Posts filed under ‘Centers of Research Excellence’
Pediatric Nanomedicine Center joins 13 others as part of the Emory-Children’s Pediatric Research Center
Combining the medical expertise of Emory with the engineering focus of Georgia Tech and the clinical skills of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta physicians, the new Center for Pediatric Nanomedicine (CPN) will develop targeted, molecular-sized nanoparticles as a unique approach to treating pediatric diseases. CPN is the first of its kind in the world and will focus on pediatric heart disease and thrombosis, infectious diseases, cancer, sickle cell and cystic fibrosis.
“Because nano-scale structures are compatible in size to biomolecules, nanomedicine provides unprecedented opportunities for achieving better control of biological processes and drastic improvements in disease detection, therapy and prevention,” according to Gang Bao, Ph.D., the center’s director. Bao is the Robert A. Milton Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. Read more >
CPN is one of 14 centers and 11 core facilities that make up the multi-faceted Emory-Children’s Pediatric Research Center, a partnership of Emory, Georgia Tech, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Morehouse School of Medicine and the Georgia Research Alliance.
For the second year in a row, Suniva, Inc., a GRA VentureLab company, made the Wall Street Journal’s list of the Top 50 Venture-Backed Companies. To be eligible for the ranking, companies must have received an equity round of financing in the past three years and be valued at less than $1 billion.
Based in metro-Atlanta, Suniva manufactures high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and high-powered solar modules, which consist of Suniva’s core cell technology.
According to the company’s webstie, Suniva is producing the world’s lowest cost, highest cell conversion efficiency commercially available. Suniva is also the only high-efficiency, low-cost silicon cell manufacturer in America, with exports of more than 80% of its production to Europe and Asia.
Suniva evolved from the work of Professor Ajeet Rohatgi of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics (UCEP). A U.S. Department of Energy Center of Excellence since 1992, UCEP has distinguished itself as the premier site for silicon PV research in the U.S., bringing a unique approach of uniting cell modeling, device design, process optimization and materials analysis and characterization.
The Georgia Research Alliance invests in cutting-edge research tools at its partner universities to drive innovative research and development. These laboratory discoveries, in turn, often become the platforms on which new companies are created.
Today, two of those investments — advanced cryo-electron microscopes — were unveiled at Emory University.
One of the microscopes, equipped with phase plate technology, is one of only two such instruments in the United States and just a few in the world. Both instruments use cryo-imaging, which offers layer-by-layer views of a frozen specimen, providing ultra-high-resolution.
The instruments will be located at the Robert P. Apkarian Integrated Electron Microscopy Core (located in Emerson Hall), under the supervision of core director Elizabeth R. Wright, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine and a Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator.
“We are excited about establishing Emory as a center for cryo-electron microscopy and looking forward to making these resources available to investigators at Emory and within the region,” Wright says.
From Emory Health Sciences News
Virus-Mimicking Nanoparticles Can Stimulate Long Lasting Immunity
ATLANTA–Vaccine scientists say their “Holy Grail” is to stimulate immunity that lasts for a lifetime. Live viral vaccines such as the smallpox or yellow fever vaccines provide immune protection that lasts several decades, but despite their success, scientists have remained in the dark as to how they induce such long lasting immunity.
Scientists at the Emory Vaccine Center have designed tiny nanoparticles that resemble viruses in size and immunological composition and that induce lifelong immunity in mice. They designed the particles to mimic the immune-stimulating effects of one of the most successful vaccines ever developed – the yellow fever vaccine. The particles, made of biodegradable polymers, have components that activate two different parts of the innate immune system and can be used interchangeably with material from many different bacteria or viruses.
The results are described in this week’s issue of Nature.
“These results address a long-standing puzzle in vaccinology: how do successful vaccines induce long lasting immunity?” says senior author Bali Pulendran, PhD, Charles Howard Candler professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a researcher at Yerkes National Primate Research Center.
“These particles could provide an instant way to stretch scarce supplies when access to viral material is limited, such as pandemic flu or during an emerging infection. In addition, there are many diseases, such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and dengue, that still lack effective vaccines, where we anticipate that this type of immunity enhancer could play a role.”
The Emory Vaccine Center, established in 1996, is a GRA Center of Research Excellence and is directed by GRA Eminent Scholar Rafi Ahmed.
According to a news release from the Medical College of Georgia, an old Indian spice and a dye whose cousin makes sports drinks blue are pointing scientists toward a better treatment for traumatic brain injuries or TBIs. These injuries are rampant in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, occur on football fields and roadways and result in brain swelling that causes cell damage and symptoms ranging from headaches and confusion to seizures, slurred speech and death.
Vital research like this has been helped by investments from the Georgia Research Alliance in sophisticated research tools and world-renowned scientists who are part of the MCG Institute of Neuroscience. The Institute’s director is GRA Eminent Scholar Robert Yu. Other GRA Eminent Scholars at MCG who focus on the neurosciences are Lin Mei, a neurobiologist who investigates schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, and Joe Tsien, an expert in memory.
For the full TBI story, follow this link.
Parasites that attack the especially vulnerable are subject of new GRA Distinguished Investigator’s research
Boris Striepen’s research can lead to the development of new drugs to treat parasitic diseases
The Universtiy of Georgia today announced that Boris Striepen, who studies AIDS-associated parasites, has been named a Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator. His appointment is part of a GRA initiative to recruit, retain and support top scientists who conduct research in next-generation vaccines and therapeutics.
According to the UGA news release, the parasites that are the focus of Striepen’s research can cause severe disease in infants, small children and individuals with weakened immune symptoms, such as those suffering from AIDS. The Striepen laboratory uses modern genetic approaches to investigate the unique biology of these parasites in an effort to identify specific targets for intervention.
“Boris has been instrumental in developing UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases into one of the world’s premier centers for the study of parasitic diseases of humans, “ said Rick Tarleton, Distinguished Research Professor in the department of cellular biology. “His insights into the metabolism and basic cell biology of apicomplexan parasites that kill millions of people each year are translational and will lead to the development of new drugs. The GRA could not have chosen a more deserving candidate for this honor.”
NASA has awarded $7.6 million to a new joint Emory-Medical College of Georgia center to study how high energy charged particles (a component of radiation) may induce lung cancer.
Ya Wang, professor of radiation oncology at Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Center, will direct the NASA Specialized Center of Research with Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Bill Dynan at Medical College of Georgia serving as associate director.
The information generated by the project is expected to be critical for estimating the risks and establishing countermeasures for cancers associated with long term space travel as well as providing new insights into radiation-caused cancers found on earth.
According to Dr. Dynan, the leading-edge nanomedicine tools at Georgia’s research universities, which allow real-time visualization of particle radiation, were a distinguishing feature in winning the center.
The Wall Street Journal has ranked Suniva, Inc., a GRA VentureLab company, second in the WSJ list of the “Top 10 Venture-Backed, Clean Technology Companies” and fifteenth among the top 50 venture-backed companies in all industries.
Based in Norcross, Georgia, Suniva manufactures high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and modules as a cost-effective alternative to non-renewable fossil fuels. The company grew out of technology developed by Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, company founder and CTO, in the Georgia Tech Center of Excellence for Photovoltaic Research.
The rankings are based on data from Dow Jones VentureSource and reflect companies’ success in raising capital, executive and investor experience, and recent growth in value. “We are honored to be recognized by The Wall Street journal as one of the most successful clean technology companies in the world, and we look forward to remaining at the forefront of the solar industry for years to come,” said John Baumstark, chairman and chief executive of Suniva.
Friday, March 12 marks the official opening of the new “nano-bio” clean room at the University of Georgia. The $2.3 million facility is one of only a handful of such clean rooms in the world where devices engineered at the atomic and molecular level interface with biology. The nanoscience/technology scale is calibrated in nanometers; one nanometer is one-billionth of a meter or about 1/100,000 the width of a human hair.
According to Yiping Zhao, director of UGA’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, “Bio-nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize our ability to predict and diagnose a range of conditions from infectious diseases to cancers and target delivery of therapeutics. It provides opportunities and tools for advances in bioenergy, renewable energy and homeland security.”
The University of Georgia Research Foundation joined with the Georgia Research Alliance in building and equipping the nano-bio clean room. Projects underway in the facility focus on drug discovery, disease diagnosis and therapeutics, food safety and bioenergy. The nano-bio space is co-located with the Georgia BioBusiness Center to allow start-up companies to take advantage of its technology. Project partners include the Savannah River National Lab, Emory University and Georgia Tech, home of the Nanotechnology Research Center, which also includes 10,000 square feet of nano-bio clean room space.