Delaware Bioscience Center awarded 12 grants in 2017

The Delaware Biotechnology Institute a partnership of government, academia and industry to promote the biosciences awarded twelve research grants worth $800,000 to researchers in 2017.

The Applied Research Collaborations or Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept grants support partnerships between research institutions and Delaware companies, with the goal of encouraging new business ventures and economic development in the state.

“Support from Governor John Carney and the Delaware General Assembly has enabled the Delaware Bioscience CAT grants to expand and build a strong pipeline for innovative, collaborative and entrepreneurial projects in the state of Delaware,” said John Koh, interim director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. “These projects foster a bidirectional exchange of ideas between business and academic researchers that together synthesize products or innovations that result in job creation and economic growth for our state.”

The University of Delaware, where the institute is based, drew the lion’s share of funding.

“We would love to see more activity outside of the University,” said Alok Patel, associate director of external relations for the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. “The issue is that, in reality, a large percentage of the research happening in Delaware does happen out of the University of Delaware.”

The following projects received grants:

• Erin Bernberg, Associate Scientist at the University of Delaware, will collaborate with Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB) to develop and test plant-made Avian Influenza vaccine for chickens.

• Wei-Jun Cai, Professor of Marine Science and Policy at the University of Delaware, will work with Apollo SciTech, LLC to improve the precision, cost, and analysis time of Apollo’s newly developed analytical instrument used by marine researchers around the world and agencies like the EPA and NOAA.

• Joseph Fox, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Delaware, will work with Affinity Research Chemicals and LiteCure LLC to develop medicine which can help repair joints in the body.

• Nancy Getchell, Professor of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology at the University of Delaware, will collaborate with mTrigger, LLC to measure the effectiveness of a biofeedback device used to help rehabilitate stroke patients.

• Bertrand Hankoua, Professor of Human Ecology at Delaware State University, will work with William Chain, Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Delaware, and Fraunhofer USA CMB to produce a low cost and accessible plant-based treatment for Malaria.

• Xinqiao Jia, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Delaware, will collaborate with Prelude Therapeutics Incorporated to engineer 3D prostate cancer models to reliably test new anticancer medicines.

• Megan Killian, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware, will work with LiteCure LLC to research effects of laser therapy on young athletes recovering from tendon injuries.

• Eric Kmiec, Director of the Gene Editing Institute at Christiana Care Health Services, will work with Analytical Biological Services, Inc. to create genetically engineered cells lines to develop new pharmaceutical drugs.

• Yuriy Markushin, Assistant Professor of Physics and Engineering at Delaware State University, is planning to use EPoC funds to develop a low-cost and technically simple test to diagnose diseases in dogs.

• Dennis McIntosh, Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Extension Specialist- Aquaculture at Delaware State University, will work with Sea Watch International, Ltd. to research if byproducts from food processing plants can be used in commercial aquafeed diets.

• Babatunde Ogunnaike, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, will work with Air Liquide to develop a systems-engineering model to test diagnosis and treatments of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

• John Slater, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware, is planning to use EPoC funds to develop a new therapeutic approach to stopping cancer metastasis.

Another round of grants will be available in 2018. Proposals are due by April 2. More information is available at www.cat.dbi.udel.edu.

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