Texas Health Catalyst Funds Tunnell & Collaborator for Skin Cancer Innovation

Texas Health Catalyst has awarded funding to Professor James Tunnell and his collaborator, Dr. Jason Reichenberg, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Dermatology at the Seton Healthcare Family.

They will receive up to $100,000 to accomplish key milestones for their collaboration in developing a new technology to measure the effectiveness of surgical interventions in skin cancer removal. If successful they hope to reduce the need for repeat surgeries and improve cosmetic outcomes for patients.

photo of James Tunnell

   James Tunnell

Texas Health Catalyst is a program of the Dell Medical School in collaboration with the Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences, College of Pharmacy, and Office of Technology Commercialization that aims to identify, guide, and support promising translational research at UT Austin.

Texas Health Catalyst received an initial group of 33 applications in July, after which eight were identified as finalists. Tunnell and Reichenberg were among the top three finalist teams to receive funding to move closer to the goal of developing products and technologies to improve health.

photo of Jason Reichenberg

  Jason Reichenberg


Tunnell and Reichenberg have collaborated since 2008. They received a SXSW Interactive Award in 2015 for a noninvasive skin cancer detection device, roughly the size of a pen, which combines three ways of using light to provide a faster, more accurate screening tool. For every one case of skin cancer detected, 25 negative biopsies are performed, translating to $6 billion to the U.S. health care system each year. The award-winning device reduces the number and cost of negative biopsies and is currently beginning pre-clinical trials.