OTC News Archive

Faculty awarded for heart research

Priscilla Pelli, The Daily Texan
March 24, 2010

A UT biomedical engineering professor and a San Antonio cardiologist received a distinguished award last week from the UT System for their research on a method that can reduce the risk of heart attacks.

Thomas Milner, who joined the University’s faculty in 1998, and research partner Marc Feldman, a cardiologist and adjunct biomedical engineering professor at UT, received the 2010 Chancellor’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Award on March 16. With their research, the two hope to improve cardiovascular imaging, which assists cardiologists in treating patients suffering from coronary heart disease, Milner said.

The award program was established to promote a culture of entrepreneurship and recognize researchers who exemplify ingenuity, creativity, and innovation in translating their research into useful products and services, said Michelle Stevenson, a research specialist in the UT System’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer.

The research allows cardiologists to use optical coherence tomography, which displays images of coronary arteries to help identify diseased regions of the heart. These regions can then be targeted by treatments such as stents, the most common therapeutic intervention in cardiology, which places tubular devices in an artery that the doctor thinks is most likely to cause a problem.

Milner said he and Feldman, also a biomedical engineering professor at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, began working together in 1998, though his research began five years before that. Their joint research grew from applying Milner’s collected data on optical coherence tomography to cardiovascular problems that Feldman had encountered during his career as a physician, Milner said.

“In order to translate research, you really need to work with a clinician to know the problems and the constraints because the physicians are the ones who interact with the patients,” Milner said. “I recognized, and Feldman recognized, really early on the potential of applying [optical coherence tomography] to cardiovascular imaging.”

Stevenson said it was an honor to have three award recipients, including Milner and Feldman, who can conduct research to better the lives of Texans.

“The award selection committee really looks at whether the research was innovative and what sort of impact it makes on the lives of Texans and our society,” Stevenson said. “That’s our main focus. We want to see commercialized research that leaves the research lab and is put into the hands of those who can make a difference.”

The winners were chosen over 22 other nominees and were recognized in a special ceremony in Arlington on March 16.

“[Feldman and I] have an active collaboration,” Milner said. “I always hope that our work can be an inspiration to students.”

[ Daily Texan ]