Grant helps pediatric research take new directions

Development of innovations in drugs and medical devices is largely centered on improving treatment for adults.


A collaboration between Georgia Tech and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, though, aims to develop new therapies for pediatrics. And a new $5 million grant from the Imlay Foundation will support that work.

The grant will fund research at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center.

It will bring physicians’ ideas for a new device or technique to the table for Tech’s engineers to develop, Ron Frieson, president of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation, told GHN in an interview Monday.

Such teamwork already has produced a device that can grasp a tiny vein during pediatric surgery without damaging it, Frieson said.

And Tech and Children’s are working on a coating for tubing that will prevent clotting in a bypass procedure, he said.

“That type of innovation won’t come from drug makers and device manufacturers,’’ Frieson said. But it would be “a godsend for us and all pediatrics.”

Scientists from Emory University will also join the partnership.


The grant from the Imlay Foundation is the largest in its 25-year history.

“It is through generous philanthropy that we are able to foster these alliances that help enhance the lives of children,” Donna Hyland, president and CEO of Children’s Healthcare, said in a statement. “Mary Ellen [Imlay] and her late husband, John, have demonstrated their love and appreciation of Children’s and Georgia Tech in a myriad of ways over the years through their volunteerism, board leadership and philanthropy. This grant furthers their deep commitment to Children’s and Georgia Tech.”

Imlay, a longtime Children’s Foundation trustee, said, “We could not think of a more meaningful way to honor John and further his legacy at both Children’s and his alma mater, Georgia Tech.”


“This generous grant serves as a powerful affirmation of the great partnership between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia Tech,” said Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson. “We continue to collaborate with Children’s in numerous areas and are excited about the potential impact on pediatric medicine.”

Dr. Patrick Frias of Children's Healthcare (left) and M.G. Finn of Georgia Tech join Mary Ellen Imlay at Children’s Pediatric Technology Center.
Dr. Patrick Frias of Children’s Healthcare (left) and M.G. Finn of Georgia Tech join Mary Ellen Imlay at the Children’s Pediatric Technology Center.