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Awards partner life science researchers with industries

By: Krishna Ramanujan,  Cornell Chronicle
November 19, 2017

Reducing antibiotic resistance in animals and developing a lubricating formula in joints for people suffering from arthritis are two of seven projects that received Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) annual grants.

Since 1983, the one-year grants support biotechnology research that shows market potential. The grants are given to faculty in such life sciences fields as biomedical engineering, agriculture, human and veterinary medicine, medicine and pharmacology who partner with a New York state industry for biotechnology research and product development.

The 2017-18 grants started on July 1, with a total of $347,437 in direct funds from the Empire State Development's Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and $433,498 in matching funds provided by industry partners.

“The CAT program has tremendous value to Cornell researchers who have an interest in commercialization and entrepreneurship,” said Jocelyn Rose, director of the Institute of Biotechnology, which houses CAT. “This comes not only in the form of financial support, through these CAT grants, but also by helping identify industrial partners and fostering new collaborations.”

This year’s projects:

  • Improving animal health and productivity by mitigating antibiotic resistance, Rodrigo Bicalho, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, with Bactana Animal Health in Ithaca, New York.
  • A point-of-care diagnostic device for folate status in the blood for women of childbearing age, David Erickson, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Julia Finkelstein, Division of Nutritional Sciences, with VitaScan in Ithaca, New York.
  • Development of a lubricating formula for joints in people with osteoarthritis, Brett Fors, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, with Dynamic Boundaries in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Diagnostic test for early mastitis in dairy cows, Daryl Nydam and Anja Sipka, both of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, with Acumen Detection in Syracuse, New York.
  • Bone-binding polymers to relieve bone-on-bone pain in severe osteoarthritis, David Putnam, Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering/Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, and Lawrence Bonassar, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering/Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, with Articulate Biomedical in Ithaca.
  • Tissue culture platform for regenerative medicine and diagnostic screening, Jason Spector, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine, and CorSolutions in Ithaca.
  • Student internship and industry partnership, Debra Moesch, Entrepreneurship at Cornell, multiple company partners across New York state. This summer internship program provides benefits to students and companies.

The CAT program, supported by NYSTAR, has funded more than 1,000 projects over 30 years and has helped launch, on average, eight to 10 companies per year. Seed funding also has increased the number of viable companies that eventually qualify for occupancy at the McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences, Cornell’s on-campus business incubator, which opened in 2011.

Cornell researchers Nathan Sutter and Adam Boyko, both in the College of Veterinary Medicine, received a CAT grant in 2012, which eventually led to a dog DNA kit product and the founding of Embark, a company that recently graduated from the McGovern Center.

The next deadline for CAT project proposals is March 19, 2018.

This story also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle

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