|From left: TI Workforce & Education Director Arturo Sanchez, TI Chief Citizenship Officer Trisha Cunningham, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, TI Analog Technology Development Manager of Research Allen Bowling, Chief Technology Officer for TI's High Volume Linear Products Bill Krenik, and UT Dallas President David E. Daniel.
Texas Instruments' investment of $3 million has leveraged an additional $10 million in donations and matching funds that will result in the establishment of a new University of Texas at Dallas center that will develop medical devices and therapies to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic neurological diseases. TI's lead gift of $3 million from triggered a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor, and both gifts generated a $5 million match from the Board of Regents through the University of Texas Research Incentive Program.
The new Texas Biomedical Device Center will facilitate interactions between UT Dallas faculty members and clinicians at North Texas medical facilities including UT Southwestern, as well as corporations to create new biomedical devices and therapies addressing a wide range of medical conditions.
"The center will serve as a catalyst for North Texas industry by creating new biomedical technologies and producing more highly skilled graduates for this critical and rapidly growing field," said Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the UT System. "As a physician, I can tell you that the opportunities are almost limitless for improving human health through the development of biomedical devices and technologies.
Cigarroa announced the surprise gifts on March 29 as part of the public launch for "Realize the Vision: The Campaign for Tier One and Beyond," a five-year, $200 million fund raising campaign.
"The creation of this center is a wonderful example of how the capital campaign will advance UT Dallas, as it brings together the thinkers, supporters, and expertise needed for world class excellence," he said.
It was TI's gift that generated the matching funds that will help launch the center rapidly.
"At Texas Instruments, we are interested in partnering and investing in universities who are looking to engineer change and make an impact in the world. We believe UT Dallas and this new center are committed to this," said Trisha Cunningham, chief citizenship officer at TI. "We're glad UT Dallas could leverage our gift with matching funds for even greater return on our investment. Three million dollars turned into $13 million, and we think that's only the beginning. The university is working hard to find other opportunities to leverage that gift and expand its engineering expertise in a whole new direction."
Neural engineer Dr. Robert Rennaker, associate professor of electrical engineering and neuroscience at UT Dallas has been appointed by President David E. Daniel to serve as interim director of the center. He will work with Texas Instruments and other corporate advisors to develop the center's research agenda while also seeking additional private support.
"Funding for medical devices at early stages is hard to find," Rennaker said. "The center will provide the oversight, engineering support and funds needed to get these ideas off the ground. Once they're off the ground, we will oversee the clinical trial testing and commercialization to ensure the devices get to the people who need them."
Rennaker noted that a large percent of all chronic medical conditions are associated with the brain so "having a focus on neurological devices is the best use of our time and resources," he said.
Current technologies and therapies being developed target conditions such as chronic pain, tinnitus, multiple sclerosis, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, speech disorders and stroke.
"We know that technology can be life changing," Cunningham of TI said. "We don't know what those innovations are going to be, but we do know that technology is going to be the basis of that, and we know that UT Dallas is going to be able to help leverage that to change lives."