September  2015 E-News Wrap-up from the Georgia Research Alliance

Metro Atlanta's start-up scene is catching fire

Government data and anecdotal evidence indicate that entrepreneurial activity is on the rise in metro Atlanta, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. The growing experience of local venture capitalists and the launch of the GRA Venture Fund are a couple of factors fueling the launch of more start-ups, staff writer Michael Kanell reports. The region's research universities are another driving force, as evidenced by Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center. • Read the article >

Georgia's universities report
big gains in research funding

Early numbers this fall show that Georgia's research universities continue to be powerful magnets for attracting external grants to advance scientific exploration.

Emory University and Georgia State University had record years for research funding in FY2015, and The University of Georgia reported a 7 percent increase in Federal and private investment in research. (Numbers at other universities have yet to be reported.)

For the first time, Georgia State topped the $100 million mark in research funding; a 21 percent increase in grants drove the university's total to $101 million for the year.

Emory received a record $572 million for research, marking the sixth consecutive year that the university has exceeded $500 million in a single year. More than half of Emory's FY15 research dollars came from the National Institutes of Health.

UGA attracted just under $155 million for research programs, an amount driven in part by health-related grants and private foundation investment.

• More about Georgia State's FY15 research funding >
• More about Emory's FY15 research funding >

Emory-led team gets $15M grant to further study

A research team led by Emory University will continue its pioneering approach to improving how people respond to vaccines, thanks to a $15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The "systems vaccinology" approach — launched by the lab of Bali Pulendran — mixes immunology, genomics and bioinformatics to predict the effectiveness of a vaccine without exposing individuals to infection. GRA Eminent Scholar Rafi Ahmed, who directs the Emory Vaccine Center, is the co-principal investigator with Pulendarn. • More on the grant >

Video: Multi-year study seeks to ID cause of diabetes

How did Type 1 diabetes become such a national scourge? Why are so many children and adults handed a life sentence of insulin injections? The answer lies in genetics and environment. Augusta University's Jin-Xiong She is undertaking a massive study – one that ultimately will span decades – to examining both genetics and environment. Some 9,000 children who have a gene that places them at risk for Type 1 diabetes are enrolled in the study in seven countries around the world. All are being carefully monitored until the age of 15. • Watch GRA's 'Breakthrough' video >
 

Clearside enrolls 50th patient for novel treatment

Clearside Biomedical reached a milestone in September by enrolling its 50th patient for treatment of disease in hard-to-reach areas of the eye. The company, which received early investment from GRA Ventures and GRA Venture Fund, has developed a micro-injection platform to reach a narrow space in the back of the eye that has previously been inaccessible. An estimated 5 million people in the U.S. suffer from eye disease that would benefit from Clearside's treatment without bringing side effects. • More >
 
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