U.Va., Va. Tech form
biomedical institute with Carilion Health System
Robin Felder, pictured here with a robotic device that handles
scientific samples, directs U.Va.'s Medical Automation Research
Center, which will be working with the new Carilion Biomedical
Institute. For more on the center, see Automation could revolutionize medical research.
University has joined with Virginia Tech and the Carilion Health
System to establish a unique biomedical institute, officials announced
with an initial $20 million contribution from Carilion, a private
12-hospital network, the Carilion Biomedical Institute (CBI) is
intended to be a catalyst for the development and commercial application
of health-related products based on research at the two campuses.
institute's goals are to accelerate research discoveries in life
sciences, biomedical science and engineering and to create economic
development opportunities in western and central Virginia, as well
as to improve the health of individuals worldwide, said Carilion
president Thomas L. Robertson.
a nonprofit organization long committed to the citizens of our region,
Carilion is making this investment as part of our centennial year
observance," he said.
this collaboration, "two public research universities [are]
joining forces with a major health care system to provide a seamless
pipeline from university basic research, to applied research and
development of medical devices, to clinical testing and ultimately
to production," said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III.
will work initially with two research centers, U.Va.'s Medical Automation
Research Center (see story, this page) and the Optical Sciences
and Engineering Research Center at Virginia Tech. Applied research
centers will be located at CBI headquarters in Roanoke until a new
facility is built next year, that will include a business incubator
and specialized testing equipment.
university research projects evolve, the institute will facilitate
prototype development, conduct testing, position products and support
production and distribution through strategic partnerships.
G. Fisher, a former Virginia Tech faculty member, has been named
president and CEO of the institute. He is best known as founder
and former director of ITT Gallium Arsenide Technology Center, called
GaAsTek, and worked on improving night-vision goggles for the U.S.
Medical Automation Research Center (MARC) is believed to be the
only such university-based group in the world. Its aim is to improve
the efficiency and quality of patient care by creating technologies
such as Pic & Place, an automatic robot delivery system, and by
developing tools to speed the discovery of new drugs and to improve
the understanding and treatment of genetic diseases.
nearly a decade, patented innovations from the center have been
improving the efficiency of treating critically ill patients in
hospitals across the United States," said MARC director Robin
Virginia Tech, CBI's research efforts in the Optical Sciences and
Engineering Research Center will investigate advanced laser surgery
optics; bio-compatible materials for implants; and diagnostic patches
and other diagnostic and drug-delivery tools that might replace
needles for monitoring glucose or administering insulin for people
universities and Carilion have agreed to raise an additional $10
million for the institute from outside sources within seven years,
as the institute moves toward self-sufficiency.
announces administrative changes
part of the University's ongoing long-range planning program, U.Va.
President John T. Casteen III announced Nov. 19 that responsibilities
of two vice presidents will change and a new unit for institutional
planning and assessment will be created.
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Leonard W. Sandridge
has become executive vice president and chief operating officer.
He remains chief financial officer. Sandridge's expanded activities
will include financial and managerial oversight of the Health System's
clinical enterprises, including the University Hospital. Two senior
officers will be added to Sandridge's immediate staff over the next
six months to handle financial and administrative duties, Casteen