A UW team including bioengineering faculty Matthew O’Donnell, Xiaohu Gao, Ruikang Wang and Mike Averkiou, adjunct faculty Paul Kinahan (Medicine/Radiology), Tom Matula (Applied Physics Laboratory) and Lilo Pozzo (Chemical Engineering) have received a 2016 College of Engineering Strategic Research Initiatives (COE SRI) Award for the Washington Molecular Imaging and Therapy Center (WAMIT).

The COE SRI program aims to place Washington state in a clear leadership position to support new and growing areas of engineering research through strategic investment. Each team will receive around $50,000 of seed funding in the first year with another potential $50,000 in the second year to advance their idea. The projects are also supported through matching funds from departments and other colleges.

WAMIT builds on the national Precision Medicine Initiative, which launched with a $215 million investment in President Obama’s 2016 budget. The Precision Medicine Initiative promises to pioneer a new model of patient-powered research that accelerates biomedical discoveries, and provides physicians with new tools, knowledge and therapies to select which treatments will work best for each patient.

WAMIT will establish a one-of-a-kind molecular imaging center at UW to make major advances in precision medicine leading the next major wave in medical diagnosis and treatment, and significantly strengthen the infrastructure for translating scientific discoveries into clinical applications. The SRI program provides the team with a timely opportunity to integrate translational imaging research supporting precision medicine with the evolving strength of molecular engineering programs at UW.

WAMIT continues UW’s uWAMIT (ultrasound-based Washington Molecular Imaging and Therapy) center. uWAMIT, founded in 2010 with an investment from the Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF), focuses on the discovery, development, translation and commercialization of molecular ultrasound technologies. With the COE SRI award, the research team seeks to broaden their focus to other imaging modalities, and continue the program.