National Institutes of Health (NIH) Awards $31 Million to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University School of Medicine and Georgia Institute of Technology

ATLANTA (May 28, 2020) – Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and Georgia Institute of Technology have received a $31 million supplement from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the largest supplements awarded to any participant in the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program. RADx is a federal initiative designed to rapidly transform early, innovative technologies into widely accessible COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

In April, it was announced that Children’s, Emory University and the Georgia Tech were selected to lead the national effort in testing validation through the Atlanta Center for Microsystems Engineered Point-of-Care Technologies (ACME POCT).

“This is the largest NIH grant ever to be received by Children’s or Emory in a single budget cycle,” says Lucky Jain, MD, MBA, Chief Academic Officer of Children’s and Chair of the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. “The one-time NIH supplement covers the course of one year, which means we have a lot of exciting and fast work ahead of us. We are confident in our team’s ability to make this a huge success and thrilled to see them at the front line, leading the way in such a historic initiative.”

As one of only five NIH-funded point-of-care technology centers in the nation within the Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network (POCTRN), ACME POCT will use the $31 million supplement to lead testing validation and work closely with partners across the country—including relevant technology developers and others in the medical diagnostics industry—to meet a short deadline. The goal of the project is to make millions of accurate and easy-to-use tests each week available by the end of summer 2020 and in time for flu season.

“We will vet and whittle down thousands of COVID-19 diagnostic tests the NIH will receive from across the country to 10 to 20 meritorious projects, which our center will shepherd toward manufacturing and scale up with the objective of national deployment this fall,” says Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD, a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s and Principal Investigator of ACME POCT.

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is urging all scientists and inventors with rapid testing technology to compete in the national COVID-19 testing challenge for a share of up to $500 million over all different phases of development that will assist the public’s safe return to normal activities. The technologies will be put through a highly competitive, rapid three-phase selection process to identify the best candidates for at-home or point-of-care tests for COVID-19.

ACME POCT fosters the development and commercialization of microsystems (microchip-enabled, biosensor-based, microfluidic) diagnostic tests that can be used outside the traditional hospital setting, in places such as the home, community or doctor’s office. Dr. Lam and his team will lead testing validation for the NIH as they urgently solicit proposals.

The project has multiple principal investigators, including Dr. Lam, Associate Professor at Emory University and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Technology and Emory University; Greg Martin, MD, Professor at Emory University and Chair of Critical Care for Grady Health System; and Oliver Brand, PhD, Professor at the Georgia Tech College of Engineering School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Executive Director of the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology. Together, the team makes up one of the primary point-of-care centers in the nation dedicated to developing microsystems with sensors, smartphones and wearable technologies.

Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health under award number U54 EB027690-02S1.

For more information:

Julie Kuchta

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.

About Emory University School of Medicine

About Emory University School of Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine is a leading institution with the highest standards in education, biomedical research and patient care, with a commitment to recruiting and developing a diverse group of students and innovative leaders. Emory School of Medicine has more than 3,400 full- and part-time faculty, 592 medical students, 497 allied health students in five programs, 1,388 residents and fellows in 115 accredited programs, and 92 MD/PhD students. Medical school faculty received $588.4 million in external research funding in fiscal year 2022. The school is best known for its research and treatment in infectious disease, brain health, heart disease, cancer, transplantation, orthopaedics, pediatrics, renal disease, ophthalmology and geriatrics.

About The Georgia Institute of Technology

Also known as Georgia Tech The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the nation’s leading research universities — a university that embraces change while continually Creating the Next. The next generation of leaders. The next breakthrough startup company. The next lifesaving medical treatment. Georgia Tech provides a focused, technologically based education to more than 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The Institute has many nationally recognized programs, all top-ranked by peers and publications alike, and is ranked among the nation’s top five public universities by U.S. News & World Report. It offers degrees through the Colleges of Computing, Design, Engineering, Sciences, the Scheller College of Business, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech has more than 100 centers focused on interdisciplinary research that consistently contribute vital research and innovation to American government, industry, and business.

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