The Marathon bombing in 2013 brought tragedy to the city of Boston. However, from the horrific event emerged a unified strength from the Brigham community. One example of such strength and finding good in tragedy is the Stepping Strong Innovator Awards. Supported by the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund that was established by the Reny family following the bombing, the goal of the Innovator Awards is to inspire and fund innovative research addressing well-defined clinical problems in areas related to regeneration, limb transplant, advanced stem cell technology, orthopedic and plastic surgery, bioengineering, rehabilitation and others around trauma care at BWH.

Following a scientific review of the proposals received in response to a BWH-wide call for applications, six finalists have been chosen. In late October through BWH Research Day on Nov. 20, the public will have the opportunity to decide, via an online vote, who will be awarded one of two $100,000 Stepping Strong Innovator Award grants to fund a deserving research project.

Three of the six finalists, from the BWH Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Medicine, have been selected to compete head-to-head in a public competition. The finalists are Matthew Carty, MD, whose project is focused on developing a new surgical approach to lower limb amputation and its alignment with next-generation prosthetics; Edward Caterson, MD, who has created a device that can completely enclose extremity wounds from traumatic blast and burn injuries to optimize treatment conditions; and Indranil Sinha, MD, whose idea involves using a patient’s own stem cells grown in the lab to regenerate muscle tissue.

In addition to the public competition, the remaining three finalists will compete for the second $100,000 grant in a closed-door presentation to a judging panel in December. Finalists for this competition track are George Dyer, MD, BWH Department of Orthopedic Surgery, who aims to develop fully degradable orthopedic rods to promote healthy bone tissue healing; Omid Farokhzad, MD, BWH Department of Anesthesiology, whose goal is to develop nanomedicines to promote bone healing and prevent infection after orthopedic surgery; and Bohdan Pomahac, MD, BWH Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Medicine, who has designed a small, portable device that can provide oxygen and nutrients through severed limbs.

Learn more about the Stepping Strong Innovator Awards.

Learn more about the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund.