DOD awards $1.3M to develop next-gen trauma care device

MANHASSET, NY – Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Assistant Professor Chunyan Li, PhD, has received a $1.3 million research award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to develop a novel field resuscitation technology through trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS), a field of bioelectronic medicine.

The “Foundational Research for Autonomous, Unmanned, and Robotics Development of Medical Technologies” (FORwARD) award from the DOD aims at developing state-of-the-art technologies to dramatically advance first responder trauma care.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and hemorrhagic shock (HS) are the leading causes of trauma-related death in the military — the majority of deaths occur before patients reach the hospital. Intravenous fluid therapy remains the cornerstone of the initial treatment of TBI and HS. Unfortunately, especially in battlefield conditions, immediate resuscitation is not usually practical and delays in getting the injured soldier definitive care may result in prolonged hypotension, coagulopathy, hypothermia, sepsis and therefore increased mortality.

“There is clearly a need for technologies that could provide early resuscitation, before definitive care becomes available,” said Dr. Li. “This could protect vulnerable organs and tissues, especially the brain, allowing soldiers to better survive the initial post-injury period.”

Dr. Li will use the FORwARD research grant to develop a novel non-invasive closed-loop trigeminal nerve stimulation system designed to extend the survival time before reaching definitive trauma care by ‘turbo charging’ the body’s own protective mechanisms after TBI and acute blood loss. By developing a pre-hospital field resuscitation approach, it may help pave the way to improve survival time and long-term survival outcomes for U.S. soldiers. Once proven, the same technology could be applied to the civilian setting.

Dr. Li’s research is part of the work that the Feinstein Institute is conducting in the emerging field of bioelectronic medicine. Bioelectronic medicine combines neuroscience, molecular biology and bioengineering to tap into the nervous system to treat disease and injury without the use of pharmaceuticals.

“Dr. Li’s research is creating an advanced technology to treat injury,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute. “This latest DOD award has potentially significant implications for patients with TBI on the battlefield and in a civilian setting.”

About the Feinstein Institute

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the Feinstein Institute includes 4,000 researchers and staff who are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit

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