August 10, 2022 With $10B in potential funding, UW-Madison among group driving military healthcare solutions Written By: Renee Meiller Departments: Biomedical Engineering Categories: Faculty|Research As key members of a consortium of university and industry partners, University of Wisconsin-Madison investigators can compete for funding—from an overall pot of $10 billion—to catalyze innovative medical solutions for military applications and rapidly migrate those technologies out of the lab and into use. UW-Madison is among eight academic and 64 industry partners in the consortium, which is led by the University of Pittsburgh. It was among a limited number of consortia selected to participate in a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) initiative called “Omnibus IV.” Through the consortium, UW-Madison investigators are eligible to apply for DOD medical research and development funding. While the DOD supports the nation’s military and national security, an important aspect of the agency’s work focuses on medical research that protects or improves the wellness and health of members of the country’s armed forces and their families, as well as U.S. citizens. Over the next decade, Omnibus IV will offer funding opportunities in areas that include medical simulation technologies; infectious diseases; military health, performance and recovery; radiation health effects; chemical and biological readiness; clinical investigations; graduate health science education; and military health system research. The university has deep expertise within each of the Omnibus IV focus areas. For example, virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka pioneers advances in understanding illnesses that include influenza, Ebola and SARS-CoV-2; organoid models developed by biomedical engineer and entrepreneur William Murphy unlock strategies for preventing or treating disease; and mechanical engineer Christian Franck leads efforts to detect, treat and prevent traumatic brain injuries. UW-Madison also excels in clinical and rehabilitative medicine, with groundbreaking advances in areas that include stem cells, musculoskeletal biomechanics, neuroengineering, neuromodulation, regenerative medicine, genomics, data science, and others. With a $1.3 billion annual research enterprise, an expansive suite of specialized research facilities, and a long history of transforming discoveries into commercial products through licensed patents and spinoff companies, UW-Madison has a track record of worldwide impact. That makes its researchers attractive collaborators for other members of the consortium. “This is a mechanism to create partnerships across the UW-Madison campus and with other consortium members, and to build a stronger relationship with the DOD,” says Cathy Rasmussen, executive director of the Forward BIO Institute at UW-Madison who, with Forward BIO founding director Murphy, is spearheading consortium activities at UW-Madison. “Applying for funding will be a coordinated effort, reflecting how teams effectively work together to translate research into therapeutic applications.” Rasmussen, who played a role in advancing the university-initiatied and industry-developed StrataGraft skin substitute to FDA approval and commercialization, notes that in addition to team-based, successful research proposals under Omnibus IV will require industry partners. The consortium’s Madison-area industry members (many of which have spun out of UW-Madison research) include FluGen, StemPharm, BrainXell, Cellular Logistics, Delve, Stemina, Vascugen, and Data Chat. “Working together,” she says, “we’ll be able to more quickly translate medical innovations, diagnostics and therapeutics, and deliver healthcare advances to those who will benefit from them.” To learn more about the consortium or about how you can get involved, contact Rasmussen, firstname.lastname@example.org.