Archive for February, 2012

Georgia CORE launches website providing comprehensive information about cancer care

Georgia CORE, the Center for Oncology Research and Education, has launched an integrated real-time web site for cancer patients and their families that provides current information on cancer treatments, doctors, centers and resources throughout the state. is the first and only comprehensive source of information on Georgia-based cancer care. As a content distribution partner of the National Cancer Institute and with timely updates on all things related to cancer treatments and resources in Georgia, the site provides patients with reliable and up-to-date answers to their questions.

February 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

GRA names first Eminent Scholar in nanomedicine

Younan Xia, an internationally recognized leader in the field of nanotechnology, recently joined the Georgia Institute of Technology as the first Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Eminent Scholar in Nanomedicine.

Dr. Xia is the Brock Family Chair and GRA Eminent Scholar in Nanomedicine in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, with a joint appointment in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.   His research focuses on nanocrystals — a novel class of materials with features smaller than 100 nanometers — as well as the development of innovative technologies enabled by nanocrystals.  One nanometer is equal to one billionth of a meter.  These technologies span the fields of molecular imaging, early cancer diagnosis, targeted drug delivery, biomaterials, regenerative medicine, and catalysis.  

“The possible applications of nanotechnology in medicine have only begun to be explored,” said GRA’s President and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance.  “Dr. Xia’s expertise and collaborative vision will lead to vital new scientific discoveries that can be transformed into new tools to help people live healthier lives.”

Dr. Xia is an international leader in the synthesis of nanomaterials designed to improve the way we live.  He has been ranked as one of the top 10 chemists in the world, as well as the 2nd most cited scientist in the fields of nanomedicine and materials science.

“Dr. Xia is a world-renowned teacher and leader at the forefront of nanomedicine and materials science,” said Larry McIntire, the Wallace H. Coulter Chair of Biomedical Engineering. “His reputation and innovative research in these areas will clearly strengthen our expanding efforts in nanomedicine and biomaterials. We are honored to welcome him to the Department and to the Institute.”

Regents’ Professor and Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry Charles Liotta said, “Dr. Xia is an outstanding addition to our faculty in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  His research in nanomedicine and biomaterials lies at the interface between chemistry and engineering and fits in so well with the interdisciplinary culture at Georgia Tech.  Dr. Xia’s presence will clearly enhance our efforts in these critical research areas.”     

Dr. Xia received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Harvard University (with Professor George M. Whitesides) in 1996, his M.S. in inorganic chemistry from University of Pennsylvania (with the late Professor Alan G. MacDiarmid, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2000) in 1993.  He has received a number of prestigious awards, including AIMBE Fellow (2011), MRS Fellow (2009 ), NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2006), Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award (2005), Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar (2002), David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (2000), Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000), NSF Early Career Development Award (2000) and the ACS Victor K. LaMer Award (1999).

February 24, 2012 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

GRA offers new commercialization seed award

The recently announced GRA VentureLab Commercialization Seed Award (CSA) is a new feature of GRA VentureLab. The Award is designed to identify university technologies with commercial potential and move them into the commercialization process.

The CSA is open to full-time research faculty and faculty of the professorial ranks (assistant, associate, or full) of all four- year academic institutions in the state of Georgia and to full-time scientists of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who are based in Georgia.

Selection automatically enters the recipient in the VentureLab milestone-based program, and entitles the recipient to a Phase I VentureLab award of up to $50,000. Successful completion of the Phase I milestone(s) qualifies the project for receipt of a Phase II award of up to $100,000. The 1 to 1 cash matching requirement normally required for Phase II VentureLab projects will be waived for the selected recipient.

Application deadline is April 5, 2012.  To download CSA application materials, go to

February 24, 2012 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

UGA launches Obesity Initiative

More than 65 percent of adults in the state of Georgia are overweight or obese, and 40 percent of children are overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The steady increase of overweight infants – under 11 months old – also is cause for alarm.

The related health consequences and costs are equally staggering. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers, costing the state an estimated $2.4 billion annually – the equivalent of $250 per Georgian each year – in direct health care costs and lost productivity from disease, disability and death, according to the CDC. People who are obese have average annual medical expenses more than $1,400 higher than those who aren’t overweight.

To address this problem, the University of Georgia has brought together more than 100 faculty from a variety of disciplines to form the Obesity Initiative.  Through the initiative, launched in January, researchers will develop programs that can be implemented in Georgia communities.  GRA Eminent Scholar Clifton Baile is leading the initiative.  According to Baile, more and more obese children are being treated for diseases usually found in adults, such as Type 2 diabetes.  “It’s not a good way to start life,” Baile said.

February 23, 2012 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Clearside Biomedical completes Series A financing

With an investment from the GRA Venture Fund, LLC, Clearside Biomedical has completed its Series A financing.  The company, which got its start through GRA VentureLab grants, is developing microinjection technology that uses hollow needles to target therapeutics precisely within the eye.  Based on a collaboration of researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory, the technology has the potential to provide an improved method for treating diseases that affect the back of the eye, including age-related macular degeneration.  North Carolina-based Hatteras Discovery Fund also invested $4 million in Clearside.

Read more here about the technology, its development and potential  or visit Clearside Biomedical’s website.

February 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

GRA Eminent Scholar Barbara Boyan elected to NAE membership

The National Academy of Engineering today announced that GRA Eminent Scholar Barbara Boyan has been elected to membership for her work in engineering implant technologies for bone and cartilage repair.  Boyan is the Price Gilbert Chair in Tissue Engineering and associate dean for research in the Georgia Tech College of Engineering.

Election to NAE membership is considered one of the highest professional honors accorded an engineer. Members have distinguished themselves in business and academic management, in technical positions, as university faculty, and as leaders in government and private engineering organizations.

Boyan is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Mechanical and Biological Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the International Team for Implantology.

February 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

Immunology expert becomes newest GRA Eminent Scholar

Ignacio Sanz, MD, an internationally renowned immunologist, has been named Emory’s 13th Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and director of Emory’s Kathleen B. and Mason I. Lowance Center for Human Immunology.  He also will be director of the Division of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine, a professor of medicine and pediatrics in Emory University School of Medicine, and he will be named the Mason I. Lowance, MD chair in human immunology.

Emory also has named Sanz a distinguished faculty awardee. He will assume his new roles beginning April 1.

“We are delighted that Dr. Sanz has been jointly recruited to the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics,” says Barbara Stoll, MD, George W. Brumley, Jr. Chair in Pediatrics and Chair of the Department. “His research focus will build on strengths in the School of Medicine in both immunology and rheumatology and underscores the importance of the continuum of pediatric to adult disease and health care.”

Sanz has a specific expertise in autoimmune B-cell diseases with a special focus on systemic lupus erythematosus.

“Dr. Sanz’s vision for the Lowance Center for Human Immunology is to create a multidisciplinary, broad-based, synergistic center that will work to collaborate with other internationally recognized programs with excellence in human immunology at Emory, such as the Emory Vaccine Center and the Emory Transplant Center,” says Department of Medicine Chair Wayne Alexander, MD, PhD, the R. Bruce Logue Chair in Cardiology.

“The mission is to create a center at Emory that will rival the country’s best, and further enhance our position as an international leader in basic and clinical immunology.”

Sanz joins Emory after 15 years at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where he served as professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology; division chief of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology; director of the Rochester Autoimmunity Center of Excellence; director of the Rochester Center for Biodefense of Immunocompromised Populations; director of the University of Rochester Center for Translational Immunology and Infectious Diseases; and chair of the Integrated Disease Program in Immunology and Infectious Diseases.

“Dr. Sanz’s recruitment furthers Georgia’s reputation as a leader in unlocking the power of the immune system to prevent and treat an array of diseases and conditions, including autoimmune diseases, HIV/AIDS and influenza,” says C. Michael Cassidy, President and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance. “His vision for the Lowance Center will also drive important collaborations among Georgia’s research universities.”

According to Paul Spearman, MD, Chief Research Officer for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics, and the Nahmias-Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Pediatrics, “Dr. Sanz’s groundbreaking research into B cell biology and mechanisms of autoimmunity will be a magnet for new research projects relevant to a number of childhood diseases. This line of investigation will make a large impact here in Atlanta and will ultimately improve the lives of children around the world.”

Sanz completed his medical degree at University of Santander Medical School in Santander, Spain, and his internal medicine residency at National Center for Biomedical Investigation-Hospital Puerta de Hierro, in Madrid, Spain. He completed an immunology fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and was a fellow in rheumatology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He joined the University of Texas Health Science Center as an assistant professor of Medicine and Cellular and Structural Biology and became an associate professor in 1995.

To view Emory News Release, click here>

February 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm Leave a comment

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