NY Cap Research Alliance Announces Grants to Fund Biomedical Research
Funding provides platform to develop new businesses, jobs for Capital Region
From left, UAlbany researchers and grant recipients Sridar Chittur, JoEllen Welsh, Paul Agris, Marlene Belfort, Nadine Hempel and Melinda Larsen. (Photo Mark Schmidt)
ALBANY, N.Y. (October 3, 2012) -- A newly created alliance to foster biomedical research among the Capital Region's leading academic research institutions today announced its first grants: 10 awards totaling $745,000.
The presidents of the institutions presented the awards, funded through the NY Cap Research Alliance, which was established with $950,000 in state funds as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative.
Presidents James J. Barba of Albany Medical Center, Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and George M. Philip of the University at Albany formed the Research Alliance. The Alliance is a first-round Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) priority project. Each research project selected by the Alliance involves collaboration among scientists from at least two of the three institutions to advance biomedical research with potential for commercialization.
"We have long recognized the complementary nature of research underway at our campuses and the clear potential to enhance the competitiveness for federal and private funding by combining talents. These grants are the first step toward demonstrating what we can accomplish together, and eventually will provide the platform to receive additional funding, develop new businesses and create more jobs within our region," said Mr. Barba, noting that the Alliance has plans to increase membership beyond the founding institutions.
UAlbany is partnering with Albany Medical Center and RPI to form the NY Cap Research Alliance, a partnership to bolster biomedical research in the Capital Region.
There were 33 applications for seed project funding in response to a request for proposals from the Alliance; they were ranked by an independent scientific evaluation organization and met the criteria, including the requirement that research involve investigators from two or more of the founding institutions.
"Biomedical research targets the cures for disease. Breakthroughs can have tremendous human and economic impact locally, nationally and globally," said Dr. Jackson, who serves as the Co-chair of the Capital Region Economic Development Council. "By combining our strengths, focusing our resources and leveraging our assets, the NY Cap Research Alliance will accelerate the potential for scientific discoveries and innovations in health care, and expedite their pathway into the marketplace. This is an important investment in the region’s health and economic future."
"Public-private partnerships have been identified as a key element to advancing the missions of the State University system," said Mr. Philip. "I am proud that our campus can provide such a strong example."
"Strengthening our Economic Ecosystem is a primary goal of our region’s strategic roadmap, and the Research Alliance is a perfect example of a central theme within the plan—collaboration," said Michael J. Castellana, President and CEO of SEFCU and CREDC Co-chair. "While job creation is important to our region, this initiative will advance research that will help to improve health care, reduce costs and potentially save lives," Castellana added.
The projects to be funded focus on many of today's most pressing health challenges, such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer, and investigating other neurodegenerative diseases and regenerative medicine.
$85,000 to pursue a new drug for the prevention of neuropathic pain. This project brings together the expertise of researchers Philip Albrecht, Ph.D., and Frank Rice, Ph.D., from Albany Medical College, and Sridar Chittur, Ph.D., from UAlbany.
$85,000 to pursue novel treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease. This project brings together the expertise of researchers Peter Tessier, Ph.D., from Rensselaer; Ewan McNay, Ph.D., from UAlbany; and Earl Zimmerman, M.D., from Albany Medical College.
$85,000 to pursue a fast and effective way to diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease and differentiate it from other forms of dementia. This project brings together the expertise of researchers Igor Lednev, Ph.D., from UAlbany, and Earl Zimmerman, M.D., from Albany Medical College.
$85,000 for specialized tissue engineering. This project brings together the expertise of researchers Peter Vincent, Ph.D., from Albany Medical College, and Guohao Dai, Ph.D., from Rensselaer.
$80,000 to develop a sensor for the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease. This project brings together the expertise of researchers Paul Agris, Ph.D., Marlene Belfort, Ph.D., and Hua Shi, Ph.D., all from UAlbany; Georges Belfort, Ph.D., from Rensselaer; and Earl Zimmerman, M.D., from Albany Medical College.
$75,000 to develop smart bandages for healing wounds. This project brings together the expertise of researchers Shiva Prasad Kotha, Ph.D., from Rensselaer, and Nadine Hempel, Ph.D., from UAlbany.
$75,000 to develop a novel implantable sensor for use in orthopedics and neurosurgery. This project brings together the expertise of researchers Eric Ledet, Ph.D., and Kenneth Connor, Ph.D., both from Rensselaer; Richard Uhl, M.D., and Darryl DiRisio, M.D., both from Albany Medical College: and Nathaniel Cady, Ph.D., from UAlbany.
$75,000 to pursue specialized tissue engineering. This project brings together the expertise of researchers Melinda Larsen, Ph.D., from UAlbany; Livingston Van De Water, Ph.D., from Albany Medical College; and David Corr, Ph.D., from Rensselaer.
$50,000 to develop sensors to differentiate forms of prostate cancer. This project brings together the expertise of researchers Martin Tenniswood, Ph.D., from UAlbany; Jeffrey Ross, M.D., and Hugh Fisher, M.D., both from Albany Medical College.
$50,000 to develop a method to control colon cancer through use of vitamins. This project brings together the expertise of researchers JoEllen Welsh, Ph.D., from UAlbany, and Timothy Sellati, Ph.D., from Albany Medical College.
Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. The Capital Region was awarded $62.7 million in state support through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative and CFA process for some 88 projects across the region. The NY Cap Research Alliance was awarded $950,000 from Empire State Development (ESD) as part of that process.
"The creation of the NY Cap Research Alliance is exactly the type of project Governor Cuomo envisioned the Regional Council initiative would spur—a community based, collaborative effort that will grow business and create jobs in one of the region’s emerging industries," said ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "I applaud the Council for its support of this innovative project and the participants, who have successfully leveraged state resources to form a partnership that will no doubt provide for new economic opportunity in the Capital Region as a 21st century high-tech leader."
About NY Cap Research Alliance: The NY Cap Research Alliance was established in 2012 by Albany Medical Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University at Albany with a $950,000 grant as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative. Created to foster biomedical research among the Capital Region’s leading academic research institutions, the Alliance is a first-round Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) priority project. It is designed to spur economic growth, formalize existing collaboration and foster additional cooperation among numerous biomedical research entities located in New York’s Capital Region to attract notable biomedical research talent to the region; leverage research-related investments and increase the amount of supported biomedical research underway in the region; identify opportunities for development of products as a result of research, and secure seed funding for their commercialization; encourage development of businesses producing biomedical interventions and devices; bring new opportunity to the region and create new jobs in a sector that can be expected to continue to grow.
About Albany Medical Center: Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 651-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region’s largest physicians practice with 350 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region’s health and quality of life.
About Rensselaer: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation’s oldest technological research university. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of fields, with particular emphasis in biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and the media arts and technology. The Institute is well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.