About the PPDC and the PMD Launchpad

The Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium (PPDC) is a collaboration sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration. The PPDC connects Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, based at the University of Pittsburgh.

The PMD Launchpad, the home for the PPDC’s resources and services, represents the collaborative efforts of the PPDC with the FDA’s Pediatric Device Consortia program that has sites located across the United States. Leveraging our collective expertise in the fields of pediatrics, medical device development, and biomedical engineering, our goal is to advance the development and accessibility of medical devices for the pediatric patient population. Below are the PPDC members who actively play an integral role in making the PMD Launchpad an important source of information and resources to address your interests in the pediatric medical device field.

The PPDC also has a dedicated Leadership Team, as well as an Oversight Committee of pediatric medical device industry experts and a Clinical & Scientific Advisory Committee.

Dr. Levy is the William J. Rashkind endowed chair in pediatric cardiology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He has appointments as professor of pharmacology and professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Levy is also section chief for research in the Division of Cardiology at CHOP. He serves as the Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium’s principal investigator and as chair of its Clinical and Scientific Advisory Committee. He has experience extending over three decades in device development, relating to both pediatric and adult clinical indications. His NIH-funded research has led to 38 issued U.S. patents. These patents have been the basis of extensive licensing activities, including four clinically used bioprosthetic heart valves developed by St. Jude Medical, Inc. For the past 20 years, Dr. Levy has been the director of the NHLBI’s Research Training Program in Pediatric Cardiology at CHOP, and he has completed a four-year term as a standing member of the NHLBI Training Grant Study Section. Dr. Levy provides specific expertise concerning all aspects of pediatric medical device development, preclinical testing, and the regulatory approval process.

Dr. Wagner is a Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Chemical Engineering, and Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He also is co-chair of the Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium’s Clinical and Scientific Advisory Committee. He serves as scientific director of the NSF Engineering Research Center on “Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials” and as chief science officer for the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. He holds a B.S. (Johns Hopkins Univ.) and Ph.D. (Univ. of Texas) in chemical engineering. Professor Wagner is the founding editor and editor-in-chief of one of the leading biomaterials journals, Acta Biomaterialia. He is past president of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO) and past chairman and current council member of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS), Americas region. He is a fellow and former vice president of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and has also been elected a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering, TERMIS, and the American Heart Association. In 2006, he was selected to the “Scientific American 50,” the magazine’s annual list recognizing leaders in science and technology from the research, business, and policy fields. His research has generated numerous patents and patent filings that have resulted in licensing activity; the formation of a company that began clinical trials in 2014; and University of Pittsburgh Innovator Awards in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2014. In recent years, he has been awarded the Society for Biomaterials Clemson Award for Applied Research, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award by the University of Pittsburgh, and the Senior Investigator Award by TERMIS-Americas. In 2017, he was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors, and in 2018, he was named Inventor of the Year by the Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Law Association. Dr. Wagner’s research interests are in cardiovascular engineering, with projects that address medical device biocompatibility and design, biomaterial development, and tissue engineering.

Mr. Patrick Cantini is a member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh’s Executive Management team and serves as its strategy and business development officer, focusing on conceptualizing and formulating strategic initiatives that result in short- and long-term growth of the Institute. This includes the development of innovative programs and activities to expedite technology translation; identifying and securing key community, government, and industry alliances on a regional, national, and global level; assessing the regenerative medicine field to identify emerging trends; improving project/program efficiencies; and recommending new initiatives to grow the McGowan Institute. Mr. Cantini is also the project manager at the Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium’s Pittsburgh office and additionally serves as a managing principal for the Wound Research Alliance (WRA). The WRA is a “clinical accelerator,” moving wound healing research into clinical practice, and Mr. Cantini is responsible for programmatically facilitating the end-to-end process for the Alliance’s clinical research partnerships and programs. He also serves on the Alliance’s Executive Management Team and provides strategic oversight for business development.

Dr. Stachelek is a research associate professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His areas of expertise are biomaterials, biocompatibility, and the inflammatory response to medical devices. He serves as a co-investigator for the Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium and is a member of its Clinical & Scientific Advisory Committee, which reviews all of the pediatric device ideas submitted to the Consortium for evaluation.

Mr. Dienstman is a research engineer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the project manager at the Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium (PPDC) at its Philadelphia office. He holds a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Drexel University with a concentration in biomechanics. Prior to joining CHOP and the PPDC, he was a technical investment analyst for the University City Science Center, assisting with the management of the QED Proof-of-Concept Award. Mr. Dienstman also held positions as an operations quality engineer at Animas Corporation and as a clinical supply chain strategist at Janssen R&D.


The PMD Launchpad welcomes ideas and content from the various stakeholders throughout the pediatric device space.  If you would like to help us grow the content on the site, or if you have new ideas to help grow the site, please contact us.  Below are people who have contributed to the content of the PMD Launchpad.

Dr. Hunter is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine.  During his Fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Hunter was instrumental in the development of the PMD Launchpad site.