Nov/Dec  2015 E-News Wrap-up from the Georgia Research Alliance

NIH grant to GSU aims to delay or prevent diabetes

A team of Georgia State University biologists will explore the effects of diabetes on cardiovascular disease  — work that they believe will shed new light on possible therapies to stop or slow diabetes. Working with a $2.4 million grant from The National Institutes of Health, GRA Eminent Scholar Ming-Hui Zou and colleague Zhonglin Xie will build on earlier findings on how the damaged mitochondria in the body harms the heart in people with Type 2 diabetes. Their new research will investigate how removing the mitochondria will preserve the viability of cells that factor into the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The research will be conducted through Georgia State's Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine. • Learn more about GSU's big grant >

From research to revenue:
New beginnings worth noting 

Two different ceremonies this fall illustrated the life cycle of scientific discovery in Georgia — and how it ultimately grows the economy and benefits humankind.

A wooded area near the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center was the scene of one ceremony, as dignitaries joined University of Georgia officials Dec. 1 in breaking ground on a new Center for Molecular Medicine at UGA.

GRA Eminent Scholar Stephen Dalton is director of the center, and the new $25 million facility will house teams of researchers exploring the causes of human disease at the cellular level.

The day before, officials from the global medical technology firm Varian were joined by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and Georgia Dept. of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr in cutting the ribbon on the company's new East Coast headquarters in Marietta.

Varian chose Georgia after acquiring Velocity Medical, a medical imaging technology company launched out of Emory University with the early-stage support of GRA.

"While very different occasions, these two events signify the competitive advantage Georgia can have in scientific exploration and business growth," said GRA President and CEO Michael Cassidy. "By expanding our research capacity, as we're doing with the new UGA center, and making the right investments in newly launched companies like Velocity, Georgia has much to gain."
   • Read more about UGA's new research center >
   • See coverage of the Varian East Coast HQ opening >

BST receives funding to expand use of weight-reading technology

Technology developed to determine instantly the weight of livestock will be re-purposed to monitor the growth of infants in developing nations, thanks to a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The technology — marketed as WeightReader® by Body Surface Translations, Inc. — will help detect stunting in children during their first three years of life. The early detection of low weight can lead to early corrective action. Faculty from Emory University will help validate the adaptation of the technology in clinical studies. • View GRA's "2-Minute Breakthrough" video on the technology >

Eminent Scholars convene at GRA's annual academy

"Collaboration" was the watchword at this year's Academy of GRA Eminent Scholars, held in Atlanta Nov. 19. The eight scholars recruited to Georgia universities in the last 18 months briefed colleagues on their scientific exploration, and two other sessions featured scientific updates from teams of scholars. The sharing of knowledge furthered discussions of how scientists from GRA's member universities might work together on projects of joint interest and parallel expertise. A panel discussion of entrepreneurial leaders added new ideas on how the most promising inventions and discoveries could be brought to market. • See Facebook slideshow of the 2015 Academy >

Foundation adds fizz to marketing more innovation

How might university scientists in Georgia think and plan differently about bringing discoveries from lab to life? That question is at the heart of a $125,000 grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation to GRA. The funds will enable the GRA Ventures program to enhance its efforts to connect university scientists and entrepreneurial students with seasoned industry experts. Among the activities to be supported by the grant: Educational workshops on launching a new company and more mentoring of scientists on how to reach key milestones in a startup venture. GRA Ventures program is focused on the entire state, particularly areas around Athens, Atlanta, Augusta and Macon. • More >
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