Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) at the University of California San Diego

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How are your funded grants doing?

UC San Diego has built an ecosystem where grant recipients are in a early startup accelerator.

Have your seed investments done this?

Case Study #1

Curescendo: measure blood pressure via ultrasonic skin patch

Highlights: Nature – One of 12 finalists for The Spinoff Prize 2020.

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New seed funding of over $1M from Welcome Trust, NIH, 3M and U54.

Case Study #2

Vektor Medical: non-invasive tool to detect ventricular fibrillation

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5 year NIH funding over $3M.

Just completed successful Series A funding.
Case Study #3

Veocor Diagnostics: AI-tech that analyzes echocardiogram to identify stroke risk

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Over $640K in funding from American Heart Association, U54 and Medtronic.

GEM Leadership

Andrew McCulloch

Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine and Director of the IEM

Gary Firestein

Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research, and Director of the ACTRI

Shu Chien

Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine and Director of the IEM, Emeritus

Deborah Spector

Distinguished Professor of Cell and Molecular Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy

What makes UC San Diego so special?

We have an ecosystem built for success with a go-to-market strategy.


University of California system rank #1 in the world for international patent application.


UC San Diego is second in the University of California system for highest number of US patents.


Top University of California campus for the number of companies started.


Get in on the ground floor of a UC San Diego startup?

Let’s talk about how you can help.


What is Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine?

Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) is a collaboration between UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) in the Jacobs School of Engineering. GEM is currently running the eighth round of competitions to identify clinical challenges for which engineering solutions can be developed and implemented.

Who does GEM fund?

GEM invites teams that include at least one Clinically Active UCSD Faculty Member and one Engineering Faculty Member to submit a proposal.

When does GEM give grants?

GEM holds an yearly competition to award several teams an amount in the range of $30,000 – $60,000 for one year.

How does GEM award grants?

GEM looks for projects that solves a specific medical challenge or unmet need that presents an opportunity for innovation involving an engineering solution to improve patient care. Healthcare improvement may be achieved through innovation in disease prevention, diagnosis, monitoring and/or treatment. In the grant application, the team should describe in detail the engineering technology that will be developed to solve the problem.

What has been the ROI?

The program has been very successful. The projects have been multi-disciplinary and require a commitment to team science. Accumulating data (as of July 2019) show high ROI based on:

  • Grants Awarded – 12X return on investment.
  • Publications and Presentations at Conferences – 243.
  • Patents Filed – 32.
  • Start-up Companies – 8.
  • Multiple new collaborations between engineers, clinical faculty, and industry.
Why should you get involved at UCSD?
  • The University of California system is ranked #1 in the world for international patent applications.
  • Partner with one of the top campuses for generating new companies.
  • Receive additional benefits such as feedback and project direction, marketing ideas and strategic decisions from top scientists and engineers.