Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center Announces Imlay Innovative Research Grant Awardees

ATLANTA, April 17, 2020 – The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center, a partnership between Children’s and the Georgia Institute of Technology, announces two winning projects led by Georgia Tech engineers for 2020 Imlay Innovation Research Grants.A project to improve walking rehabilitation with robotic exoskeletons, led by Aaron Young, PhD, and a project to provide airway support with a 3D-printed tracheal splint, led by Scott Hollister, PhD, were selected as recipients of the award, which aims to advance proof-of-concept projects to the next stage of development.

Both projects received $115,000 as part of a $5 million grant from The Imlay Foundation, which established the Imlay Innovation Grant program in 2016 within the Pediatric Technology Center. Through data collection, feasibility studies, and prototype production for testing, the Imlay funding will assist investigators in seeking additional extramural funding and commercialization or implementation.

“Georgia Tech is a world leader in robotics, computing, sensing and manufacturing,” said M.G. Finn, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer for the Children’s Pediatric Technology Center. “When you combine its science and engineering prowess with the excellent pediatric clinical care provided at Children’s, as well as leading scientists from the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, new treatments—tailored specifically to children—are possible.”

Recipients of the Imlay Innovative Research Grant by the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center include:

  • Enhancing Rehabilitation in Children With Genu Recurvatum Walking Gait Using Robotic Exoskeletons
    This project was developed by Georgia Institute of Technology researchers Aaron Young, PhD, and Kinsey Herrin, CO, CP, as well as Children’s researchers Kelly Moore, DPT, and Erin Eggebrecht, DPT, and Emory University School of Medicine researcher Benjamin Rogozinski, DPT. The team will investigate clinical application of a robotic device that attaches to the knee to assist with rehabilitation of children whose walking gait has been disrupted by conditions, such as cerebral palsy or a traumatic brain injury.
  • Pediatric Airway Support With a 3D-Printed Airway Support Device (ASD)
    This project design was pioneered by Georgia Tech researcher Scott Hollister, PhD, along with Children’s physician-researchers Kevin Maher, MD, and Steve Goudy, MD, for clinical implementation. The work will support a small clinical trial, known as an early feasibility study, to treat children with tracheobronchal malacia, a congenital or acquired condition in which the trachea collapses from reduced stiffness. The lab will also work with Mike Fisher, Director of Product Development at the Global Center for Medical Innovation, to implement airway support device (ASD) quality systems. ASDs have been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use under expanded access on a case-by-case basis, and one was implanted in a Children’s patient in August 2018.

In this third year of Imlay grants awarded by the Children’s Pediatric Technology Center, 19 pre-proposals were submitted and seven of those were selected to make oral presentations. Projects were reviewed and chosen by a selection committee with input from nearly 30 reviewers, including subject-matter experts, clinicians and members of the Imlay Foundation. Projects were judged on overall impact on child health, approach, significance, investigators, innovation, sustainability, realistic timeframe and budget.

“Our goal is to choose projects that are well on their way to implementation, including commercialization,” said Clinton Joiner, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and Director of Hematology at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's. “The academic and clinical collaboration empowers teams to produce more advanced and effective treatments for children.”

Previous grant-winning projects include: Design, Development and Evaluation of a Flexible and Steerable Robotic Monopolar Electrocautery Probe for Pediatric Neurosurgery; Ultrathin, Comfortable, Multifunctional Biopatch for Safe and Effective Care of Neonatal and Infant Health Conditions; Design and Development of Pressure Ulcer Prevention System (PUPS) for Infants; Designing Cancer Care for Kids by Kids: Engaging Patients and Their Families in Creating More Efficient Patient Centered Care; and An Innovative CVL Cap Sleeve to Prevent CLABSI in Pediatric Oncology and BMT Patients with Central Venous Catheters.

For more information:

Julie Jordan

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta


About Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

As the only freestanding pediatric healthcare system in Georgia, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the trusted leader in caring for kids. The not-for-profit organization’s mission is to make kids better today and healthier tomorrow through more than 60 pediatric specialties and programs, top healthcare professionals, and leading research and technology. Children’s is one of the largest pediatric clinical care providers in the country, managing more than one million patient visits annually at three hospitals, Marcus Autism Center, the Center for Advanced Pediatrics, urgent care centers and neighborhood locations. Consistently ranked among the top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has impacted the lives of kids in Georgia, across the United States and around the world for more than 100 years thanks to generous support from the community.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center

About the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center
The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center brings clinical experts together with Georgia Tech scientists and engineers to develop technological solutions to problems in the health and care of children. The Center provides extraordinary opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration in pediatrics, creating breakthrough discoveries that often can only be found at the intersection of multiple disciplines. These collaborations bring discoveries to the clinic and the bedside, enhancing the lives of children and young adults.

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