Establishing eHealth Research Initiative

The “electronic Health Research Institute” (eHRI) organized in April was announced June 4th at a Summit supported by Rice University’s BioScience Research Collaborative. The goal is to catalyze the advancement and translation of information and communication technology research to enable the distance delivery of healthcare.

eHRI is a collaborative research initiative funded by the John S. Dunn Foundation through the Gulf Consortia that includes the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Kennedy Institute for Information Technology at Rice University, and the Center for Space Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

One of the presentations at the Summit featured “mobileVision”, a device permitting untrained individuals to photograph the retina of the eye for remote diagnosis. It was demonstrated by Adam Samaniego, a second year Rice graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Another presentation by Dr. Jesse Seiber, a microvascular reconstructive surgeon at MD Anderson Cancer Center, discussed how robotics are used in reconstructive plastic surgery. As he explained, they offer an enormous amount of precision and give remote applications for globalizing specialty care.

The eHRI is now pursuing funding and grants to support near-term infrastructure needs, including capital for seed funding to start projects. At the same time, the institute will launch a capital campaign to boost project seed funding and provide long term sustainable infrastructure support.”

According to Cindy Farach-Carson, Rice’s Vice Provost for translational bioscience and Scientific Director of the BioScience Research Collaborative, “The institute will also work through the existing institutions’ licensing offices to help commercialize research, but also hopes to develop new licensing models customized for interdisciplinary projects coming out of multiple institutions.”

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