Coulter translational partnership

The mission of the Coulter Translational Partnership (CTP) in Bioengineering at the University of Louisville is to promote translation of research through successful collaboration between engineers and clinicians, supporting promising technologies.

The Coulter Translational Partnership funds promising projects in order to move innovative technologies to clinical application through commercialization. The ultimate goal of this partnership is to concentrate on outcomes which will accelerate the introduction of new technologies to improve the treatment and diagnosis of disease or reduce healthcare costs.

In 2005 the Coulter Foundation created a pioneering program consisting of 10 universities, now known as TP1, to begin their commitment to translational research. The success of the first program was the basis for establishing a second.

The $5 Million grant program was awarded to the University of Louisville Department of Bioengineering in 2011 by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

The University was honored to receive the Coulter Translational Partnership Award which placed U of L in the "Sweet 16" of the US Institutions in the area of Translational Research.







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    Who you are

    An academic engineer or clinician with an entrepreneurial streak and desire to collaborate with experts outside your field on innovative health care products.


    What you get

    • Approximately $100,000 in grant funding; 
    • Help identifying market opportunities.


    Application deadline

    • Day, Month, Year

    We would not have been able to do this without the Coulter funding.
    — Dr. Ayman El-Baz, UofL researcher and entrepreneur



    The pre-proposal is designed to address a series of questions focusing on objectives and methods that provide introductory information to the selection committee. The pre-proposal format (two-page limit, 12-point font, with one-inch margins) will address the following:

    • Describe the product/idea you are proposing for this Coulter Award. Does it address an unmet clinical need?
    • Who are the co-PIs (engineer and clinician) for this new idea/development? Describe the collaborative relationship.
    • Describe the market for this product and any competitive products currently in use. What is the gold standard?
    • How is your product unique and is it patentable? If not patentable is other proprietary protection likely?
    • List current funding and pending proposals for each co-investigator relative to this product/idea.

    For the pre-proposal to be considered, a Research Disclosure Form MUST be filed with the Office of Technology Transfer.

    Applicants should complete the two-page PRE-PROPOSAL and may email the submission.

    Full Proposal Application Process

    Full proposal submissions are by invitation only.  Invitations will be sent in early January 2016. Those projects invited to submit a full proposal will be due in March 2016 (tentatively March 11, 2016).

    Full proposal applications may follow one of two pathways:

    • Bootcamp and Elevator Pitch (preferred): By attending bootcamp training sessions, teams are eligible to give a 5-minute elevator pitch to the Oversight Committee in lieu of complete written full proposals.  Teams must also submit executive summary, budget, budget justification, milestones and CVs.
    • Written proposal: Teams may submit a 6-page written proposal in lieu of bootcamp and pitch.  Teams must also submit executive summary, budget, budget justification, milestones and CV's. Additional instructions will be provided in full proposal invitations to be sent in January 2016.

    Oral Presentations

    The Coulter Oversight Committee will select final candidates from those submitting full proposals. If your proposal is selected, your team will be invited to give a brief oral presentation to the Coulter Oversight Committee. The Committee will select awardees from this final group.


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    Jessica Sharon




    Each proposal must have co-investigators, at least one whose primary or secondary appointment is in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Louisville and at least one clinical investigator (MD, DDS, PT, RN, etc).

    The research must relate directly to applications in health care, and the objectives of the project should include an outcome that will benefit patients. Evaluation of each proposal will be made on the basis of scientific merit, potential health care impact and significance, experience of the investigators, the potential for commercialization, and the likelihood of successfully obtaining follow-on funding.


    Grants will be for a one-year period, and may be submitted for renewal upon successful achievement of milestones. Any renewal applications will be evaluated on a competitive basis with new applications.


    Grant budgets are approximately $100,000 (direct cost only) for a one-year period. Funds may be used for salary support (no tuition) for graduate students, students and other research staff but may not be used for equipment, tuition, faculty salary, or general staff or administrative support. Supplies, prototyping expenses, imaging time and travel directly associated with the research activity are examples of eligible budget items.

    Important Dates

    • Pre-Proposal Deadline: December 1, 2015
    • Full Proposal Deadline: tentatively March 11, 2016
    • Oral Presentation Dates: TBD May 2016
    • Funding Start Date: July 1, 2016


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    Jessica Sharon


    COULTER Funded Projects


    Impartial AutomAted Diagnosis of Retinal Diseases using a Novel OCT Calibration System

    • Ayman El-Baz, Ph.D.,Bioengineering; Shlomit Schaal, MD, Opthalmology and Visual Sciences


    SpheraBoost: Towards Improved Radiation Therapy of Triple Negative Breast Cancer

    • Martin G. O'Toole, PhD, Bioengineering; Anthony Dragun, MD, Radiation Oncology; Paula Bates, PhD,, Medicine; Tarik Malik, PhD, Medicine


    Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device for Stroke Prevention

    • Guruprasad Giridharan, PhD, Bioengineering; Mark Slaughter, MD, (Mentor), Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery



    SpheraBoost: Towards Improved Radiation Therapy of Triple Negative Breast Cancer

    • Martin G. O’Toole, PhD, Bioengineering, Anthony Drugun, MD, Radiation Oncology, Paula Bates, PhD, Medicine, Tarik Malik, PhD, Medicine


    Power Kids: Neuromuscular Training System for Children Post-Neurologic Injury Supporting Activity-Based Therapy, Progress and Recovery.

    • Thomas J. Roussel, PhD, Bioengineering, Andrea L. Behrman, PhD,PT, Neurological Surgery


    Directional Reamer for Long Bone Intramedullary Preparation

    • Michael J. Voor, PhD, Orthopaedic Surgery & Bioengineering, David Seligson, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery


    Impartial Automated Diagnosis of Retinal Diseases using a Novel OCT Calibration System

    • Ayman El-Baz, PhD, Bioengineering, Shlomit Schaal, MD, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences


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    MEET THE Coulter TEAM

    Bioengineering Principal Investigator

    Robert Keynton, PhD
    Chair, Professor and Lutz Endowed Chair of Biomechanical Devices, 
    Department of Bioengineering, J.B. Speed School of Engineering


    School of Medicine Co-Principal Investigator

    Mark Slaughter, MD
    Professor and Chief, Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 
    University of Louisville School of Medicine


    UofL Office of Technology Transfer (OTT)

    • T. Allen Morris, PhD/MBA, Director
    • Holly Symonds Clark, PhD. Deputy Director


    Coulter Program Office

    • Jessica Sharon, Coulter Project Director
    • Rick D'Augustine, CPD Senior Advisor
    • Kim Preher, Coulter Program Coordinator, Sr.


    Venture Capital, Entrepreneur and Industry

    • Sean Chambers, PhD, Cook Inc.
    • Dennis Costello, Triathalon Medical Ventures
    • Carter McNabb, River Cities Capital Fund
    • Steven Curtis, PhD., 2M Companies
    • Ruth Voor, Vivorte*
    • David Phelps, CreoSalus*


    • Henry Kaplan, MD, Evans Professor of Ophthalmology, Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Director, Kentucky Lions Eye Center
    • Craig McClain, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Chief of Research Affairs, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Associate Vice President for Translational Research
    • Donald Miller, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Chief, Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Director, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, James Graham Brown Foundation Chair
    • Mark Slaughter, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
    • Brad Sutton, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Assistant Dean for Health Strategy and Innovation*
    • Matthew Cave, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine*
    • Donald Demuth, PhD., Professor and Acting Associate Dean for Research, School of Dentistry*

    Office of Technology Transfer (one vote)

    • T. Allen Morris, PhD, OTT Director
    • Holly Clark, PhD, OTT Deputy Director


    Coulter Principle Investigator

    Robert Keynton, PhD, Chair, Professor and Lutz Endowed Chair of Biomechanical Devices, Department of Bioengineering


    Coulter Foundation Representative

    Mara Neal, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation

    *Ad Hoc Members: Additional members may be added to gain their knowledge and expertise in a specialized field, as needed for review of a submitted proposal.


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    Meet Founder Wallace Coulter

    Wallace Coulter was co-founder and Chairman of Coulter® Corporation, a worldwide medical diagnostics company. His two great passions in life were applying engineering principles to scientific research and embracing the diversity of world cultures.

    Wallace Coulter was the inventor of the Coulter Principle, which is a method for using electronic impedance to count and size microscopic particles suspended in a fluid. The first application of this principle was the Coulter Counter- a diagnostic device for counting red blood cells. The Coulter Principle is responsible for the practice of hematology and the complete blood count or "CBC"is the most common diagnostic medical test worldwide.

    Under Wallace Coulter's leadership at the Coulter Corporation, the company became a worldwide leader in hematology, flow cytometry, industrial fine particle analysis and other laboratory diagnostics. Wallace Coulter was the inventor on 82 patents, many of the inventions coming in the later part of his life.

    The Coulter (registered trademark) Corporation was acquired by Beckman Instruments, Inc. in 1997 and the company is now known as Beckman Coulter, Inc.

    Following his death, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation was established to support translational research in biomedical engineering with the goal of accelerating the introduction of new technologies into patient care. The Foundation works with universities, colleges and professional associations that share his values of endless curiosity, continuous learning, teamwork, consideration and respect for the individual. The highest level of ethics and integrity are the cornerstone values of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

    Wallace Coulter’s legacy of achievements includes critical advancements in diagnosis and treatment of disease, a dynamic corporation that will continue to innovate in healthcare, as well as colleagues, associates, friends and family who were inspired by his influence. His fame and accomplishments continue to be recognized. In 2004, Wallace Coulter was posthumously inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.


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