University of Virginia Health System researchers were announced yesterday as winners of the $25,000 PI NanoInnovation Grant from PI (Physik Instrumente) LP for their discovery of a way to transfer genes into diseased inner ear tissue to possibly cure genetic or acquired hearing loss. Andrea Lelli, Eric A. Stauffer and Jeffrey R. Holt of the Department of Neuroscience, University of Virginia Medical School in Charlottesville, Va., won for their submission, "A Fast Mechanical Nanostimulator 2007 PI NanoInnovation Grant winners Andrea Lelli, Eric A Stauffer and Jeffrey R. Holt. to Study Sensory Transduction and Amplification in the Inner Ear." Runners-up were: "Maskless Optical Lithography Below the Diffraction Limit and Outside of the Near-Field Spectroscopy," submitted by Peter RH Stark, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; and "Scanning Sideview AFM: Simultaneous Atomic Force Microscopy and Sideview Imaging for Studies of Cell Mechanics," submitted by Ovijit Chaudhuri and Sapun H. Parekh, Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley. The PI NanoInnovation Grant, created by Auburn, Mass.-based nanopositioning and precision motion-control equipment maker PI, is an annual program to support research related to nanotechnology, optics and biotechnology in the US and Canada.