VA Maryland Health Care System Researchers Selected for Abell Foundation Innovation Award

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The Johns Hopkins Alliance for Science and Technology Development and the University of Maryland, Baltimore Commercial Advisory Board has selected a research project at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System as one of two $50,000 Abell Foundation Award for Excellence in Innovation recipients for their ankle robot research, known as Anklebot.

The Anklebot is an ankle robot used to help improve gait, balance and range of motion in the lower extremities of stroke survivors, while also allowing researchers to study brain plasticity.

We're excited that our Anklebot has received the Abell Foundation Award for Excellence in Innovation," said Dr. Adam Robinson, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System.

The Johns Hopkins Alliance for Science and Technology Development and the University of Maryland, Baltimore Commercial Advisory Board has selected a research project at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System as one of two $50,000 Abell Foundation Award for Excellence in Innovation recipients for their ankle robot research, known as Anklebot. Developed by the VA Maryland Exercise and Robotics Center of Excellence, in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Anklebot is an ankle robot used to help improve gait, balance and range of motion in the lower extremities of stroke survivors, while also allowing researchers to study brain plasticity.

“We are pleased and excited that our Anklebot technology has received the Abell Foundation Award for Excellence in Innovation. Many people do not realize that VA investigators have made notable achievements over the past nine decades, achievements such as the nicotine patch and the cardiac pacemaker that have helped to improve the lives of Veterans and many others worldwide,” said Dr. Adam M. Robinson, Jr. acting director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. “We are thrilled that the Anklebot is yet another such VA innovation that will eventually benefit stroke survivors everywhere.”

The researchers−Richard Macko, MD, director of the VA Maryland Exercise and Robotics Center of Excellence and a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; Anindo Roy, PhD, chief robotics engineer at the VA Maryland Exercise and Robotics Center of Excellence and an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; and Larry Forester, health research scientist and an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine—use robotics studies to learn brain wave patterns of people walking on a treadmill and use the Anklebot to improve gait and balance to benefit people recovering from stroke. The award highlights the researchers’ work with the Anklebot and their development of a bio-based software engine that enables this technology to be adaptive.

The Johns Hopkins Alliance for Science and Technology Development and the University of Maryland, Baltimore Commercial Advisory Board offers a way for researchers affiliated with Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland to showcase and promote their work. At their April meeting, more than 200 venture capitalists, seasoned bio-tech entrepreneurs and business development executives from the biopharma industry attended, with the judging committees evaluating a range of presentations from startup and university-affiliated researchers before selecting the two Abell Innovation Award winners. Frank Bosman at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is the recipient of the second award for his work treating epilepsy with novel triazole compounds.

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The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and outpatient care to veterans at two medical centers, one rehabilitation & extended care center and six outpatient clinics located throughout the state. More than 52,000 veterans from various generations receive care from VAMHCS annually. Nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and quality patient care, VAMHCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in veterans’ health care, research and education. It costs nothing for Veterans to enroll for health care with the VA Maryland Health Care System and it could be one of the more important things a Veteran can do. For information about VA health care eligibility and enrollment or how to apply for a VA medical care hardship to avoid future copayments for VA health care, interested Veterans are urged to call the Enrollment Center for the VA Maryland Health Care System, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-463-6295, ext. 7324 or visit http://www.maryland.va.gov.

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