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Jason Franz, associate professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, has established a productive and collaborative line of research that integrates wearable sensing and machine learning. The innovative combination refines precision rehabilitation of individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Along with partner Brian Pietrosimone, associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, Jason Franz was recognized with two awards for accelerating the path from discovery to commercialization, which will translate to clinical impact.

1st Award: NC Biotechnology Center (NCBiotech)

A 2-year $110k translational research grant from NCBiotech will generate patient data to test the feasibility of wearable sensing combined with machine learning prediction technology. This technology will focus on detecting, treating, and monitoring abnormal forces while walking during the progression of knee osteoarthritis.

According to the grant program page at NCBiotech, the “Translational Research Grant program at NCBiotech funds projects that explore commercial applications or initiate the early commercial development of university-held life sciences inventions. The technology must have the potential to solve a real-world problem as a commercial product in the life sciences sector.”


2nd Award: UNC Innovate Carolina KickStart Venture Services

A $50k commercialization grant was awarded to VETTA Solutions – the start-up company inspired by these research discoveries and co-founded by Jason Franz and Brian Pietrosimone.

KickStart Venture Services, a department in Innovate Carolina’s Office of Technology Commercialization at UNC-Chapel Hill, supports research-based startup formation and growth by providing education, early-stage funding and on-campus accelerator space. KickStart also connects founders to key service providers, management and investors in the local innovation ecosystem. To learn more about their grant program and their vision, please visit Innovate Carolina here.

Driving innovation and translation of new ideas to the commercial space are cornerstones of our mission of the joint department. We congratulate Jason Franz and his colleagues on obtaining two grants that represent both aspects of what we do best here in Joint BME.

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