“Called Helix Cardia, the new device externally wraps the heart and provides a synchronized additional pumping force via its patented mechanism,” said Kheradvar, a medical doctor and professor of biomedical engineering. “It does not modify the heart, eliminates the need for blood-thinning medications and is totally contained in the chest with no driveline attached to the patient.”

Cao, assistant professor of electrical engineering and affiliated faculty in biomedical engineering, received $80,000 in support of his project to further develop abdominal patches that monitor maternal and fetal health in the home setting. The technology would measure fetal electrocardiogram (ECG), maternal electrocardiogram and blood pressure, and administer fetal nonstress tests.

“Our core technologies include the non-contact electrode method for biopotential recording as well as advanced algorithms to filter and extract individual signals such as fetal ECG, maternal ECG and electromyogram (EMG),” said Cao.

These particular POP grants are sponsored by Anthem Inc., the American health insurance provider, and Danaher Corp., the global science and technology company. Both worked with Applied Innovation’s Research Translation Group and Enterprise Collaborations Group to provide funding for projects in two research areas of interest: maternal health care and post-acute cardiac prevention and care.

– UCI Beall Applied Innovation

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