AKRON, OH, February 17, 2009 — The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) today announced recipients of its first-ever Collaborative Research and Development grant program. The inaugural awards, totaling $680,000 for eight grant projects, recognize innovative work across ABIA’s five operating partners – Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General Health System, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM), Summa Health System and The University of Akron – and represent projects focused on patient-centered innovation and commercialization at the intersection of biomaterials and medicine.
In all, 26 teams of researchers submitted grant applications, which were reviewed on the basis of strengths and weaknesses related to significance, investigators, innovation, approach and leverage plan. The thorough review effort, led by Dr. Walter Horton, NEOUCOM Vice President for Research and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, was completed by a panel of 17 individuals in the academic, clinical and industry fields from Ohio and across the nation.
The funded projects will be conducted through ABIA’s Center of Biomaterials and Medicine, which focuses on core strengths in biopolymers, orthopaedics and wound healing to leverage research into high-value clinical applications aimed at accelerating biomedical innovations.
“The Akron region, as well as Northeast Ohio, continues to be on the forefront of biomedical research and treatment thanks to the dedicated work of our academic, medical and research communities,” says Horton. “Through this grant program, the Austen BioInnovation Institute is encouraging the exploration of brilliant ideas and in turn delivering the benefits of discovery to Ohio, its residents and beyond.”
The 2010 grants go to highly promising investigations such as:
- Creation of a new way to monitor blood sugar levels via contact lenses embedded with a device to monitor glucose concentration for early diagnosis and long-term self management
- Development of a biocompatible, composite polymer platform for soft tissue replacement/repair integrated with drug delivery to improve implant function and healing
- Understanding the mechanisms of nerve deformation and injury in the peripheral nervous system and developing a non-invasive method to monitor stress/strain on nerves in surgical operations
- Development of a controlled delivery system of specific inhibitors to decrease the formation of vision-damaging scarring related to glaucoma
- Devising strategies to optimize the use of induced pluripotent stem cells to promote healing in deep wounds
- Development of a special polymer embedded with low levels of stimulating oxidant compounds to improve wound healing in ulcers and other chronic wounds
“We are pleased to announce this next critical step in fulfilling the promise of the Austen BioInnovation Institute to improve the health well-being of our economy and our fellow residents,” says Dr. Frank Douglas, ABIA President and CEO. “By funding such outstanding research projects, we hope to accelerate the development of successful commercial and patient-centered ventures.
“We are extremely grateful for Dr. Horton’s hard work and efforts leading a talented group of reviewers and this fundamental program.”
The 2010 ABIA grant recipients are:
Development of a Polymer Platform for Drug Eluting Prosthetic Devices
Judit E. Puskas, Ph.D., P.E., The University of Akron Steve Schmidt, Ph.D., Summa Health System
Real-Time in situ Sensing of Ulnar Nerve Strain for Injury Prevention and Diagnosis
Zhenhai Xia, Ph.D., The University of Akron Juay Seng Tan, Ph.D., The University of Akron Nina M. Njus, M.D., Summa Health System, Summit Hand Center – Crystal Clinic Inc.
Development of Biomimetic Liquid Crystal Films for Sugar Sensing Contact Lens in Noninvasive Real-Time Diabetic Care
J. Jack Hu, Ph.D., Akron Medvision, The University of Akron Deepak Edward, M.D., Summa-Health System
Controlled Delivery System of ALK-5 Inhibitors for Suppression of Ocular Scarring after Glaucoma Filtration Surgery
Vijaykumar Sutariya, Ph.D., Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy Hiroshi Nakamura, MD, Ph.D., Summa Health System Werner Geldenhuys, Ph.D., Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy
Deep Wound Repair Utilizing Microtubular Scaffolds
Liya Yin, Ph.D., Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy Bi-min Zhang Newby, Ph.D., The University of Akron William M. Chilian, Ph.D., Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy Robert Schweikert, M.D., Akron General Medical Center
Development of Delivery Mechanisms for Liquid Crystalline Pharmaceuticals Using Electrospinning
James M. Jamison, Ph.D., Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, Summa Health System, Kent State University Yang H. Yun, Ph.D., The University of Akron Vivian E.von Gruenigen, M.D., Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, Case Western Reserve University Chun-che Tsai, Ph.D., Kent State University
A Basis for Normal and Abnormal Cartilage Development in Vertebrate Long Bone
William J. Landis, Ph.D., Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy Dennis S. Weiner, M.D., Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron
Mechanically Enhanced, Peptide Crosslinked Poly (ester urea) for Critical Bone Defect Repair
Matthew L Becker, Ph.D., The University of Akron Matthew Graham, Ph.D., Akron Polymer Systems, Inc. John Elias, Ph.D., Akron General Medical Center, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy Kimberly Stakleff, Ph.D., Akron General Medical Center Scott Weiner, M.D., Summa Health System
About the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron
The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron is transforming Akron into a model for biomedical discovery and enterprise. Together, the five operating founders of the Institute – Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General Health System, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM), Summa Health System and The University of Akron – have a world-class reputation in research, education and health. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation joined the operating founders as founding members of the Institute. Through the collaboration of these complementary institutions, the goal of this initiative is to expand Akron’s rich legacy in materials science to pioneer the next generation of life-enhancing and life-saving innovation for the 21st Century. For more information, visit www.abiakron.org.