University of Pittsburgh
May 12, 2002

University of Pittsburgh Received Most NIH Bioengineering Grants

Contact:  412-624-4147

May 13, 2002

Twice as Many Pitt Projects Backed as Next Two Institutions During

NIH's 2001 Funding Year

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh had more projects funded through the National Institutes of Health's Bioengineering Research Grants (BRG) program than any other institution in fiscal year 2001, according to a summary of BRG grants published earlier this academic year by the NIH.

With eight funded projects, Pitt had twice as many BRG-sponsored activities than the next two most-prolific institutions, Duke University and Case Western Reserve University, which had four each. Stanford University, Emory University, the University of Kentucky, and California Institute of Technology each had three funded projects.

"Funding from NIH is an endorsement of the quality of the programs, since they fund only the best and brightest. The fact that the University of Pittsburgh is ranked number one in the nation for NIH bioengineering funding is a testament to the caliber of work being done by Pitt researchers—in many ways, we are leading the nation," says Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at Pitt. "NIH funding is important because it funds the most highly creative research thus providing a stimulating environment for our faculty and students."

Pitt researchers and their 2001 BRG-funded projects include:

• David Vorp, assistant professor in the School of Engineering's Department of Bioengineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering and in the School of Medicine's Department of Surgery, and director of the Vascular Biomechanics and Vascular Surgery Research Lab (, received two BRG grants, for projects titled "Biomechanical Evaluation of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm" and "Biomedical Preconditioning of Human Vein Grafts";

• Fernando Boada, associate professor of bioengineering in the School of Engineering, associate professor of radiology in the School of Medicine, and acting director of the Magnetic Resonance Research Center, is the lead researcher for a project titled "Methodology for In Vivo 3-D Triple Quantum Sodium MRI";

• Lars Gilbertson, assistant professor in the School of Engineering's Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Bioengineering as well as in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the School of Medicine, has a project titled "Development of a Robotics-Based Spine Testing System";

• Patrick Loughlin, professor and Fulton C. Noss Faculty Fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering and in the Department of Bioengineering, has a project titled "Time Varying Characteristics of Human Postural Sway"; and

• Michael Sacks, associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering and director of the Tissue Mechanics Laboratory ( oversees a project titled "Enhanced Durability of Bioprosthetic Heart Valves."