Carilion, Virginia Tech, U.Va. create biomedical institute -- Virginia Tech forms optical sciences and engineering research center

Virginia Tech forms optical sciences and engineering research center

BLACKSBURG, Va. Nov. 18, 1999---Carilion Health System announced today it is contributing $20 million in "start-up" funds to establish the Carilion Biomedical Institute in Roanoke,Va., in partnership with Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. Including funding by the universities, the total investment over five years will be in excess of $30 million.

The program establishes a research center at each university -- the Optical Sciences and Engineering Research (OSER) Center at Virginia Tech and the Medical Automation Research Center at the University of Virginia.

"The Optical Sciences and Engineering Research Center will investigate advanced laser surgery optics; bio-compatible materials for implants; diagnostic patches, and other diagnostic and drug delivery tools, such as to replace needles for monitoring glucose or administering insulin for people with diabetes," says OSER center director Richard Claus. "Optics is providing new biological research tools for visualization, measurement, analysis, and manipulation."

"Because of our work with fiber optics, nanostructures, and thin films, for instance, Virginia Tech researchers already have a head start in engineering developments that can be used to benefit medical, biomedical, and veterinary sciences and services," says William B. Spillman Jr., associate director of the OSER center. Examples of such work are adapting methods used in fiber-based communications to create a less expensive surgical laser that is capable of much finer incisions using lower power; using thin-film self-assembly technology to create biocompatible materials and surfaces for medical implants; using multi-spectral imaging technology for noninvasive diagnosis; and developing nanoscale sensors into implantable sensors and creating nanoscale or molecular devices that will release medicines only at specifc locations

Contact: William Spillman or Larry Hincker
wspilma@vt.edu or hincker@vt.edu
540-231-1891 or 5396
Virginia Tech

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