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Drs. Gurkan & Wera receive first annual APT Steven Garverick Innovation Incentive award

Drs. Umut Gurkan and Glenn Wera received the first annual Cleveland Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center Steven Garverick Innovation Incentive award.  Their research is entitled “Synovial Fluid Biochip for Monitoring Joint and Prosthesis Health”.  Although this is the fourth time this award has been announced, the Innovation Incentive program was renamed this year to honor Dr. Steven Garverick, past Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve University and a loyal advisor to APT Center from its inception, whose keen understanding of wireless, low power sensing is just now being reflected in devices to benefit disabled veterans.    

Dr. Gurkan completed two undergraduate degrees in Chemical and Mechanical Engineering at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey and completed his Doctoral studies in Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana.  Dr. Gurkan completed his postdoctoral training as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in Boston, Massachusetts.  Dr. Wera completed his undergraduate degree in Human Biology at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California and obtained an MD from University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.  Dr. Wera completed his internship and residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at Case Western Reserve University and a fellowship in Adult Reconstructive Surgery at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois.  Both joined the Advanced Platform Technology Research Center of Excellence at the Louis Stokes Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio in 2013. 

The goal of the Innovation Incentive program is to foster stronger ties between investigators associated with the APT Center and interested clinical collaborators, as well as to provide a means to acquire the preliminary data required to support future independent funding.  The grant provides $20,000 in direct costs to fund innovative research related to the emphasis areas of the Center.  This project involves both a core research area of the APT Center (health monitoring and maintenance) and a key APT technology area (microsystems).

Dr. Gurkan’s research seeks in general to develop micro/nano-scale technologies for biomanufacturing complex multiscale biological systems and microengineered methods for rare cell isolation and manipulation. Micro/nano-engineered systems and platforms developed in Dr. Gurkan’s laboratory enable broad applications in blood cell research, cardiovascular medicine, orthopaedics, musculoskeletal research, regenerative medicine, and advanced cell therapies.  Dr. Wera has joined forces with Dr. Gurkan due to his interest in quantifying the presence of cells which can detect infection and inflammation.  The objective of this project is to develop and validate a Synovial Biochip with which to examine cellular contents in synovial fluid aspirates. 

The Cleveland Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center is a collaborative effort between the Case School of Engineering and the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. APT Center interacts with the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and Macromolecular Science Departments.