Texas Instruments Gift Leads to New Biomedical Device Center
Researchers to Collaborate on Technologies to Treat Chronic Neurological Diseases

An investment of $13 million from two donors and matching funds from The University of Texas System Board of Regents will result in the establishment of a new center that will develop medical devices and therapies to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic neurological diseases.

The lead gift of $3 million from Texas Instruments triggered a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor, and both gifts generated a $5 million match from the Board of Regents through the University of Texas System Research Incentive Program.

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From left: TI Workforce & Education Director Arturo Sanchez, TI Chief Citizenship Officer Trisha Cunningham, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, TI Analog Technology Development Manager of Research Allen Bowling, Chief Technology Officer for TI’s High Volume Linear Products Bill Krenik, and UT Dallas President David E. Daniel.

The Texas Biomedical Device Center will be a collaborative effort engaging researchers from multiple disciplines working toward a common goal: creating new biomedical technology and therapies. This interdisciplinary program includes faculty members from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, and the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The center will play an especially important role in helping to launch the University’s new Department of Bioengineering, itself a highly interdisciplinary, multi-institution initiative centered in the Jonsson School, and one of the University’s highest priorities as it continues to grow and to expand its educational and research missions.

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The center will also facilitate interactions among UT Dallas faculty members and clinicians at North Texas medical facilities including UT Southwestern, as well as corporations to create new biomedical devices and therapies addressing a wide range of medical conditions.

“The center will serve as a catalyst for North Texas industry by creating new biomedical technologies and producing more highly skilled graduates for this critical and rapidly growing field,” said Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the UT System. “As a physician, I can tell you that the opportunities are almost limitless for improving human health through the development of biomedical devices and technologies.”

Cigarroa announced the gifts on March 29th as part of the public launch for “Realize the Vision: The Campaign for Tier One and Beyond,” a five-year, $200 million fundraising campaign.

“The creation of this center is a wonderful example of how the capital campaign will advance UT Dallas, as it brings together the thinkers, supporters, and expertise needed for world class excellence,” he said.

It was TI’s gift that generated the matching funds that will help rapidly launch the center.

“At Texas Instruments, we are interested in partnering and investing in universities that are looking to engineer change and make an impact in the world,” said Trisha Cunningham, chief citizenship officer at TI. “We believe UT Dallas and this new center are committed to this.

“We’re glad that UT Dallas could leverage our gift with matching funds for even greater return on our investment. Three million dollars turned into $13 million, and we think that’s only the beginning. The University is working hard to find other opportunities to leverage that gift and expand its engineering expertise in a whole new direction,” she said.

Neural engineer Dr. Robert Rennaker, associate professor of electrical engineering and neuroscience at UT Dallas, has been appointed by President David E. Daniel to serve as interim director of the center. He will work with Texas Instruments and other corporate advisors to develop the center’s research agenda while also seeking additional private support.

Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa

UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa announced the gifts that will be used to establish the biomedical center.

“Funding for medical devices at early stages is hard to find,” Rennaker said. “The center will provide the oversight, engineering support and funds needed to get these ideas off the ground. Once they’re off the ground, we will oversee the clinical trial testing and commercialization to ensure the devices get to the people who need them.”

Rennaker noted that a large percent of all chronic medical conditions are associated with the brain so “having a focus on neurological devices is the best use of our time and resources,” he said.

Current technologies and therapies being developed target conditions such as chronic pain, tinnitus, multiple sclerosis, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, speech disorders and stroke.

“We know that technology can be life-changing,” Cunningham of TI said. “We don’t know what those innovations are going to be, but we do know that technology is going to be the basis of that, and we know that UT Dallas is going to be able to help leverage that to change lives.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].