Dallas Business Journal by Bill Hethcock, Staff Writer
The University of Texas at Dallas will receive $13 million to establish a new center that will develop medical devices and therapies to help people suffering from chronic neurological diseases.
A lead gift of $3 million from Texas Instruments triggered a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor, and both gifts generated a $5 million match from the University of Texas System Board of Regents through the University of Texas System Research Incentive Program.
The Texas Biomedical Device Center will allow for interactions among UT Dallas faculty members and clinicians at North Texas medical facilities including UT Southwestern, as well as corporations, to create new biomedical devices and therapies for a wide range of medical conditions.
“The center will serve as a catalyst for North Texas industry by creating new biomedical technologies and producing more highly skilled graduates for this critical and rapidly growing field,” said Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the UT System. “As a physician, I can tell you that the opportunities are almost limitless for improving human health through the development of biomedical devices and technologies.”
Neural engineer Dr. Robert Rennaker, associate professor of electrical engineering and neuroscience at UT Dallas, has been appointed by President David E. Daniel to serve as interim director of the center. He will work with Texas Instruments and other corporate advisers to develop the center’s research agenda while also seeking additional private support.
“Funding for medical devices at early stages is hard to find,” Rennaker said. “The center will provide the oversight, engineering support and funds needed to get these ideas off the ground."
Once they’re off the ground, the center will oversee clinical trial testing and commercialization.
A large percent of all chronic medical conditions are associated with the brain so “having a focus on neurological devices is the best use of our time and resources,” Rennaker said.
Current technologies and therapies being developed target conditions such as chronic pain, tinnitus, multiple sclerosis, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, speech disorders and stroke.