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Melissa CaugheyMelissa Caughey, research assistant professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, was awarded the Trailblazer R21 Award by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The award provides opportunities for new and early-stage investigators to pursue research programs of interest to the NIBIB that intersect between life and physical sciences and engineering.
Caughey received this grant for her work with acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) ultrasound to assess the shelf life of refrigerated blood donation bags. Currently, standard sampling techniques of blood donations can compromise the sterility of the blood bag during the sampling process. Additionally, the universal expiration date for blood donation is limited to 42 days, but there can be wide variations in when the actual expiration date is for each sample. By applying Caughey’s precision-driven approach using a contact-free assessment using ultrasound to determine shelf life, their method can reduce biohazard risks and preserve the sterility of blood donation products.

The R21 Research Grant provides $400,000 in direct costs over three years to pursue a new or emerging research program. A Trailblazer project may be exploratory, developmental, proof of concept or high-risk-high impact, and may be technology design-directed, discovery-driven, or hypothesis-driven. Importantly, applicants are expected to propose research approaches for which there are minimal or no preliminary data.

For more information about the R21 Research grant and selection process, please visit this link.

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