Guy Genin, the Harold and Kathleen Faught Professor of Mechanical Engineering and a pioneer in the translation of mechanobiology into improved devices and techniques, has been awarded the Savio L-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The Savio L-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal, established in 2015, recognizes an individual who has successfully brought meritorious bioengineering research into clinical practice. Genin earned the award for game-changing innovations in surgical catheters and image analysis, as well as for his leadership in research, education and mentoring. 

Genin has spent decades uncovering the ways that plants and animals manipulate forces, fluids and flows. He has collaborated broadly with students and colleagues at the Washington University School of Medicine including Eric Leuthardt, MD, the Shi Hui Huang Professor of Neurosurgery; Joshua Osbun, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery, of radiology and of neurology; and Mohamed Zayed, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery and of radiology, all at Washington University School of Medicine, to translate these natural design principles into transformative solutions for vascular surgery challenges. Much of Genin’s effort has focused on saving lives threatened by deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism – the obstruction of blood vessels by migrating blood clots. Building on his studies of natural sequestered systems, Genin and his team pioneered a biomimetic catheter that can safely isolate clots within the body and evacuate them. This technology promises to prevent the most dangerous complications of chemical clot treatments. It was recently licensed by Washington University to Genin’s startup company, CaeliVascular Inc., which has received a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for its Spectrum thrombectomy system.

In addition to DVT interventions, Genin and his team have also confronted navigation difficulties that frequently hinder delivery of clot-removing and neuroprotective therapies for ischemic stroke patients. By dissecting the physics of catheter mechanics, his team revealed that failures often trace to spontaneous bifurcation events in tortuous anatomies. Genin and his team leveraged this insight to create an innovative catheter whose stiffness can change dynamically during insertion through the vasculature. This device mimics the versatility of plant tendrils navigating branches and obstacles. Early bench studies and simulations suggest that this catheter can overcome these challenges to reduce the likelihood of navigation errors during surgery. Genin is chief technology officer for Inflexion Vascular LLC, which will prepare this Washington University-owned technology for regulatory review and commercialization. 

Genin is a faculty member in the departments of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering and in the Department of Neurosurgery in the School of Medicine. He is Thousand Talents Plan Professor of Life Sciences at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua. Genin co-directs the Center for Engineering MechanoBiology, funded by the National Science Foundation and housed at Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania, with several other satellite locations. He is also chief engineer for the university's Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology; a co-director of the CardioVascular Research Innovation in Surgery and Engineering Center, funded by NIH; and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the National Academy of Inventors.

Savio Woo is distinguished university professor and founding director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Woo is renowned for his more than 50 years of translational research in healing, repair and regeneration of tissues. Woo is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering and the Academia Sinica, and is former chair of the ASME Bioengineering Division.

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