Engineering, medical schools partner for women’s health tech initiative

Researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering and the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis have partnered to launch the Women’s Health Technologies Initiative, which aims to apply engineering technology to develop new strategies to improve the detection, diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the female reproductive system.

The initiative launched following a successful symposium in January 2020, which was organized by Quing Zhu, the Edwin H. Murty Professor at the McKelvey School of Engineering, and Yong Wang, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine and of electrical and systems engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering. Researchers were invited to talk about their work in fertility, monitoring cervical health, progression of labor and postpartum outcomes.

“I have been working on breast and ovarian cancer research for the past two decades and always have a passion to improve women’s health,” Zhu said. “My goal is to promote collaboration between clinical and nonclinical researchers and engineers to work on women’s health issues, with the hope of elevating the importance of women’s health research at WashU and at the NIH (National Institutes of Health).”

In March 2020, the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology launched the Collaboration Initiation Grants, which are small seed grants of up to $20,000 for one year in support of research. The goal of these grants is to generate sustaining collaboration between engineering and medical school partners that will be competitive for future external funding.

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