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Nitish Thakor and BME Alumni Spinoff, Vasoptic Medical, Secure Phase II Funding from the Wallace H.

A translational team led by Nitish Thakor (Professor of BME) and his former students, Abhishek Rege (alumnus of the BME PhD program) and M. Jason Brooke (alumnus of the BME MSE program), has secured follow-on (Phase II) funding from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation to commercialize a low-cost and portable retinal imager that will permit early detection of diabetic retinopathy in primary care settings. The clinical team comprises Drs. Peter Gehlbach and Ingrid Zimmer-Galler, both retina specialists at the Wilmer Eye Institute.

Diabetic retinopathy is a vision-threatening condition that affects nearly one in three diabetics and can be managed effectively if detected early. Central to early diagnosis is the ability to screen patients in primary care environments using affordable and convenient instruments and procedures. To solve this problem, the team will use intellectual property based on laser speckle contrast imaging that can probe retinal blood vessels for their morphological and physiological status.

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