The MCIRCC Catalyst | September 2015

News for MCIRCC Members, Insiders and the U-M Critical Care Community

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SepsisSepsis Grand Challenge Finale

How MCIRCC is changing the academic research paradigm to impact sepsis.

For many, September marks the end of summer and the start of the academic school year. For MCIRCC, patients and families are the heart of our motivations, and so September stands for Sepsis Awareness Month--a time to reflect on what sepsis is, what it does and how we can make a difference and save lives.

Sepsis: a grand challenge and critical-care-worthy campaign
Sepsis is a complex health condition that affects over one million Americans per year, results in 250,000 annual deaths, and represents the highest annual treatment cost in U.S. hospitals at $20.3 billion.

Unlike other health problems, sepsis is a deadly medical condition, not a disease. Sepsis is what happens when the body's natural response to infection or other insult becomes unbalanced, runs out of control, and leads to multiple organ damage--essentially "friendly fire" within the body. And because sepsis is rooted in this natural response, certain processes associated with sepsis must occur to keep the body's biology intact. In fact, past solutions that have attempted to block such natural processes have resulted in poor patient outcomes.

One could argue that the sepsis problem will not be solved by continuing to treat it like a pathogen or to rely on protocol-driven interventions, but instead, by focusing on re-balancing the body's system for return to normal using creative approaches to precision medicine.

MCIRCC's Grand Challenge: changing the research paradigm to cure sepsis
MCIRCC's heightened interest in sepsis began in January 2014 with the kickoff of its first Grand Challenge program which targeted the deadly condition. The Grand Challenge supports milestone-driven research with the goal of finding the "game changers" that demonstrate the greatest clinical and market potential.

Recognizing the need to revolutionize sepsis care and treatment at the patient bedside, MCIRCC's Grand Challenge strategy focused on three core requirements to de-risk the science:
  • Solve a pervasive and urgent problem that will improve patient outcomes at reduced costs with the visionary end-goal of curing sepsis.
  • Form integrative teams comprised of clinicians and engineers to close the gap between scientific research, clinical workflow and patient care delivery.
  • Merge innovative, world-class research with commercialization fundamentals to attract industry partners for speed to market strategies.
MCIRCC's grand plan was to seamlessly integrate research and clinical care within a continuous feedback and improvement loop to rapidly move the project teams from discovery insight to market impact.

Sepsis Grand Challenge Score Card
  • 14 proposals submitted for consideration
  • 6 projects funded based on clinical and market relevance
  • All 6 projects fulfilled initial milestones
  • All 6 projects adjusted to real world data, results and hurdles
  • Science proven worthy of further investment
  • Select projects under industry review for potential license
  • Program successfully prepares projects for multiple funding pathways

Sepsis Grand Challenge: where are they now?
The result of this grand experiment is a comprehensive portfolio comprised of therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health solutions that leverage new or granular health data to inform sepsis therapy. And this portfolio is growing. Departing from both historical and current research trends, these solutions have the potential to transform the way we diagnose, treat and monitor sepsis: click here to learn more about the current status of the six Sepsis Grand Challenge projects.

In the end, if we can find a solution that works for the septic patient given all its complexities, these technologies could easily translate to trauma, cardiac arrest and traumatic brain injury, to name a few. The Grand Challenge program gives MCIRCC the opportunity to build platform technologies and approaches that save lives and restore health.

Download the MCIRCC Sepsis Portfolio Brochure

Download the Massey TBI Info Sheet


LeadershipTransitionPassing the MCIRCC Baton

As you know, things are always evolving at MCIRCC and this announcement is no different. MCIRCC is at once saddened and delighted to announce the retirement of its Managing Director Janene Centurione and the hiring of her successor Phil Jacokes.
Over the past two-plus years, Janene has been a tremendous colleague and trailblazer in taking MCIRCC from vision to reality. Under her leadership, MCIRCC has established and strategically focused its unique infrastructure to meet the growing needs of our multidisciplinary research teams. Major accomplishments and growth this past year alone include:
  • Launch of the Proposal Development Unit
  • Development of the Big Data Analytic Pilot Platform (Project AHI)
  • Development of the Critical Care Data Mart
  • Formation of strategic partnerships with industry, the Department of Defense, and donors to support translational research in the critical care space
  • Development and launch of the MCIRCC Virtual Institute
  • Maturation of the Sepsis Grand Challenge technology portfolio
And so it is on this high note, as MCIRCC transitions out of startup phase, that Janene will be leaving the University to travel the world with her husband Dan as they pursue their entrepreneurial interest in food and travel.
Concurrently, MCIRCC is pleased to announce that Phil Jacokes has joined MCIRCC as the new Managing Director and is currently working alongside the entire MCIRCC Catalyst Team and scientific leadership.
Phil is a highly seasoned executive with a strong background in operations leadership and cutting-edge software/technology products, with first-hand experience in successfully starting, building and growing profitable organizations. A proven, collaborative leader and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience, Phil is ready to apply his expertise, skills and creative problem solving to help take MCIRCC to the next level. Phil earned his M.B.A. from Wayne State University and is a U-M alum where he received his B.A. in Communication.
Janene will be here until the end of September, working with Phil to support an orderly and smooth transition to maintain MCIRCC's current momentum. Then, starting in October, Janene will support MCIRCC as a strategic advisor with Phil taking ownership of his new role to impact the delivery of new critical care solutions and products to improve patient outcomes at reduced costs, both here at U-M and in the broader world with our strategic partners.
MCIRCC wishes Janene the best in her new adventures and welcomes Phil to the team. As always, thank you for your continued support as we work together to change the face of critical care medicine.


MCubedMCubed 2.0 Launched!

MCubed, U-M's one-of-a-kind funding program designed to spark innovative research without traditional peer review, is launching its second cycle this month.

Both the U-M Medical School and College of Engineering are contributing significant funds towards this round of the program, anticipating the potential formation of 360 cubes between the two colleges. 

MCubed 2.0 will now feature two different kinds of cubes - the "classic cube" funded at $60K, and a "mini cube" at $15K. Teams will now be free to spend up to 50% of the funding on research-related costs beyond personnel. The program will be phasing in its features and functionalities, including:

RED PHASE: Currently, faculty can update their profiles, use keywords to search for collaborators, and learn about the new program requirements for MCubed 2.0. Faculty who participated in MCubed 1.0 (2012-2014 cycle) can also enter their cube's achievements

YELLOW PHASE: Beginning in mid-September, faculty can create projects, comment on others' project ideas, and invite collaborators to join their projects. They can essentially "fill" their projects so that three tokens are committed.

GREEN PHASE: In early October, the MCubed website will activate the "request a cube" button so that faculty project owners (the person who created the project and invited the other two collaborators to join) can officially seek a cube, either $60K (classic cube) or $15K (mini cube).

Click here to go to the MCubed 2.0 webpage to learn more.

As MCubed token holders progress through the red phase, updating their profiles and beginning to seek collaborators, they'll see a new, improved website that helps faculty navigate the cubing process, and there will be general information sessions throughout September and early October: 
  • Friday, 9/18, 9:00-11:00 am - Palmer Commons, Great Lakes North Room 
  • Wednesday, 9/23, 9:00-11:00 am - Michigan League, Michigan Room 
  • Wednesday, 9/23, 1:00-3:00 pm - Union, Pond Room 
  • Friday, 10/02, 1:00-3:00 pm - Pierpont Commons, Boulevard Room 
Watch the MCubed website for more details, and questions about the cubing process can be directed to


VIPDon't Miss Out on Vital Member Notifications

Add the Virtual Institute to your email safe list!

As a member-driven organization, MCIRCC strives to keep you proactively informed of vital funding opportunities, training and events, trending news, fellow member endeavors, as well as general membership programs and benefits.

The Catalyst eNewsletter is one conduit, with the members-only Virtual Institute intranet, making strides as the dominant communication tool among MCIRCC members--for both MCIRCC-to-member communications and member-to-member communications.

To ensure all notifications from the Virtual Institute are delivered safely to your inbox, and not detoured by your spam filter to the junk box, please add to your Safe or Approved email list in your Gmail, Outlook or other email program.

Key communications coming out of the Virtual Institute include:
  • Weekly Digest emails, routinely distributed on Sunday, that briefly summarize new content shared each week on the Virtual Institute for quick consumption.
  • Q&A Forum postings where members submit questions, inquiries or ideas for feedback from the larger MCIRCC member community.
Proactive communication is key for MCIRCC to enhance your member experience, increase team science collaboration and, ultimately, elevate the impact of your critical care research. 

We encourage you to bookmark or create a shortcut on your desktop to make regular log-in easy and hassle free.

If you have yet to visit the Virtual Institute to setup your user account, be sure to revisit your instructional login communications or click here to review the First Time Login Guide.

Contact with general questions or if you experience technical problems with the site.


MCIRCC salutes the achievements of it members in their pursuit of academic excellence, industry thought leadership, and initiatives of personal passion. Because together, leveraging each of our individual triumphs as a team, we have the power to transform critical care medicine. If you have a recent achievement, award, or accolade to brag about contact with the details.

Rodney Daniels Receives MTRAC Kickstart Award 

Rodney Daniels, MD has been awarded $24,835 for his project "Point-of-Care (POC) Platform for Small Volume Analysis of Blood and Body Fluid Redox in Illness and Injury." This POC redox device will allow for real-time evaluation of redox measurements, including gauging the effectiveness of resuscitation and therapeutic interventions. This award represents continuation funding for his 2014 Sepsis Grand Challenge project.
Project DRIVE Featured in MconneX

In their search to define the "new normal" of critical care patient monitoring, MCIRCC
Hakam Tiba, MD, Kevin Ward, MDAlbert Shih, PhD, and Barry Belmont, MS have developed a new vital sign measurement that accurately assesses a patient's circulating blood volume using non-invasive technology.

In this MconneX video, Ward and Belmont talk about the new wearable sensor that may lead to the widespread use of this new vital sign.
Click here to learn more about the DRIVE technology.

Project DRIVE Sensor Video

As THE network "hub" between academic scientists, clinical researchers, industry partners, and funding sources, MCIRCC is committed to providing member researchers with the innovation, financial, business, and commercialization guidance and resources you need to get your research to the bedside, faster. Click here for more information about becoming a MCIRCC member.


CommercializationCommercialization: Moving from Idea to Execution

September 16
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Towsley Center for Continuing Medical Education
Sheldon Auditorium

Please join us as we welcome Brian Fritz, PhD, from Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation as he discusses his experiences from the front lines of product development, sales, marketing and customer support, as well as focus on the evolution of a business from start-up to a larger, and more truly commercial organization.

MCubedEventMCubed Health Brainstorming Event 

September 23
4:00 pm to 5:30 pm session
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm reception

Seminar Rooms

MCubed promotes cross-campus collaboration, but it can be a challenge to develop just the right project concept and then connect with colleagues from other schools.

Join the Fast Forward Medical Innovation team for a unique session designed to help you jumpstart your MCubed project ideas in the areas of.... 
  • Big Data & Personalized Medicine 
  • Cancer, Stem Cells, & Tissue Engineering 
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases, Eldercare, & Therapeutic Delivery 
  • Obesity, Microbes, Inflammation, Vaccines, & Food Addictions 
Facilitated by research leaders in these fields, this informal session offers you the chance to brainstorm with colleagues from other health-related schools on campus and prepare your proposal for successful MCubed 2.0 funding!

MIDASThe Future of Data Science: A Convergence of Academia, Industry, and Government

October 6
8:00 am to 6:30 pm

Rackham Auditorium
915 E. Washington St

The Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) cordially invites you to join top industry, academic and government data scientists in Ann Arbor for their one-day symposium.

Experts from around the country will convene at Rackham Auditorium to focus on the future of data science and to highlight current research, trends and emerging issues in the field that transcend all aspects of our global community.

  • University of Michigan (U-M) leaders will share details regarding major new investments in data science research, instruction, and infrastructure.
  • Internationally renowned scientists will present on cross-cutting data science methodologies.
  • A session on education, workforce development and careers in data science will feature U-M alumni.
  • A keynote address on security, privacy and the role of data science in society will be given.
  • There will be presentations on data science challenges in personalized health, learning analytics, social science and transportation.
  • A panel discussion on initiatives, collaborations and partnerships will showcase the University's connectedness to the broader data science community.
  • A reception and poster session will conclude the event.
Space is limited and registration is required.

ETDEarly Tech Development Course

October 9 - November 6
12:00 pm to 5:00 pm

NCRC, Building 10

Early Tech Development (ETD) is a 4-week course designed to teach faculty and researchers the initial process of innovation and commercialization. The course provides a real world, hands-on, learning experience on reducing the commercialization risk of early stage therapeutics, diagnostics, healthcare IT applications/software, and device technologies.

NIH2NIH Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration


October 14-16

Hilton San Diego Bayfront
1 Park Avenue

San Diego, CA 



The 2-day agenda for the NIH Regional Seminar offers 3 tracks: Administrators, New Investigators and All Interests.


The New Investigators track has been redesigned to provide step-by-step guidance on mapping your career, understanding the funding process and what can be expected up to the time of award. To add to the array of topic choices, special interest sessions are provided on topics like research integrity, data sharing, foreign collaborations, and more.

Opportunities with NIH & HHS Experts

Attendees are encouraged to sign up for the popular 1:1 Meet the Expert Chats. Attendees who take advantage of these 15 minute discussions repeatedly say it is one of the most valuable opportunities at the NIH Regional Seminar! NIH & HHS experts are on hand to meet specifically with attendees, answer questions and provide guidance.


Click here for more information and to register.

MICHR2MICHR K Writing Workshop for Junior Faculty and Fellows

November 4, 18 and December 9
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

NCRC, Building 520

MICHR offers a structured, three-part workshop designed to assist junior faculty and fellows who are preparing competitive career development grant applications (NIH K and VA CDA) for 2016 submission.

Participants will exchange drafts of proposal sections and receive peer critique and feedback from senior faculty experienced in NIH study section thinking. The workshop only "works" if participants have drafts to discuss.

Registrants MUST attend all three sessions. Your mentor is expected to attend Session 1 (November 4) or Session 2 (November 18).

Registration is required and closes on October 19.

Click here for more information and to register.

If you are speaking with the media about your work in critical care research or are working with the U-M News Service or U-M Health System Public Relations on a health care related press release, article, or other news item, please mention your affiliation with the U-M Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care.

The U-M Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care (MCIRCC) is one of the world's first comprehensive research enterprises devoted to transforming critical care medicine by accelerating science and moving it from bench to bedside. To do this, MCIRCC brings together integrative teams comprised of world-class U-M scientists, clinicians, and engineers with industry partners and funding sources to develop and deploy cutting-edge solutions that elevate the care, outcomes, and quality of life of critically ill and injured patients and their families.