A health initiative by Jeffrey Paten, Lecturer on Engineering Sciences at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), recently advanced all the way to the final four of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) Dash to Accelerate Health Outcomes competition. Paten’s project, called “Hyper Accelerated Healing,” was awarded $10,000 for winning the Health Science Futures bracket and finishing in the top of four out of 64 initial ideas.
Dr. Paten proposed an approach to accelerate the repair of orthopedic injuries by directly introducing natural biologics to the damaged tissue, bypassing the slow and often insufficient healing response of the patient. The approach leverages the concept that biological molecules have evolved the innate functionality to automatically carry out their intended tasks, instructed primarily by environmental cues. Termed as “mechanically-guided molecular autonomy,” this theory represents the culmination of extensive research conducted by Dr. Paten and his former Ph.D. advisor, Professor Jeffrey Ruberti, at Northeastern University. Further supporting evidence is detailed in the study on the mechanochemistry of collagen.
ARPA-H Dash sought out novel evidence-based ideas to transform health and advance breakthrough medical technologies. The ideas were then pitted against each other through a series of one-on-one matchups in a bracket similar to the NCAA basketball tournament. Online discussion took place throughout April and May, with voters halving the number of entries from 64 to 32 and all the way down to a champion. which took home $15,000.
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Matt Goisman | email@example.com