Dr. Metin Uz, Assistant Professor in Chemical & Biomedical Engineering and a Consultant Staff in Biomedical Engineering at Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, was recently awarded new NIDDK/NIH Stephen I. Katz Early-Stage Investigator Research Project Grant-R01 providing $2,339,409 in funding over five years to advance his lab's research. This funding will support his investigations on an innovatively engineered biodegradable and implantable device platform enabling local, wireless, and postoperative mechanoelectrical stimulation of the pelvic floor tissues. Dr. Uz’s research program was initially supported by internal funding from Cleveland State University with startup funds and from Faculty Research and Development (FRD) Program.
Dr. Metin Uz, has focused his research on developing biodegradable and implantable flexible electronic and piezoelectric platforms enabling wireless electrical stimulation of injured pelvic floor tissues to address stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
SUI, the most common subtype of urinary incontinence (UI), is a significant health problem in the U.S. and worldwide affecting millions of women. Approximately 30 million U.S. women experience SUI, adversely affecting their quality of life by causing loss of self-confidence, social isolation, anxiety, depression, deterioration in sexual life and decrease in physical activity.
Severe damage to the pelvic floor tissues and muscles can be observed because of the compression, stretching, tearing, or crushing that occurs during vaginal delivery. These events may result in pudendal nerve (PN) entrapment and injury resulting in downregulation of regenerative cytokines/neurotrophins subsequently followed by denervation of the external urethral sphincter (EUS), the striated muscle of the urethra, leading to SUI development.
Dr . Uz is planning to represent a fundamentally new and distinct change in research direction by seeking to apply his newly proposed device platform in the animal model of PN damage mimicking human SUI conditions to make a scientifically and clinically important impact in Urology field, a completely new discipline for Dr. Uz. For this purpose, Dr. Uz teamed up with very well-known researchers with complementary expertise in their respective field of research. In this project, Dr. Uz will be collaborating with Dr. Margot Damaser (pictured right) from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute who has extensive experience in studying urinary incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction along with in vivo models of SUI and Dr. John Rogers (pictured left below) from Northwestern who is an expert in implantable devices and neurostimulation and who was also invited to speak for last years’ annual Bell Lecture presented by the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Department at Cleveland State.
In the long term, the successful completion of this project will introduce a novel device platform that can be synergistically combined with Kegel exercises to provide local mechanoelectrical stimulation upon rehabilitative Kegel movements to promote PN regeneration and reinnervation to treat SUI in women. The Stephen I. Katz Early-Stage Investigator Research Project Grant will allow Dr. Uz an introduction to the Urology field and bring his innovative technology and engineering perspective to generate new paradigms, significantly impacting the field and its clinical practice.
About CSU and the Washkewicz College of Engineering
Cleveland State University is a public institution located in Cleveland, Ohio. The university has an enrollment of more than 16,000 students in programs at the baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is currently awaiting reaffirmation of accreditation. Washkewicz College of Engineering offers graduate and undergraduate program. The undergraduate programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) (http://www.abet.org). This year, the College will celebrate its Centennial Anniversary. To learn more about the College, please visit: engineering.csuohio.edu.