Save the date: 2015 TTBD awards, Oct. 19

The Technology Transfer & Business Development (TTBD) awards ceremony is an annual celebration that recognizes OHSU community members for their efforts in licensing, sponsored research, patenting, and entrepreneurship. Mark your calendars for the 2015 TTBD awards ceremony.

Save the date!
Daniel Dorsa & Arthur VandenbarkMonday, Oct. 19
5 to 8 p.m.
Collaborative Life Sciences Building

This event will include:

  • Awards and recognition for OHSU innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Reception with complimentary refreshments
  • Remarks from:
    • Daniel Dorsa, senior vice president for research
    • Jeanette Mladenovic, executive vice president and provost
    • Brendan Rauw, vice president of technology transfer & business development
    • Andrew Watson, director of technology transfer

More information and registration will be coming soon. For questions regarding this event, please contact Karen Boren at borenk@ohsu.edu.

NIH seeks input on 5-year strategic plan

The National Institutes of Health is inviting comments and suggestions on a framework for the NIH-wide Strategic Plan. In response to a request from Congress, NIH is developing a comprehensive 5-year Strategic Plan with input from senior leadership and staff from all 27 Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs). NIH is also calling for contributions from the research community on the proposed framework that identifies priority areas of research and a set of principles to guide the NIH over the coming years.

The Request for Information identifies three priority cross-cutting Areas of Opportunity:
promote fundamental science, improve health promotion and disease prevention, and advance treatments and cures. Related to these areas, information requested includes but is not limited to:

  • Potential benefits, drawbacks/challenges, and areas of consideration for the current framework
  • Compatibility of the framework with the broad scope of the NIH mission
  • Additional concepts in ICO strategic plans that are cross-cutting and should be included in this trans-NIH strategic plan
  • Comprehensive trans-NIH research themes that have not been captured in the Areas of Opportunity that Apply Across Biomedicine
  • Components of the cross-cutting Areas of Opportunity that are not applicable to an NIH-wide Strategic Plan
  • Future opportunities or emerging research needs

This is a time-sensitive request – all comments must be submitted electronically on the submission website by August 16. Read the full RFI for further submission guidelines.

 

Who’s new at OHSU? Maros Ferencik, M.D., Ph.D.

Maros Ferencik, M.D., Ph.D., is a clinical scientist whose research focus is cardiac imaging. He joined the faculty at OHSU in January 2014.

Where are you from originally?
Slovakia. I went through medical school and earned my Ph.D. there.

Where were you before coming to OHSU?
I did my initial medical training in Slovakia for three and half years. During that time, I also spent a year on a research fellowship at the University of Massachusetts. I returned to the U.S. after my training and spent twelve years at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in the Harvard system. I did almost five years of research and my internal residency and cardiology training there.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, Oregon

What brought you to OHSU?
I was looking for new growth opportunities, mostly on the research front, and when I interviewed with Sanjiv Kaul, I realized there was a lot of support here for growing the cardiovascular research program within the Knight Cardiovascular Institute. In addition, my wife is a hematologist oncologist, and she was offered a position here, so that also factored into our decision.

How do you balance your clinical practice with your research?
My goal is to spend three-fourths of my time on research, though that’s not always possible. But my research is clinical research, so it melds together with some of my clinical imaging duties. My research focus is in imaging, primarily cardiac computed tomography (CT) imaging, which I also do as part of my clinical work.

What specific applications of cardiac CT imaging are you exploring?
I would summarize my research focus as exploring the use of cardiac CT for more efficient use in clinical practice to improve our ability to both detect disease and predict future events. As such, I have a few areas of interest. I work closely with colleagues at Mass General and the clinical trial center there on ROMICAT II, a large randomized trial involving people who came to the ER with acute chest pain. In this trial, we are looking at patients with acute presentations and using cardiac CT to better understand their diagnosis as well as prognosis. I also work with another large trial, PROMISE—again using cardiac CT—involving people with stable chest pain who present in an outpatient setting.

Read more…

New eIRB system launches Aug. 5

IRB go liveThe launch of the new and improved eIRB system is right around the corner! The scheduled go live is set for Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. The new eIRB will help us support the rapidly growing research community at OHSU and maintain ahigh standards of compliance as a world class research institution.

Starting Aug. 5, the new eIRB will open for new submissions only. At this time, all current studies will remain in the “old” system. This will allow time for us to ensure a smooth migration of a very large amount of data. Keep your eyes open for announcements on the schedule for full data migration. We will provide as much advance notice as possible for any needed downtime.

Please note that there is currently no scheduled down time for the system to go live on Aug. 5.

Drop-in training sessions will be available in the Lamfrom Biomedical Research Building, room 381, and the Medical Research Building, room 310. Please see the IRB Education site for a schedule of date and times.

Seminar: Model of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, Aug. 3 & 4

If you’re interested in the epidemiological model of HIV/AIDS, this seminar will give you Bershteyn_A_0insight into innovations currently being developed. The seminar will discuss layering detail using individual-based modeling — a strategy to combine HIV biology, behavior, and care-seeking in a unified epidemiological model of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

This event will be led by Anna Bershteyn, Ph.D., senior research manager and associate principal investigator at the Institute for Disease Modeling based in Bellevue, Wash.

Monday, Aug. 3
11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
OHSU West Campus, 1st floor seminar room
Hosted by ONPRC/VGTI

 

Tuesday, Aug. 4
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
School of Nursing, room 122
Hosted by the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health
Lunch will be provided at this event

These seminars are open to the OHSU community. No admission fee or registration is required for either event. For more information, please contact Cara Cooper at coopecar@ohsu.edu.

 

NIMHD seeks input on training in health disparities science

nimhdThe diversity of the U.S. population presents great opportunity but also great challenges. Many populations in America – whether defined by race, ethnicity, immigrant status, disability, sex, gender, or geography – experience higher rates of certain diseases and more deaths and suffering from them compared with the general population. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities leads scientific research to improve the health of these underserved populations.

To that end, NIMHD is working to develop the next generation of health disparities researchers and is seeking input on how to advance and strengthen predoctoral and postdoctoral interdisciplinary training and mentoring programs in health disparities science.

NIMHD invites comments that include, but are not limited, to:

  • Interdisciplinary training, mentorship, and education on methods relevant to health disparities science, including genetics, epidemiology, population science, systems science, health services research, social and behavioral health sciences, public health, environmental science, and other related biological science disciplines for predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows
  • Research training and mentoring on the social determinants of health, and population-based interventions to improve health and reduce or eliminate health disparities
  • Training in innovative research methods and statistical analyses for complex, multifactorial research inquiry relevant to health disparities
  • Graduate curriculum development designed to foster interdisciplinary thinking and research synergy
  • Integrated training and mentoring among scientific disciplines across the translational research continuum
  • Best practices for establishing partnerships and collaborations with researchers, clinicians, public health agencies, communities, institutions and other stakeholders to improve understanding of health disparities and to translate research findings into policy and practice
  • Recruitment and retention strategies to encourage participation of graduate students from diverse, underrepresented backgrounds

Responses will be accepted through Aug. 24, 2015, and must be submitted via email to nimhdnotmd012@mail.nih.gov.

OCTRI Biomedical Innovation Program funding Q&A session, Aug. 11

Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute will be holding an informational Q&A session for the Biomedical Innovation Program Award, which is aimed at investigators who are thinking about submitting a letter of intent (due Sept. 9).

Tuesday, Aug. 11
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Mackenzie Hall, room 3198

David Ellison, M.D.,  professor of medicine and associate director of OCTRI, will present.  A light lunch will be provided.

The focus of OCTRI’s Biomedical Innovation Program (BIP) is bench-to-bedside device, diagnostic, and software development. Formed in partnership with Technology Transfer and Business Development (TTBD) in 2012, the BIP has funded a total of 12 projects, led by a diverse group of principal investigators, including clinicians, scientists, and bioengineers. Several of these projects have achieved proof of concept as a result of BIP funding and are being actively marketed by TTBD for licensing agreements with biomedical corporations. Others have formed the basis for start-up companies. The BIP’s objective is to improve human health by moving innovative technologies from academia to the marketplace.

The current RFA can be viewed and download here.

Biomedical Innovation Program highlights

  • Up to $40,000 in grant funding
  • Project management
  • Mentoring from OHSU faculty and staff, regional business partners, BIP review committee members

Questions? Please contact Jonathan Jubera at jubera@ohsu.edu

For more information about OCTRI awards and the Biomedical Information Program, please visit the OCTRI Funding Opportunities website.

 

New funding opportunities supporting start-up ventures

VentureWell_logo_w_tag_LARGE-1-300x77Students: Do you have an idea for an invention or business but don’t know how to get started? Faculty: do you have innovative ideas about training students in the arts of entrepreneurship? A new resource is now available: OHSU recently became a member of VentureWell (formerly NCIIA), a higher education network that helps launch new ventures of inventors through funding, mentorship, and curriculum development. OHSU’s membership means that our students and faculty can apply for their funding opportunities, as well as have access to other resources.

VentureWell’s focus is on cultivating the skills and creativity of student inventors and bringing their ideas to market. The network has given roughly $7.5 million in grants to more than 500 student teams who then went on to raise more than $620 million to launch new businesses. More than half of the resulting start-up ventures are still in business and operating in over 50 countries. They also support faculty in creating courses and programs to help students become inventors and entrepreneurs.

Funding Opportunities:

Graduate Students – VentureWell’s E-Team Program is an integrated program of funding, training, coaching, and investment. The program supports the development of technology-based inventions and innovations that have a positive benefit to society and/or the environment. Examples include biomedical devices, health care solutions, and/or global health-based technologies. Each team has the opportunity to receive $75,000 in funding in three stages:

Eteam-Graphic_1415

E-Teams must have at least two active students for the duration of the proposed grant period as well as a faculty advisor to serve as Principal Investigator. Further details on eligibility can be found here. Application deadline for the Fall 2015 E-Team Program cycle is October 7. Please contact Andrew Watson, Director of Technology Transfer within OHSU’s Technology Transfer & Business Development group if you wish to apply.


Faculty
– VentureWell also works to support these student inventors by working with faculty on curriculum development. There are two types of faculty grants:

Course & Program grants support courses designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship that lead to the creation and support of E-Teams.  Focus areas include:

  • General (technology-based) entrepreneurship
  • New materials/clean tech/green energy
  • Biomedical and healthcare
  • Information technology

Sustainable Vision grants are similar to Course & Program grants with the key difference being that SV proposals must lead to the development of technology innovations that address poverty alleviation and basic human needs such as water, sanitation, and healthcare. Learn more here about faculty grants including previously funded projects.

VentureWell also supports the Xcelerator training program which provides training for creators and entrepreneurs on how to  address the complexities of implementation in the developing world.

VentureWell is supported by major foundations, large business and government agencies including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Intel, and the National Science Foundation.

OCTRI seeks investigators with clinical trials to pilot recruitment using MyChart

Click the image to enlarge and download the flier.

Click the image to enlarge and download the flier.

It’s often a challenge to recruit the right subjects for clinical trials–and the right number of subjects.  An approach adopted by other academic health centers is to use the patient portal MyChart. Using MyChart has been shown to increase rates of study enrollment by up to three times and do so at one-fifth the cost, compared with mailings and phone calls to subjects. Currently, more than 130,000 MyChart accounts are active through OHSU.

To determine the feasibility of using MyChart as a recruitment tool here, the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute is conducting a study of its own. OCTRI is looking for two or three clinical studies that would be suitable as pilot projects for MyChart-enabled recruitment. A clinical informatics team will work with each researcher to glean an understanding of how MyChart can be used to increase enrollment.

Eligible studies should be recruiting before Sept. 2, 2015, and meet other criteria outlined in the the flier embedded in this post. Questions? Contact Tim Burdick, chief clinical research informatics officer.

OHSU researchers identify structural changes in the cannabinoid receptor, yielding new insights into alternate GPCR signaling states

Jon Fay and David Farrens

Jon Fay and David Farrens

If you’re a vertebrate animal, you should be interested in new findings from the Farrens lab. All vertebrates use G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to detect a variety of different stimuli. Upon binding their target molecules, these membrane proteins undergo structural changes that induce internal signal transduction cascades and alter cellular responses. Because GPCRs are involved in so many signaling systems and diseases, they are a common drug target in pharmacology.

Recently, two exciting new areas of GPCR research have emerged. The first revolves around the discovery that GPCR activity can be modulated by allosteric ligands. These allosteric drugs bind at sites completely different from where traditional GPCR drugs are known to bind. The second new area involves the discovery that GPCRs are surprisingly flexible and often play more than one role in the cell. For example, sometimes different drugs can bind at the same spot on a GPCR, yet activate different signaling pathways. The latter process, called “biased signaling,” can occur for drugs binding in the traditional “pocket” in the receptor, as well as for allosteric ligands. Understanding how both these phenomena occur is of great therapeutic interest. New allosteric ligands that can preferentially induce biased signaling for one pathway versus another hold promise as a powerful way to complement the effect of existing pharmaceuticals, further dial in GPCR responses, and optimize the beneficial aspects of existing drugs while minimizing negative side-effects.

Precisely how allosteric ligands could induce biased signaling behavior is not known. However, a new paper by Jonathan Fay, Ph.D., and David Farrens, Ph.D., has begun to address this question by looking at the structural biology of the receptor.

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are intrinsically dynamic proteins that serve as conduits for disseminating information across the cell membrane.  Here, a fluorescent probe bimane (green) was attached to a the human Cannabinoid receptor (blue) to identify conformational fluctuations  that occur in the receptor (purple haze) upon binding small molecule ligands that bind to the traditional binding site (aqua) as well as allosterically (white).

G protein-coupled receptors are intrinsically dynamic proteins that serve as conduits for disseminating information across the cell membrane. Here, a fluorescent probe, bimane (green), was attached to the human cannabinoid receptor (blue) to identify conformational fluctuations that occur in the receptor (purple haze) upon binding small molecule ligands that bind to the traditional binding site (aqua) as well as allosterically (white).

Their study, “Structural dynamics and energetics underlying allosteric inactivation of the cannabinoid receptor CB1,” published in the July 7, edition of PNAS, discovered that a new structure is induced in the marijuana receptor (called CB1) by an unusual allosteric ligand, Org 27569. They found that while Org 27569 causes CB1 to bind more activating drugs (cannabinoid agonists), at the same time it inhibits the receptors’ ability to activate G-protein signaling.   Intriguingly, their results indicate that the binding of Org 27569 induces a new structure in the CB1 receptor, one that is biased towards other signaling pathways. Based on their findings, they proposed that this new structural state may be something that can universally occur in other GPCRs, thus affecting their signaling pathways as well.

These findings about the cannabinoid receptor are especially interesting, as they indicate that this receptor—which is common across multiple species—can be affected by multiple drugs binding at different sites. Together, these results indicate the potential for developing new pharmaceuticals that can complement, not compete with, cannabinoids, thus channeling signaling in directions that would be more beneficial for patients and cannabinoid enthusiasts.

This study was funded by NIH Training Grant T32 DA007267 (to J.F.F.) and NIH Grants R01 EY015436 and S10 RR025684 (to D.L.F.). David Farrens is an associate professor and Jonathan Fay is a senior post-doc in the School of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at OHSU.

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Welcome to the Research News Blog

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