George R. Wodicka appointed Co-Director of NIH-supported Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI)

George R. Wodicka was named the new Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) co-director representing the Purdue University campus. The Dane A. Miller Head and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue has been involved with the Indiana CTSI from its inception, but his new role brings opportunities to expand his impact, starting with plans for a new Biomedical Devices Clinical Research Laboratory that will shrink the gap between discovery and implementation of noninvasive medical devices.
George R. Wodicka, Dane A. Miller Head and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University and Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) Co-Director representing Purdue.

The Indiana CTSI was founded in 2008 to increase collaboration among the brightest minds in Indiana to solve the State’s most pressing healthcare challenges. The institute serves to bolster research infrastructure, recruit talent, identify Indiana’s greatest health challenges, and improve health in Indiana through research.

For over a decade, Wodicka has provided leadership through the CTSI’s Biomedical Engineering and Nanomedicine (BEAN) Program. The program trains and assists investigators from three partner universities—Indiana University, Purdue, and Notre Dame, to develop medical technologies and speed their progress towards clinical implementation. Since its inception, nearly 300 translational research projects have been assisted by CTSI BEAN. The program’s services have included helping with regulatory approvals and entrepreneurship; fostering investigator partnerships with Indiana medical device and pharma companies to incorporate manufacturing expertise; and providing medical device design, fabrication, and preclinical studies capabilities at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.

The Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering plays a central role in providing BEAN’s extensive expertise and support. Wodicka, at the helm of the School since its founding 1998, has achieved tremendous programmatic growth and translational research impact. He spearheaded the sourcing and building of an enterprise that fosters a unique academic environment for experiential learning and technology development through close ties with industrial and clinical partners. Accomplishments include unprecedented faculty and student contributions in the medical device, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical fields with more than three million patients worldwide directly helped through the licensing of the School’s innovative health care technologies. 

In his new role as CTSI co-director, Wodicka will continue to provide leadership to the Indiana CTSI BEAN program and the Weldon School, but plans are already underway for an exciting new initiative.

“There is a critical need in Indiana for a place to test and evaluate early-stage noninvasive medical devices, for example wearable, ambulatory, connected, and point-of-care devices, and refine them for widespread use,” said Wodicka.

To address this need, Wodicka is leading the development of the first Biomedical Devices Clinical Research Laboratory for the integrated design and first-in-human evaluation of noninvasive devices for health monitoring. The Laboratory will be a nexus for clinicians and technology developers from across the State to evaluate approaches, rapidly improve and refine designs, and bring medical products to patients in need at an unprecedented rate. 

“The addition of such a novel technology development and testing facility would distinguish our alliance by continuing to demonstrate our leadership of integrating the most impactful resources that each partner institution contributes to our Indiana CTSI,” said Wodicka. “Such capabilities would also make Indiana investigators more competitive for federal grant as well as corporate research funding due to its uniqueness.” The Laboratory will be a hallmark of a new $18 million addition of the biomedical engineering building (Jischke Hall) on the Purdue campus where construction is well underway.

Wodicka is a natural fit to lead Purdue’s translational research efforts through the Indiana CTSI given a long career of intersecting research, clinical, teaching, and administrative achievements at Purdue.

He joined Purdue in 1989 as assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and became the founding head of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. He facilitated translational research and joint educational and training programs between Purdue and Indiana University School of Medicine for the past 30 years, a collaboration that recently expanded into the Engineering-Medicine Partnership. Under his leadership, the Weldon School has grown to prominence, including an intellectual property portfolio of more than 100 issued U.S. patents, with more than half licensed to Indiana medical device companies.

Wodicka conducts a translational research program in the area of biomedical acoustics—the application of sonic technologies toward the solution of problems in clinical medicine. His research has been supported by government agencies and private foundations, resulting in numerous F.D.A.-approved medical devices through startup company formation and corporate partnerships. Wodicka is the co-founder of SonarMed, which launched the first FDA-approved product to help doctors and nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit assess if a breathing tube has become clogged or has moved out of position. He earned a B.E.S. degree from Johns Hopkins University and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.