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TTP Welcomes Davis Becker

November 30, 2021

 Davis Becker

Davis Becker

Davis Becker joined the Technology Transfer Program in November 2021 as a Field Technology Transfer Specialist to serve VA Medical Centers in Southern California. Davis graduated with honors from American Military University with a BA in Business Management and is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Davis began his 17-year career in public service as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician in the United States Air Force. After separating, he continued working with the Air Force as a civilian program manager and liaison in the United Kingdom. He then joined the VA San Diego Healthcare System in June 2018 as a Health System Specialist within Systems Redesign and Innovation, where he was responsible for leading process improvement initiatives and implementing VHA Innovation Ecosystem program objectives, which sought to instill a methodical approach to, and capacity for, the development, adoption, and scaling of intrapreneurial ventures.

Throughout his career, Davis became revered by colleagues and external partners as a "navigator of bureaucracy" for his tenacity in identifying opportunities, bridging siloed groups and resources, and facilitation of others to move more confidently toward their ideal states. Creative, motivated by challenges and a genuine interest in the growth and positive experiences of others, he looks to continue finding ways of providing value as an advocate for the VA and its dedicated researchers.

Davis lives in San Diego with his wife and children and enjoys spending time with family, reading, listening to music, DIY projects, and travel.

TTP Welcomes Chi Ng

October 1, 2021

 Chi Ng

Chi Ng

Ms. Chi Ng joined the Technology Transfer Program (TTP) in September 2021 as a Field Technology Transfer Specialist to serve VA medical centers located in New York City. Ms. Ng received a Master of Chemistry from the University of Buffalo, SUNY in 2014.

Since then, Chi has worked as an analytical research associate in various companies before transitioning to become a patent agent. Prior to joining TTP, she worked as a patent agent at a startup biotech company in New Jersey, which bio-fabricated leather-like materials with collagen grown from yeast cells. At the startup, she provided intellectual property (IP) support to the various teams in the company that included cell engineering, bioprocess, material science and product and design. The IP support included invention capture, patentability and freedom-to-operate searches, developing IP strategies, drafting and prosecution of patent applications, competitor landscaping and monitoring, and supporting external collaborations and partnerships. Ms. Ng also worked closely with outside counsel to ensure timely correspondence with the USPTO.

Outside of work, Chi has an interest in cooking and baking. She loves to experiment with recipes to test out different combination of flavors and ingredients

TTP Welcomes Grace Yeh

September 7, 2021

Grace Yeh

Grace Yeh

Grace Yeh has joined the Technology Transfer Program (TTP) in August 2021 as a Field Technology Transfer Specialist to serve VA medical centers located in Northern California. Ms. Yeh received a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007.

Since then, Grace has worked at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System in California. She began her career as a research coordinator for the “VISN Collaborative for Improving Hypertension Management ATHENA Decision Support System” randomized controlled trial. A few years later, she transitioned into the facility’s compliance program.

For the last decade, Ms. Yeh served as the Research Compliance Officer for the facility Director. She coordinated research compliance activities and performed assessments to evaluate policy and procedures. This included overseeing compliance in the five regulatory areas: (1) Protection of Human Subjects in Research, (2) Protection of Animal Subjects in Research, (3) Bio-safety, (4) Conflict of Interest, and (5) Privacy and Information Security. While facilitating Conflict of Interest reviews, she managed disclosures with inventions, intellectual property, and outside interests. Ms. Yeh also worked closely with the Office of General Counsel to maintain compliance with federal regulations.

Ms. Yeh has an interest in music therapy. She loves to sing and plays several instruments including the piano, ukulele, and classical guitar. She is currently training her 1-year golden retriever, Barnaby, to be an autism assistance dog.

‘Puff trigger’ device allows disabled Veterans to participate in shooting sports

July 6, 2021

‘Puff trigger’ device allows disabled Veterans to participate in shooting sports

A U.S. Veteran aims an air rifle equipped with a puff trigger. (VA photo)

An assistive device that helps disabled Veterans participate in shooting sports, invented by a VA engineer, has been licensed for commercial manufacture. Seth Hills, an engineer at the Richmond VA Medical Center, created the “puff trigger” device. Hills’ invention allows someone with limited hand or arm function to participate in shooting sports like air rifle competitions by operating the trigger with a puff of air. Ransom International Corp., an Arizona-based company, has negotiated an exclusive patent license agreement with VA to manufacture and commercialize the device. Shooting sports are very popular among Veterans, being featured in such events as the Paralympic Games and the National Veterans Golden Age Games. “Marksmanship is a unique aspect of military service, making shooting sports very popular with Veterans,” said Leif Nelson, director of VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events. “Veterans with physical disabilities have an array of shooting sports to choose from through our national rehabilitation events, as well as through their local recreation therapy teams. From air rifle and air pistol to trap shooting and laser rifle, VA has a long history of offering shooting sports programs to our Veterans. We’re excited about this new technology and the potential for more Veterans to have access to these opportunities.” The new device will allow Veterans who may not be able to physically pull a trigger because of a disability to participate in the sports.

Promising treatment for obesity developed

June 14, 2021

Promising treatment for obesity developed

Dr. BK Kishore

A promising new treatment for obesity has been developed by a VA Salt Lake City scientist. Dr. BK Kishore developed a new way to deliver drugs to act on the P2Y2 purnergic receptor, a protein receptor in the brain involved in both nephrogenic diabetes insipidus and diet-induced obesity. Targeted drug delivery allows medication to be delivered directly to the receptor. The new treatment can “effectively promote burning of excess calories and prevent fat accumulation in a relatively safe manner,” according to Kishore. He has begun a start-up company called ePurines to develop the drug, which signed an exclusive license agreement with VA through the Technology Transfer Program. The agreement allows ePurines to commercialize the purinergic signaling technology developed by Kishore while he worked at VA. VA holds the patent to the new technology. According to the CDC, 42% of adult Americans are clinically obese. About 78% of Veterans have a body mass index above 25. A pharmacological solution to obesity could have a huge impact on the health of both Veterans and the general population.

Wheelchair footplate sensor to prevent lower-limb injuries

March 25, 2021

Wheelchair footplate sensor to prevent lower-limb injuries

Photo: ©iStock/skynesher

A wheelchair device created by scientists at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center will help prevent injury to Veterans with spinal cord injury. The team developed a sensor that detects the position of a wheelchair user’s feet on the wheelchair footplate. It sends pressure and sensor data to a user’s smartphone in real-time. Patient with spinal cord injury can experience injury when using a wheelchair if they are unaware that their feet are sticking out or dragging on the ground. “Somebody would be operating usually a power wheelchair, although it has happened in manual wheelchairs as well, and their leg or foot might be sticking out from the side of the footrest,” Dr. M. Kristi Henzel, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at the Cleveland VAMC, explained to TechLink. “As they would pass through a doorway, for example, it would catch and twist the leg out, leading to injury.” To prevent this, Henzel and her colleagues designed the smart, wireless sensor to warn users foot mispositioning. The device is available for commercial licensing through VA’s Technology Transfer Program.

Clear face mask will help improve communication

January 12, 2021

Clear face mask will help improve communication

Photo by Megan Kon

A VA-invented mask that could help people communicate more easily during the COVID-19 pandemic is now closer to being available to the public. VA has reached a licensing agreement with Sports Engineering, Inc., for the Clear Talker Mask, invented at the Central Virginia VA Health Care System. The invention is made of clear plastic so that the user’s lips and face are visible. This can improve communication by making it possible to read lips and facial expressions, which cannot be done with the standard surgical masks most often being used during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mask is reusable and is designed to fit most faces. It was created by Seth Hills, Brian Burkhardt, Melissa Oliver, and John Miller at the Central Virginia VA. VA applied for a patent on the invention in September through the Technology Transfer Program. Sports Engineering will develop the product for market.

New prosthetic improves hip replacement

December 28, 2020

New prosthetic improves hip replacement

Photo: ©Stock/

A new femur prosthetic invented by Dr. Alfred Kuo of the San Francisco VA Medical Center could improve hip replacement surgery and shorten recovery time. Traditional hip replacement surgery often requires a long, painful recovery. The prosthesis designed by Kuo allows for a much shorter segment of the femur bone to be removed than previously required. Conventional hip implants need to be inserted into the femur about five to six inches. But Kuo’s prosthesis only extends into the femur by 90 millimeters, about 3.5 inches. Removing less bone can reduce blood loss during surgery and make the insertion easier for the surgeon. Implantation of the new device also calls for a much smaller incision than for previous prostheses, which makes it easier to redo the surgery if adjustments are needed. VA has filed a patent application for the invention.

VA doctor invents new mask to protect clinicians from COVID-19 infection

August 21, 2020

 (Photo by Scott Fuller)

(Photo by Scott Fuller)

A new mask design invented by Dr. Scott Fuller of the VA Northern California Health Care System could significantly improve safety during procedures of the head and neck. Fuller created a surgical mask with a nasal tube and transparent window for patients to wear. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the creation of the new mask. When performing an endoscopy, in which a fiber-optic camera is inserted into the nose or mouth of a patient, clinicians are at risk of airborne droplets that may contain the virus. Fuller’s invention blocks any droplets or particles from leaving the patient while still allowing the clinician to perform the procedure. He is working with VA’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories to develop prototypes. The Tech Transfer Program has submitted a patent application on Fuller’s behalf and is working to identify companies that can produce the masks for widespread use.

Adjustable walker moves closer to market

July 17, 2020

 Stephanie Nogan Bailey displays the self-leveling walker her team developed. (<em>VA photo</em>)

Stephanie Nogan Bailey displays the self-leveling walker her team developed. (VA photo)

An adjustable walker that will help users travel over uneven surfaces is one step closer to reaching people who need it. The Self-Leveling Walker was developed by the Advanced Platform Technology Center at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University. On level ground, it works like a regular walker. But the user can press a button to shorten the front legs and lengthen the back legs when going up a slope or steps—or vice versa when going down. The walker uses a hydraulic system built into its legs. VA and the university, which co-own the technology, have licensed it to the start-up company LevelMed Technologies to bring the walker to market. “Because there’s no safe way to use standard walkers on stairs or inclines,” explains project manager Stephanie Nogan Bailey, “we saw an unmet need for a walker that can be adjusted at any time.” The hope is that this device will give back freedom of mobility to people with injuries or movement difficulties.

VA-invented exercise device to enter production

May 1, 2020

VA-invented exercise device to enter production

An upper-limb exercise device invented by VA researchers will soon become available to patients and health care systems. The Multi-Purpose Arm Cycle Ergometer for Rehabilitation (M-PACE) allows patients with conditions such as spinal cord injury to participate in a wider range of exercise and rehab activities. Action Manufacturing Inc. and VA have reached an exclusive patent license agreement on the device. The M-PACE was created by researchers at VA’s Minneapolis Adaptive Design and Engineering Program. Prolonged bed rest due to medical treatments or conditions can lead to muscle loss and other problems. With the M-PACE, patients can exercise while lying in bed. It can also be used from a wheelchair or while standing. The device features pedals that can be used with the arms, along with several other configurations. “The M-PACE’s ability to deploy over a bed is particularly important,” explained Dr. Gary Goldish, one of the inventors, to TechLink, “because prolonged bedrest without exercise can lead to rapid deconditioning and can negatively affect many systems of the human body, including the central nervous system, digestive system, and endocrine system.”

VA researchers develop new treatment for liver disease

March 31, 2020

VA researchers develop new treatment for liver disease

Photo: ©Stock/©iStock/D-Keine

A VA research team led by Dr. Gianfranco Alpinini of the Richard L. Roudebush Indianapolis VA Medical Center created a new treatment for liver disease. Using mouse studies, the researchers found a compound that improves liver damage linked to several forms of liver disease. The drug could be used as a treatment for liver diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis, biliary atresia, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is the most common type of liver disease in the Western world. VA has filed a patent for the treatment. Through Tech Transfer agreements, private businesses can now obtain rights to develop this research into life-saving medicines.

Drug shows promise in reducing deadly brain swelling after stroke

March 24, 2020

Drug shows promise in reducing deadly brain swelling after stroke

Photo: ©Stock/stockdevil

A new drug developed by VA and international partners could reduce deadly brain damage from stroke. The drug, ZT-1a, has proved effective at reducing brain swelling after stroke in animal models. It targets a pathway in the brain that controls how ions and water move in and out of brain cells. After stroke, malfunctioning proteins can allow too much water into the brain and cause dangerous swelling. ZT-1a stops these proteins from activating. Currently, invasive brain surgery is needed to alleviate this swelling. The drug was developed by an international consortium, including Dr. Dandan Sun of the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System. The consortium was made up of inventors from Xiamen University in China, Exeter University in the United Kingdom, and the VA and University of Pittsburgh. VA has filed a patent for the drug’s use as a stroke treatment.

Chip-based test for bleeding or clotting risk earns FDA ‘Breakthrough Device’ status  

March 12, 2020


An experimental portable blood-clotting sensor called ClotChip, co-owned by VA and Case Western Reserve University and licensed to the private company XaTek, now has FDA “Breakthrough Device” status. The designation speeds the development of technologies that outperform current products in treating or diagnosing serious conditions. Investigators with VA’s Advanced Platform Technology Center and CWRU developed and tested the technology. It can assess a patient’s clotting ability—based on a single drop of blood—in about 15 minutes, compared with a day or longer for existing methods. “ClotChip is designed to minimize the time and effort for blood-sample preparation. [It can] be used at the doctor’s office or other points of care for patients on anticoagulation therapy [or] antiplatelet therapy, or who have suffered a traumatic injury causing bleeding,” said Dr. Pedram Mohseni in a 2016 CWRU article.

Patent for new way to treat dangerous hospital infection

February 25, 2020

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

(Photo courtesy of CDC)

VA and the University of Maryland are joint owners of a newly issued patent (US 10,537,609 B2) for a peptide-based treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. P. aeruginosa can cause infections in the blood, lungs, or other parts of the body after surgery. At highest risk are hospital patients on breathing machines, those with catheters, and those with wounds from surgery or burns. The new potential treatment has been tested successfully in mice and is pending further study. The approach is promising because it uses a specific peptide, or a piece of a protein, to defeat the bacteria and does not rely on antibiotics. P. aeruginosa is increasingly resistant to antibiotics. In 2017, multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa caused an estimated 32,6000 infections and 2,700 deaths in the U.S. Visit VA’s partner TechLink to read more about this and other available technologies based on VA inventions and discoveries.

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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.