Archive for March, 2010

Damballa Receives $820K Investment from GRA Venture Fund LLC

Damballa, a GRA VentureLab graduate, today announced that it has completed its Series C financing with an investment from the GRA Venture Fund LLC.  The Atlanta-based network security company’s platform technology, developed in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, can detect and terminate security threats that evade traditional security solutions.

“Organizations need look no further than recent attacks on some of the largest and most technically-sophisticated companies in the world to understand the severity of ‘botnet” and other remote-control criminal threats and the damage they can cause,” said Damballa CEO Val Rahmani.  “This investment will bolster the industry’s only true anti-botnet solution.”

The GRA Venture Fund LLC is a private investment fund created to help finance companies that have emerged from the Georgia Research Alliance VentureLab commercialization program.  The GRA VentureLab process identifies and helps to refine commercially-viable technologies developed in the labs of the Georgia’s research universities.

March 30, 2010 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

Suniva, Inc. earns top rankings from The Wall Street Journal

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.

March 23, 2010 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

Dr. Ricardo Azziz named President of Medical College of Georgia

Dr. Ricardo Azziz

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has named Dr. Ricardo Azziz, a physician/scientist/executive with more than 20 years of leadership in biomedical research, medical education and health care, as the eighth president of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG).

“Dr. Azziz stood out from the rest of what was an impressive pool of candidates in this search,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Susan Herbst. “His credentials are outstanding. We feel he is the best person for the job.”

Regent James A Bishop, chair of the Special Regents’ Committee for the presidential search at MCG, added that the committee is extremely confident in the ability of Azziz to lead the institution as it expands its capacity to educate healthcare professionals to meet state needs.

Azziz holds the endowed Helping Hand of Los Angeles Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology and has served as professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Center for Androgen-Related Research and Discovery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) in Los Angeles since 2002. At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), he has served as professor and vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and professor of medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine since 2002, deputy director of the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute and assistant dean for clinical and translational sciences since 2008.    Read more …

March 16, 2010 at 10:00 am 2 comments

UGA’s new nano-bio clean room opens

Sara Orski, graduate student in chemistry, peers into the thermal evaporator, which will vaporize a tiny amount of gold and deposit it onto a wafer in a layer just 1 to 2 nanometers thick.

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.

March 9, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Collaboration Roundtable draws 250+ researchers

Our first event of 2010 to foster new collaborations, the Georgia Research Alliance/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/CDC Foundation Collaboration Roundtable, drew more than 250 scientists from throughout Georgia to the CDC on February 26. 

Launched three years ago as part of the GRA Next-Generation Vaccines and Therapeutics Initiative, the Roundtable brings together scientists from eight Georgia universities and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Together, they explore opportunities to collaborate in early-stage vaccine and therapeutics projects that marshal the immune system to prevent and treat diseases like influenza, cancer, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and malaria.

In its first three years, the Roundtable has generated 40+ new collaborations. 

Abstracts of the posters presented at the 2010 Roundtable are available at

March 2, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment