January 2017 Notes from the Georgia Research Alliance
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Analysis: Group of Eminent Scholars made major impact

Attracting top scientific talent to Georgia can bring an extraordinary return on investment, according to a new analysis from GRA. The study showed that the 12 GRA Eminent Scholars recruited in 2015-16 alone account for $137 million in competitive (non-state) research grants and the employment of 125 researchers. Five of the Scholars share why they chose to leave their jobs and relocate their research operations to a Georgia university. • Download an overview of the analysis >  • Get a snapshot of GRA's triple impact >

Spinal fusion innovator Vertera continues its rapid rise with GRA Ventures' support

A Georgia Tech-launched startup marketing a spinal fusion device is catching the attention of doctors and investors. Vertera — which this month received a Phase III loan from GRA Ventures — has developed a cervical device, COHERE (above), that mimics the physical properties of bone. Made from an engineered biomaterial that is both porous and strong, COHERE is the first device of its kind approved by the FDA. The technology was named one of the “10 best new spine technologies for 2016” by Orthopedics This Week, and company co-founder Allen Chang was also named to Forbes' "30 Under 30" list for 2017. • More on Vertera >   • Read an interview with CEO Chris Lee >

UGA startup's unique 'far red' lighting system makes indoor agriculture more viable 

Indoor farming has been touted as the future answer to food shortages, but it has its challenges, one of them being suitable lighting. However, a team out of the University of Georgia has found an answer to this challenge for some indoor crops — they’re using red light at the far end of the spectrum. The “far red” light enables the plants to convert light energy into chemical energy more efficiently. An article on profiles the launch of PhytoSynthetix, a company launched by UGA’s Erico Mattos and Ryan Hunt that’s now marketing supplemental far red lighting systems. The new technology allows controlled environment agriculturalists to save money and add precision to indoor farm lighting. • Read the article >

GRA has high profile at annual industry event

People and organizations with strong ties to GRA were prominent among the “Life Science Luminaries” celebrated at Georgia Bio’s annual dinner this month. GRA Eminent Scholar Steve Stice of UGA received the Industry Growth Award as did Tiffany Wilson, who heads the Global Center for Medical Innovation. GRA Ventures companies Axion BioSystems and Clearside Biomedical were two of the five “Deal of the Year” recipients. And GRA itself was honored alongside Georgia Tech (as co-recipients of the Phoenix Award) for developing the National Cell Manufacturing Consortium. • See all of Georgia Bio’s 2017 luminaries >

Magazine spotlights pioneering work of
GRA Eminent Scholar 40 years ago

If you’ve ever wondered how your Blu-Ray player or smartphone came to be part of everyday life, wonder no more. A discovery 40 years ago by GRA Eminent Scholar Russell Dupuis of Georgia Tech brought the process that’s still used today to manufacture the compound semiconductors in those and many other devices. An article in Georgia Tech Engineers magazine chronicles how Dupuis built a reactor out of spare parts to grow semiconductors using elements from areas of III-V in the Periodic Table. The discovery forever changed the mass production of electronics. • Read the article >

Discovery: Gene produces schizophrenic-like symptoms after mutations in mice

Symptoms like those of the reality-altering disorder schizophrenia can result from mutations in a gene, Augusta University scientists have found. The gene, TMEM108, enables memories and a sense of direction. But by reducing the amount of protein it expresses in mice, scientists interrupted communications among neurons, which brought schizophrenia-like behaviors as well as problems with direction and memory. GRA Eminent Scholar Lin Mei co-authored the research study in the journal PNAS. Above: Lin Mei (right) with Nanchang University’s Dr. Hui-Feng Jiao •  More on the findings >
Copyright © 2017 Georgia Research Alliance, All rights reserved.

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