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

Only days left 
to register for historic summit

All are welcome to attend a bioethics summit in downtown Atlanta May 17-19 that is drawing delegates from 30 of the world's top biotechnology-producing nations. Participants in the BEINGS 2015 summit will venture beyond discussion and begin work on ethical guidelines and policy standards around issues in cellular biotechnology. The Coca-Cola Company and Emory University are presenting sponsors and many other organizations are helping to support the event. Paul Root Wolpe, who heads the Emory University Center for Ethics, founded the summit.  • Learn more and register >

Expert in metabolomics named 
newest GRA Eminent Scholar

A leader in a scientific field that explores how molecules sustain life is joining The University of Georgia as the state’s newest GRA Eminent Scholar.

Arthur S. Edison is an accomplished researcher in metabolomics, which studies small molecules called metabolites that are central to all life forms. Metabolites facilitate communication among cells and organs, convert food into energy and serve as building blocks for DNA and proteins. Advancing knowledge of metabolomics, a fast-growing field of study, will help reveal new answers to the complexities of human health.

At UGA, Edison will direct the highly sophisticated Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) facility, which houses a powerful NMR spectrometer that provides atomic-level chemical views of substances. Edison’s expertise includes the specialized use of NMR spectroscopy in research, and in his career, he has developed ways to improve the technology itself.

Edison joins UGA from the University of Florida, where he was instrumental in launching the Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics, an initiative funded through a $9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

GRA was a key investor in UGA’s NMR technology as well as the university’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, a world-class research enterprise housing the lab.

More on Art Edison >

More on metabolomics >

UGA team works to sequence the dogwood genome 

“Appalachian Spring” was more than a famous musical composition by Aaron Copeland — it’s also the name of an immensely popular dogwood tree. Now, GRA Eminent Scholar C. J. Tsai and colleagues at the University of Georgia are working to sequence the genome of the tree for the first time, a feat that will help horticulturalists develop hardier and more beautiful dogwoods. In April, the National Science Foundation announced a $1.4 million grant to support the Dogwood Genome Project, and to help inform the effort, scientists are asking dogwood lovers and citizen researchers to track seasonal changes in the tree throughout the year. Appalachian Spring and other varieties of dogwoods are a $343 million market in the U.S. • More >

GRA backs new design studio at Tech Square

Newly launched companies often need to develop and refine prototypes and physical models — but they lack the space and equipment to do so. Thus, GRA has invested nearly $200,000 to help equip a new design studio at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). GRA’s investment covered the purchase of 3D printers, stereo microscope, a CAD workstation and array of other technologies and tools. Located at Tech Square in Midtown Atlanta, the studio is open to ATDC Select companies as well as a limited number of other startups in the community. “The design studio will provide Georgia’s newest manufacturing companies with the tools to create and build products of the future,” says GRA President and CEO Michael Cassidy. “ • More >

Startups with GRA investment make 'top' lists

Several companies launched out of university labs with investment from GRA and GRA Venture Fund, LLC made news this month for their growth and development. Three GRA Venture Fund companies ranked in the top 20 of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s list of 25 biggest venture capital deals of 2014: Clearside Biomedical (ranked no. 7), Damballa (11) and Soneter (20). Two GRA Ventures-backed companies also made the roster: Iconic Therapeutics (ranked no. 10) and Qcept Technologies (25). Also this month, the Chronicle released its list of “100 Fastest-Growing Companies,” and it included Lancope (35), Urjanet (42) and Axion Biosystems (71).
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(available to Chronicle subscribers)
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