DIREF funds and supports projects in conjunction with the Surgical Innovations Program of the Michael and Marian Ilitch Department of Surgery at Wayne State University to develop and commercialize advanced medical and surgical technologies.

Examples of projects underway include:

  • A real-time, patient-specific organ simulator enabling surgeons to practice procedures on patients before the real thing. It will mark the birth of personalized surgery, a game-changing breakthrough
  • Laparoscopic surgery training simulator monitoring and marking system
  • A program to research, develop and commercialize technologies for cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity; jointly with Virocan Therapeutics Pvt. Ltd., of India

New projects are initiated through a filtering process that matches the best ideas with available resources. An IDOS/DIREF Innovations Fund provides seed funding of up to $15,000 to IDOS faculty with well developed innovative concepts, as a means to develop the concept sufficient to stimulate research grants and commercial investment in them.

At all phases of the project selection process—pre-proposal, proposal, final presentation—an IDOS/DIREF committee evaluates or re-evaluates proposals to determine whether each…

  1. … is worthy of immediate funding from the general fund, or
  2. … should be promoted to other funding sources, or
  3. … has potential but needs further development by the applicant, or
  4. … is not worthy of consideration.

To arrive at its determination, the committee decides:

  1. What is the biggest concern or problem?
  2. What are the upside opportunities—clinical, educational, financial?
  3. What critical information is missing?
  4. Estimated investment/resource costs (including IP protection and project duration)
  5. Estimated returns
  6. Potential research/development funders, including IP licensees

The Center for Surgical Innovations has designed a concept development room in its labs in which surgeons and engineers mingle to brainstorm new project concepts and to manage the development of approved projects from inception through production prototype. The room provides access to state-of-the-art computing facilities (including the supercomputing facilities at Argonne National Labs), 3D printers for rapid prototyping and design, and an interactive holographic display/communication area.

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