Faculty in the Department of Bioengineering​ at the University of Colorado Denver have been awarded more than $8 million in new grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Robin Shandas, PhD, chair of Bioengineering, has been awarded one of six prestigious awards by the Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award of more than $2.1 million to the department is for the study of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in children. This project brings together a collaborative team of bioengineers, clinicians and basic scientists to improve prediction of clinical outcomes in children born with this complex disease.

Shandas also was awarded, for a second five-year cycle, a senior NIH K24 Career Award to train the next generation of translational scientists in cardiopulmonary bioengineering. He is one of the few PhD scientists to receive this clinically-oriented award, which is usually given to MD researchers. The award recognizes his long-standing record of teaching and mentoring in translational bioengineering.

Assistant Professor of Bioengineering Kendall Hunter, PhD, is a co-investigator on a second award made by the NHLBI to School of Medicine Principal Investigator and Bioengineering affiliate faculty Dr. Kurt Stenmark. Hunter will develop new imaging diagnostics to evaluate how scleroderma affects the pulmonary vascular system.

The NIH/NHLBI has earmarked $20.25 million over five years to foster research leading to improved diagnostics and therapeutics for RV disease. CU Denver won two of the six awards made nationally.

In addition, Dr. Daewon Park is co-investigator on another new RO1 grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. This $1.8 million grant will be used to develop next-generation polymeric materials for various dental applications.

The Department of Bioengineering and associated Center for Bioengineering were founded in 2010 as a collaborative partnership between the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The Department has 58 graduate students currently enrolled and graduated its first master of science class in Spring 2012. Pending Regent and Colorado Commission on Higher Education approval, the undergraduate program in Bioengineering is slated to matriculate students in Fall 2013.

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