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CTRI-Supported Investigator Harbert Receives Hartwell Biomedical Research Award for Newborn Brain Activity Project

Mary Jo Harbert, MD

April 30, 2014 – Mary Jo Harbert, MD, who received support last year from UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) through the Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) program, has received the 2013 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award.

The Hartwell award provides support to Harbert, an assistant clinical professor at UC San Diego's Department of Neurosciences, for her research project, "Brain Activity During Birth for Prediction of Newborns at Risk for Brain Injury." As one of 11 recipients of this Hartwell award she will receive research support for three years of $100,000.

Last year, she shared the inaugural CTRI GEM award with UC San Diego Bioengineering Professor Todd P. Coleman, PhD, to develop a platform for minimally obtrusive monitoring of brain function of newborns using epidermal electronics technology. Also called "tattoo electronics," this technology consists of thin electric circuitry that is transferable to the skin with a temporary tattoo. The GEM project was titled, "Epidermal Electronic Monitoring of Neonates with Brain Injury."

Harbert is the director of the neonatal neurology service, which serves newborns with or at risk for brain injury in the neonatal intensive care units at Rady Children's Hospital, UCSD Hillcrest, and Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns. This service is one of five of its kind in the United States. She also co-directs the UCSD Center for Perinatal Health within the Institute of Engineering in Medicine. Her research interests include the development of non-invasive methods of assessing newborn brain function, perinatal stroke treatments and outcomes, therapeutic hypothermia, and neonatal seizures.

Harbert received an MD from the University of Washington School of Medicine, followed by a residency at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York and a fellowship at UC San Diego. She then went on to University of California San Francisco for subspecialty training in neonatal neurology.

The GEM program is an initiative to bring engineers and clinicians together to develop innovative technologies that can be applied to solving challenging problems in medical care. It is a collaboration between CTRI and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, and is being facilitated by the Division of Innovation and Industry Research in the office of the UCSD Vice Chancellor of Research.

The primary mission of The Hartwell Foundation is to grant awards to individuals for innovative and cutting-edge biomedical applied research that will potentially benefit children.

About UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute:

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium, led by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Science. Established in 2010, ACTRI provides infrastructure and support for basic, translational and clinical research throughout the San Diego region to bring discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside, and facilitates training and education of the next generation of researchers. ACTRI carries out its activities in collaboration with institutional and corporate partners and currently has more than 1,500 members.