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. 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
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.