Six University of Missouri projects get a boost in funding

Projects were awarded $600,000 to bring them to next level

POSTED: 05:48 PM CDT Sep 18, 2013    UPDATED: 05:55 PM CDT Sep 18, 2013 
Mu Awards
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Research projects at the University of Missouri received hundreds of thousands of dollars Wednesday for research that could one day help save lives. The projects range from heart valve replacement devices to detecting infections in the blood.

MU officials tell ABC 17 News the projects are on the brink of going to the patient testing phase and the money will help get to that point.

Officials said having this happen at MU is not only great for the university, but it also offers the opportunity for the university to bring in a lot of money if one of these projects takes off.

The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation is awarding the university $600,000 to help projects reach the next level. The hope for the grants is to bridge the funding gap for projects that have promising market potential

University leaders say having six projects get the money is a testament to what's going on on campus.

“It represents to the taxpayers, to the citizens of Missouri, a tremendous return on that historical investment they've made in what is truly one of the great public land-grant universities in the country,” University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton explained.

Some of the innovative projects involve curing shoulder problems with tissue transplants, finding better ways to heal from anterior cruciate ligament surgeries, and improving cartilage replacement methods for joint surgery.

Project researchers said the projects are unlike many others around the country because there are multiple aspects being looked at every second.

“Medical things that need solutions and have [engineers] bring a technical ability that we don't have -- hopefully mix the two and have innovations that take things to a new level in medical care,” Missouri Orthopaedic Institute's Jim Stannard said.

Health experts said it's rare for a university to get money from the foundation. University leaders claim it's not only bringing more research to the school, but it could also bring in dollars down the road.

“It has the potential of generating a great deal of revenue in the future, but the critical issue here is that it's going to improve human health,” Deaton said.

MU officials said it could be a few years before these practices are used in hospitals worldwide.