Archive for January, 2012

GRA names two new Distinguished Investigators

The Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator program is designed to recruit, retain and support scientists who are “rising stars” in their fields of study.  Recently selected for the program are Lance Wells, PhD, at the University of Georgia and Gary Miller, PhD, at Emory University.

Wells focuses his research on key enzymatic processes that play a role in a variety of diseases including cancer, diabetes and congenital muscular dystrophy.  The goal of the research is both accurate description of fundamental biological processes and the identification of novel therapeutic targets.  In addition to his appointment as the GRA Lars G. Ljungdahl Distinguished Investigator, Wells is an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and a Distinguished Cancer Scientist at UGA.

Associate Dean for Research in the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Miller leads an interdisciplinary Parkinson’s disease (PD) research and treatment center.  He is widely recognized for his research on the impact of toxins in PD and has created a unique mouse model of the disease to develop biomarkers of exposure, risk and early disease.  He also is using the mouse model to test whether a novel therapeutic agent can restore function to damaged systems.      Read more about Gary Miller here>

January 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

Expansion of GRA recommended in Georgia Competitiveness Initiative Report

The recently released Georgia Competitiveness Initiative Report includes two recommendations focused on the Georgia Research Alliance:  Continue and expand the state’s support for GRA and include funding for two new GRA Eminent Scholars in the state’s FY2013 budget.

Governor Nathan Deal created the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative shortly after he became Governor to “strengthen the state’s economic development strategy” in order to “attract new jobs, encourage investment, and give existing companies the support they deserve.”  The Initiative focused on six key factors that drive economic development:  business climate,  education and workforce development, innovation, infrastructure, global commerce, and government efficiency.  Input was gathered through an online survey and stakeholder meetings in each of Georgia’s 12 economic development regions.

Chris Cummiskey, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development, and Chris Clark, President of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, co-chaired the Initiative.   Read the complete report here>

January 26, 2012 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

Georgia Research Alliance and Georgia Cancer Coalition merge

The Georgia Research Alliance Board of Trustee has voted to bring the Georgia Cancer Coalition(GCC)  under the GRA umbrella through a merger agreement.  The merger is part of a larger effort to align Georgia’s economic development assets.  Since its launch in 2001, GCC has sparked new discovery through its Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists; promoted cancer prevention and education through six regional cancer coalitions; coordinated the development of a statewide tissue and tumor bank; and expanded access to clinical trials through it partner organization, Georgia CORE.  For more on the history of GCC, follow this link.

January 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

Now’s the time: Georgia Income Tax Check Off for Cancer Research

As Georgians file their tax returns, they will be able to support cancer research and prevention simply by writing in a contribution of $1 or more on the Georgia Cancer Research Fund line of their tax return.  The contribution goes toward a small grants programs administered through the Georgia Cancer Coalition, an initiative of the Georgia Research Alliance.  The amount of the contribution is taken from any refund or added to any amount owed.  Since its launch in 2000, the “check off” programs has raised $3 million for cancer research and prevention projects, with some 71 projects funded across the state.  For more about the program, click here.

January 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm Leave a comment

GRA VentureLab company Clearside Biomedical gets $4 million venture capital investment

Atlanta-based startup, Clearside Biomedical, garnered an $4 million venture capital investment that will help advance its technology through the safety and efficacy clinical trials necessary to gain FDA approval.  Based on technology developed by researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University, the company is working on microinjection technology that will use hollow needles to precisely target therapeutics within the eye.

“We expect that targeting drug delivery within the eye will be helpful because we should be able to concentrate drugs at the disease sites where they need to act, and keep them away from other locations,” said Georgia Tech’s Mark Prausnitz, one of the collaborators on the project. “This could reduce side effects and possibly also decrease the dose required.”  Prausnitz’s collaborator at Emory is Henry Edelhauser.

Between two and three million eye injections are made each year, many of them to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The researchers believe that the microneedle-based technique could be useful for treating both AMD and glaucoma, as well as other ocular conditions related to diabetes. 

In addition to grants through the GRA VentureLab program to advance the company’s microinjection technology, the basic research on which the company was founded received support from the Georgia Research Alliance in securing funding from the National Institutes of Health.  Read more here>

January 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm Leave a comment