Faculty members Umut Gurkan, Glenn Wera earn innovation award

Umut Gurkan
Umut Gurkan, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering

Umut Gurkan, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Glenn Wera, assistant professor of orthopedics at the School of Medicine, received the first Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center Steven Garverick Innovation Incentive award for their collaborative research, “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 Garverick, a former professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve University and a loyal adviser to APT Center of Excellence at the Louis Stokes Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center from its inception.

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).

Glenn Wera
Glenn Wera, assistant professor of orthopedics

Gurkan’s research seeks 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 Gurkan’s laboratory have broad applications in blood-cell research, cardiovascular medicine, orthopaedics, musculoskeletal research, regenerative medicine and advanced cell therapies.

Wera has joined forces with Gurkan due to his interest in quantifying the presence of cells that 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.