Endobronchial Optical Coherence Tomography Wins BEAR Cage Competition

Sreyankar Nandy, MD
Sreyankar Nandy, PhD

Sreyankar Nandy, PhD, presented the winning concept in the Building Education to Advance Research (BEAR) Cage competition on Monday afternoon at the ATS 2023 International Conference. Dr. Nandy, instructor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, pitched endobronchial optical coherence tomography (OCT) for the early microscopic diagnosis and monitoring of interstitial lung disease to the panel of judges.

“There’s a need for early microscopic diagnosis for ILD,” Dr. Nandy said. “High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) has some resolution limitations, so we need to rely on invasive biopsies. Bronchial OCT is a high-resolution, noninvasive imaging technology that has the potential to replace biopsies to provide an early microscopic diagnosis in patients who are non-diagnostic on HRCT.”

The “Shark Tank”-style live pitch session allowed early-career professionals to share their highly innovative, human-focused research proposals with veterans of translational science in the areas of academia, industry, and government. Contestants also answered questions from the audience about their projects.

“This is a Shark Tank atmosphere, but I found it very enriching,” Dr. Nandy said. “All the questions were very specific and very pertinent — a very engrossing experience. This BEAR Cage funding goes right into the development of the methods I’m developing and toward future research.”

Ananth Charya, MD, MS
Ananth Charya, MD, MS
Marco Almeda, MD
Marco Almeda, MD

As the first-place winner, Dr. Nandy will receive $10,000. The two runners-up — Marco Almeda, MD, and Ananth Charya, MD, MS — will each receive $2,500 for their proposals.

Dr. Almeda presented “A novel technology for measurement of pediatric aspiration.” He is a fellow in pediatric pulmonology and sleep medicine at the Riley Hospital for Children and IU Associated Hospitals.

Dr. Charya presented the “PERsonalized Monitoring of Immunosuppression in Transplantation (PERMIT) Study.” He is an assistant professor of transplant pulmonology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

BEAR Cage prize money is not grant funding, and how the funds are spent is at the winners’ discretion.

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