Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection Receives $1.29 Million from the U.S. Department of Defense for Research on Military Apparel

Philadelphia University has received an additional $1.29 million from the U.S. Department of Defense, for a total of $9 million over six years to research, develop and test chemically protective clothing for military personnel through its Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection (LEHP).

“The Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection is making important contributions to society through studies that result in the development of advanced textile structures in protective apparel worn by the military,” said David Brookstein, Sc.D., dean of the School of Engineering and Textiles, who will assume the new position of executive dean for university research July 1. “This latest grant will contribute in a significant way to those efforts and to building on the University’s extensive expertise in these critical engineering and scientific fields.”

Working with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center, researchers at LEHP are creating garments to protect American servicemen and women against battlefield hazards and which are also sufficiently comfortable to wear for the periods of time required by their missions.

This is a significant challenge because increasing the protective features against chemical warfare adds to the weight of the garment and also the extent to which it must encapsulate the body. LEHP’s highly specialized designs must offer both protection from chemical toxins and also prevent the wearer from becoming overheated during the stress of battle.

“Philadelphia University is a worldwide leader in cutting-edge textiles research,” said President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D. “Furthering the research conducted at the Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection will advance the development of the best possible protective apparel and garments for U.S. soldiers. It also will help to intensify our Strategic Plan initiative to advance applied research across the University and further our impact globally.”

In May, Philadelphia University received $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce to support innovative research in biomedical textile devices at the University’s Biomedical Textile Structures Laboratory (BTSL). The laboratory, which was established in October 2009, was initially funded with $1 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Researchers at the BTSL, working with medical researchers from the College of Medicine at Drexel University, are focusing on the development, testing and support of basic research in biomedical textile devices using a variety of nanofiber platforms and applications. Initially, researchers are working to develop a cardiac patch that would be used with stem cells to regenerate heart tissue.

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