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Dr. Gary Bowlin Awarded 2013 Billy R. Martin Award for Innovation

Suppose an innovative bandage could stop bleeding on contact – not just from a tiny cut but from a traumatic wound? The technology could save the lives of critically wounded soldiers on the battlefield as well as individuals injured or undergoing surgery closer to home.

Dr. Gary L. BowlinDr. Gary L. Bowlin, professor and a Herff Chair of Excellence in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Memphis, is one of two researchers who collaborated to invent such a product.

Bowlin and his colleague, Dr. David G. Simpson, an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, received the Billy R. Martin Award for Innovation for their invention at the recent Invented at VCU reception. (Bowlin is a former professor in the VCU Department of Biomedical Engineering.)

“David and I have never been out for awards,” Bowlin says. “We were just enjoying creating and developing products to improve quality of life and in this case save lives in the precious seconds after traumatic injuries. This award validates the many years of hard work and creativity brought about by this very persistent and productive collaboration.”

Their innovation uses a technology called electrospinning to create a bandage that uniformly dispenses clot-forming proteins to an injured area. Upon contact with blood, the bandage immediately dissolves and releases the proteins at the site, stopping the bleeding almost instantly. The FASTCLOT hemostatic technology platform has been licensed to a start-up company, St. Teresa Medical Inc.

“As with most of our inventions, this was spawned by a simple conversation that lead to a eureka moment,” Bowlin says. “Immediately after the first in vivo preclinical testing of our initial prototype, we knew we had developed a disruptive technology with a significant capacity to save lives during surgical procedures and more importantly in the field at the site of traumatic injuries. Why? Because our prototype stopped bleeding in a situation where no other product has been capable even after centuries of trying to control higher pressure, voluminous bleeding.”

In addition to serving as Herff Chair of Excellence, Bowlin is director of the Tissue Engineering Laboratory, which is working to build a prominence in musculoskeletal tissue engineering. His translational research efforts focus on the development of innovative micro- to nanofibrous structures and associated products for use in bone regeneration, dental reconstruction, cartilage repair, surgical meshes, vascular surgery, wound healing and hemostasis.

The research goals are to develop a wide range of regional collaborations while building a core group focused on translational, musculoskeletal tissue engineering that will allow for the Memphis region to continue as a leader in developing products to improve the quality of life.

Bowlin currently holds nine U.S. patents and is the co-founding inventor of four companies: NanoMatrix Inc., TraumaCure Inc., St. Teresa Medical Inc. and St. Francis Veterinary Medical Inc. He was recently elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

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Last Updated: 11/25/13