Archive for May, 2011
Armed with a $1.6 million grant form the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GRA Eminent Scholar Steve Stice at the University of Georgia is leading a team of researchers in developing a new technology to breed chickens resistant to Newcastle virus. The highly-contagious virus spreads disease in poultry, with potentially devastating economic impact.
The new technology — called cellular adaptive resistance — uses stem cells to create disease resistance. According to Stice, the potential of the technology extends beyond poultry to other livestock. “We want to provide a new way to create animals with natural resistance to specific diseases,” Stice said. “Disease and death in livestock are serious problems, particularly in underdeveloped countries.”
Stice will work with UGA colleagues Franklin West and Robert Beckstead as well as Claudio Alfonso, a researcher at the USDA Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens.
Earlier this week, the Georgia Research Alliance brought together young scientists from the labs of six GRA Eminent Scholars and challenged them to develop a joint research proposal. The idea for the session came from the Eminent Scholars, who see great potential in building collaborations early. The group of 15 from the labs of GRA Eminent Scholars Barbara Boyan (Georgia Tech), Julia Hilliard (GSU). Guido Silvestri (Emory), Jeff Skolnick (Georgia Tech), Andrew Mellor (GHSU) and Eberhard Voit (Georgia Tech) worked together for a day and half to produce the first stages of a proposal which will be refined over the next several months. GRA will provide seed funding to carry out the research.
Feedback from the participants emphasized the value of broadening perspectives beyond their own research and the challenge of gaining consensus from a large group in a small amount of time.
Pin Drop, a startup which provides a reliable and robust Caller-ID alternative to secure phone transactions, is the winner of the 2011 Business Launch Competition. The company will take home $50,000 cash prize and some $200,ooo in donated services.
Selecting the winner was an all-star panel of venture capitalists and investors from across the nation including Bob Bozeman, General Partner, Angel Investors, LP – San Francisco, CA; John Glushik, Investment Team, Intersouth Partners – Durham, NC; Wayne Hunter, Managing Partner, Harbert Management Corporation – Birmingham, AL; Allen Moseley, Partner, Noro-Moseley Partners – Atlanta, GA; Tripp Rackley, Senior Vice President, Qualcomm – Atlanta, GA; Ron Verni, former CEO of Sage Software.
Now in its sixth year, the GRA/TAG Business Launch Competition supports Georgia’s startup community by helping local entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Since its founding, the contest has become one of the largest of its kind in the nation, providing a total of $450,000 in cash and more than $1,000,000 in donated services and mentoring more 130 Georgia entrepreneurs.
Georgia State University President Mark Becker has announced the appointment of GRA’s 63rd Eminent Scholar, Dr. George Wang. Dr. Wang is a world-renowned chemical biologist who focuses on glycoscience, which investigates carbohydrates in chemical, biological, agricultural and bioengineering systems. He works with carbohydrate-based vaccines, drugs, and immunotherapies. Previously at The Ohio State University, where he held a similar eminent scholar title, Dr. Wang has a major research interest in translational medicine.
At GSU, Dr. Wang and his research team will be part of the new Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics. Read more here>
Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Ying Xu at the University of Georgia and colleagues have identified that certain proteins excreted in urine can indicate the presence of gastric cancer — the #2 cancer killer in the world.
Using a small set of samples (21 from healthy people and 21 from stomach cancer patients), the researchers determined the healthy people should have the protein (endothelial lipase) in their urine. They are expanding their gastric cancer study to a larger sample and hope that in the future, the detection of abnomally abundant proteins in urine will lead to diagnosis of many types of cancer and other diseases. Read more>
Four GRA VentureLab companies are among the nine startups that will be featured this afternoon (May 9) as graduates of the Advanced Technology Development Center, Georgia Tech’s business incubator. Being recognized during the annual ATDC Startup Showcase are:
Iconic Therapeutics (treatments for macular degeneration)
Medshape Solutions (materials for orthopedic repairs)
Sentrinsic (sensing and control products for industrial fluid management)
Velocity Medical Solutions (software products to plan and assess cancer treatment)
The Showcase begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center.
Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Ralph Tripp at the University of Georgia will lead a new research effort to improve vaccine technology to eradicate polio. The global health and development project is a winner of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) initiative.
GCE funds projects worldwide to explore ideas that “can break the mold” in how persistent global health and development challenges are addressed. Tripp’s collaborators for the project are Thermo Fisher Scientific, a global scientific products and services company headquartered in Waltham, MA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more>