OCTRI announces 2017 Biomedical Innovation Program award recipients

The Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute has awarded three investigators grants through its Biomedical Innovation Program. The Biomedical Innovation Program aims to cultivate, select and provide strong program management for promising translational projects that develop new biomedical devices, diagnostics, and software. The primary objective of the program is to help bring innovative technologies from academia to the marketplace and thus to make a meaningful impact on human health.

The Biomedical Innovation Program is a collaboration between OCTRI and OHSU Technology Transfer and Business Development (TTBD), with additional funding and support from industry partners, Welch-Allyn and GE Healthcare.

Congratulations to our 2017 Biomedical Innovation Program Pilot Award Winners:

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., Peterson Professor of Ophthalmology, Professor of Biomedical Engineering 

Dry Eye Treatment Device (abstract pending)



David Sheridan, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine

Wearable Monitoring for Mental Health Patients




David Simons, M.D., Ph.D., Glaucoma Fellow, Casey Eye Institute

Glaucoma Tube Implant with Modulated Flow





“The Biomedical Innovation Program meets a critical need at OHSU by funding promising early stage and potentially marketable technologies,” said OCTRI Director David Ellison, MD. “This funding, along with project management and mentorship, helps move the needle substantially, to put these technologies in the best possible position for commercialization where they can ultimately improve patient outcomes. We are very excited to fund these new technologies for 2017, and look forward to working closely with the investigators.”

Detailed information on all three awards, including project abstracts, is on the OCTRI website.



Vaccine technology developed by OHSU researchers acquired by industry

Louis Picker, M.D., of the OSHU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute. (OHSU/Boone Speed Photography)

Louis Picker, M.D., of the OSHU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute. (OHSU/Boone Speed Photography)

OHSU researchers made international headlines in 2013 when they published findings that their HIV vaccine not only controlled SIV, the nonhuman primate form of HIV, but cleared it in nearly 60 percent of the monkeys in the trial.

The HIV vaccine—developed by of a team of scientists at the OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute that includes Jay Nelson, Ph.D.; Klaus Frueh, Ph.D.; Scott Hansen, Ph.D.; and Louis J. Picker, M.D.—has shown such promise in pre-clinical trials that it is headed to phase 1 human clinical trials next year.

The vaccine platform is based on a unique model that uses the common herpes virus cytomegalovirus, or CMV, as the viral vaccine vector to deliver a knock-out blow to the various pathogens. Importantly, this platform is not limited to fighting HIV. It has the real potential to fight the world’s deadliest diseases, from tuberculosis and hepatitis B to malaria and papillomavirus.

The technology has now been acquired by Vir Biotechnology, a San Francisco-based biotech startup backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and ARCH Venture Partners. The deal involves Vir buying TomegaVax Inc., an OHSU spinoff that holds the rights to the vaccine technology. This is a taken a critical step in translating a basic science concept pioneered at OHSU into a portfolio of commercial vaccines.

Research at VGTI was first made possible through a state-funded Oregon Opportunity Grant. The research has since been funded primarily through grants from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has committed $46 million in grants to support Picker’s work at VGTI.

People Management for Principal Investigators, Mar. 10-11

Every principal investigator wants to build and maintain a lab that attracts and retains outstanding trainees and staff members. Juggling this endeavor with everything else the PI must do – writing papers, teaching, mentoring, gaining and maintaining funding, creating collaborative and productive relationships with other PIs – can be challenging at best. This 1.5-day course, led by Melanie Erskine and Rachel Dresbeck from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, will help you learn to manage people with a focus on the particular needs of running a lab or research group.

When: Friday, Mar.10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Mar. 11, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location: School of Nursing, room 116
Register on Compass

In this course you will learn:

  • Strategies for approaching the role of “coach” in the lab – developing your leadership style
  • Recruitment and retention strategies – building (and maintaining) the best team for your lab
  • Steps to take when coaching doesn’t work – performance management in the lab
  • Resources that are available to you to support you and your lab staff

Enrollment is limited; there is no cost to participants.

NRSA application workshop: Technical components, Feb. 21

If you’re planning to apply for a pre- or post-doctoral NRSA fellowship from the NIH in the near future, we encourage you to attend this workshop to learn about essential, non-research elements of your fellowship application. Topics covered include elements needed for an InfoEd proposal, how to develop a budget, how to manage reference letters, biosketches and PMCID numbers, and elements of a great training plan.

This upcoming workshop is led by Johanna Colgrove, coordinator of the MD/PhD program, Gavin Hamilton, grants and contracts administrator with the Office of Proposal and Award Management, and Rachel Dresbeck, Ph.D., director of Research Development and Academic Communications.

NRSA Application Workshop
Tuesday, Feb. 21
10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Biomedical Information Communication Center (BICC), room 124

Open to researchers and administrators. Registration now available on Compass.

Upcoming deadlines for Collins Medical Trust

The Collins Medical Trust is a local foundation that provides up to $30,000 three times a year to faculty and postdoctoral fellows. The purpose of these awards is to aid, further, promote and develop research related to the cause, cure, and treatment of human diseases. The Trust typically provides seed funding for projects that will be eligible for NIH or other substantial funding. Successful proposals will impact the heath of Oregonians, but also have the potential impact the research nationally. Young investigators applying should describe their relationship with a mentor to demonstrate they have guidance in their work.

OHSU can submit up to 15 applications for each deadline. Instead of accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis, interested applicants will have a one-week window to submit a Notice of Intent Form to the OHSU Foundation. If multiple submissions are received from one department, the department  may be asked to determine which application will move forward. Preference will be given to applicants that have not recently received Collins Medical Trust funding. Resubmissions are not encouraged.

Upcoming deadlines:

The Notice of Intent window is February 3-10. Please note that NoIs will only be accepted during this window. If you have already submitted an NoI, you will need to resubmit during the submission window. Full applications are due to OPAM by April 10 and must be sent to the OHSUF by April 21. The Collins Medical Trust deadline is May 1.

If you are interested in submitting an application for an upcoming deadline, the first step in the process is to fill out the OHSU Foundation Notice of Intent Form, which can be found on the Collins Medical Trust O2 page along with policies and procedures and frequently asked questions.


Save the date: Research Week 2017

FPP 21469239 Research Week 2017 ART RGBMark your calendars for the event of the year: OHSU Research Week. Our annual celebration of research performed by faculty, students, research staff, postdocs, and others across all schools, centers, institutes, and education programs will take place May 1 through 3, 2017.

A call for abstract submissions is coming soon. More details about keynote speakers, presentations, and opportunities to connect with colleagues, students, and people from other areas of the institution are being solidified now. Questions or ideas? Contact the planning committee at researchweek@ohsu.edu.

Participate in FASEB survey on shared research resources

FASEBYou’re invited to participate in a national survey on research cores. Much of the life-changing research conducted at OHSU is made possible by the university’s more than 20 research cores. Crucial research activities are supported by state-of-the-art equipment, advanced techniques, and specialized expertise in cores ranging from the Cytogenetics Core Laboratory and Biostatistics & Design Program to Proteomics and Massively Parallel Sequencing.

The shared research resources model facilitates research activities at institutions around the world. Providers and users of shared research resources in the United States have been invited by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology participate in a survey of their experiences with shared resources. FASEB is a significant policy voice of biological and biomedical researchers and the survey will inform the organization’s policy discussions and future activities related to shared research resources.

FASEB encourages researchers to share the survey link with their colleagues and collaborators.

The survey is open to providers and users of shared research resources in the United States and takes 10 to 15 minutes. Topics in the survey range from resource utilization and unmet needs to careers in resource provision and development as well as training on best practices.

Responses should be submitted by March 2.


Shared instrumentation funding, internal applications due Mar. 17

Last week, NIH released three RFAs related to shared instrumentation. The Shared Instrument Grant Program (S10) provides groups of NIH-supported investigators funds to purchase or upgrade shared equipment costing up to $600,000. The High-End Instrumentation Grant Program is specifically designed to fund instrumentation that costs at least $600,000 with a maximum award of $2 million. Types of instruments supported include, but are not limited to, X-ray diffraction systems, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometers, DNA sequencers, biosensors, electron and confocal microscopes, cell-sorters, and biomedical imagers.

New this year: The Shared Instrumentation for Animal Research (SIFAR) Grant Program provides $20,000 to $750,000 to purchase or upgrade scientific instruments necessary to carry out animal experiments.

OHSU is not limited in the number of applications we may submit, provided the applications are for different types of equipment; however, internal review is required. A minimum of three major users who are PIs on active NIH research grants must be identified.

Internal coordination: To apply, you must submit a brief 1-3 page preliminary proposal to Sue Aicher, Ph.D., who is coordinating the review process, by Friday, March 17, 2017. External applications are due May 31, 2017. Your email should include the following:

1. What instrument will be requested, and why it is needed
2. Cost of the instrument, including vendor quote
3. Cost of maintenance contract
4. Where the instrument will be located
5. Major user group info (group of at least 3 scientists with qualifying federal funding at time of the award)
6. Institutional support

Proposals will be evaluated based on whether the instrument will enhance the proposal research, whether there is a good match between the proposal science and the requested instrument, the justification of need, the organization of the project, continuing commitment to the instrument, and the benefit to the overall research community.

Contact Sue Aicher for more information.

Career Dev. Opportunity for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research K12 Scholars

Applications are currently being accepted for the third class of patient-centered outcomes/comparative effectiveness research (PCOR/CER) K12 scholars (beginning Aug. 1, 2017). If you are a clinical, behavioral, health services, policy, public health, or applied junior faculty researcher interested in pursuing a research career in comparative effectiveness research applied to patient-centered outcomes, you may be eligible for this mentored K12 career development program.

The program provides 75% protected time for mentored research career development and includes training in patient-centered outcomes research, applied experience and training in research synthesis methods, as well as a significant mentored research experience. Scholars will receive salary support plus fringe benefits, and will be appointed as an OCTRI scholar.

See the Request for Proposal for details.

Please submit all application materials via OHSU’s Competitive Application Portal (CAP) by March 6, 2017.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Daniel Johnson or Jeanne-Marie Guise, M.D., M.P.H.

OHSU researchers develop new model to study S. mutans behavior at protein level

Isolation of utricle hair bundles from Peter Barr-Gillespie's analysis of the proteome of hair-cell stereocilia. Ferracane’s new model draws on Barr-Gillespie's technique.

Isolation of utricle hair bundles from Peter Barr-Gillespie’s analysis of the proteome of hair-cell stereocilia. Ferracane’s new model draws on Barr-Gillespie’s technique.

Breakthrough innovation doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without money. OHSU Core Pilot Grants provide OHSU researchers with funds to develop new concepts or methods and to strengthen extramural grant proposals. The program is made possible by University Shared Resources, the School of Medicine, and the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research.

In 2016, the University Shared Resources pilot funds provided more than $200,000 for early research by 22 OHSU researchers. With this funding, a project by Jack Ferracane, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry, was made ready for a competing continuation grant application to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Ferracane’s work focuses on the structure, function, and clinical performance of dental restorative materials and his team has been developing antimicrobial and remineralizing dental materials containing bioactive glass to enhance the durability and longevity of dental restorations. The vast majority of adults and 60–90 percent of children are affected by tooth decay, making it a significant public health issue.

Until now, the rate of bacterial colonization in gaps in dental restorations compared to colonization on the surface of the same type of material has not been shown. Ferracane used a model that has never before been presented or tried to conduct novel experiments on the behavior of Streptococcus mutans bacteria on the surface of a restoration and within a small gap space. S. mutans is the main cause of dental decay and the challenge here was to collect enough protein to study differences in bacterial behavior at the protein level.

Ferracane, and his collaborators Kirsten Lampi, Ph.D., professor of Integrative Biosciences, and Justin Merritt, Ph.D., associate professor of Restorative Dentistry, worked closely with Larry David, Ph.D., and Ashok Reddy, Ph.D., director and associate director, respectively, of the Proteomics Shared Resource facility, to develop and test a methodology to recover and digest the small amounts of proteins present in the recovered bacterial biofilm. The team used the high-resolution Thermo Scientific™ Orbitrap Fusion™ mass spectrometer in the Proteomics Shared Resource to measure relative changes in protein abundance. Using Tandem Mass Tagging™ technology, the technique allows 10 individual samples to be simultaneously analyzed, increasing the speed and accuracy of the analysis.

Reddy and David worked closely with Ferracane, Merritt, and Lampi to develop and test a methodology to recover and digest the small amounts of protein present in the recovered bacterial biofilm. Their developed methodology used a combination of shearing the bacterial biofilm by intense shaking in the presence of glass beads (bead beating), followed by digestion with trypsin with the aid of ultrafiltration membranes.

Establishing the protocol took some trial and error, but demonstrated why having core facilities on campus is essential when establishing a new protocol like this. In this particular case, the use of ultrafiltration membranes to assist protein digestion was a technique borrowed from Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology and associate vice president for basic research, who uses it when digesting extremely small samples of hair bundle proteins for proteomic analysis in the PSR facility. Reddy realized that combining the bead beating technique from Ferracane’s lab and the digestion method from Barr-Gillespie’s lab was the perfect solution to analyze very small samples of bacterial biofilms.

The new model successfully demonstrated that the rate of colonization was lower in the gap than on the surface of the restorative material. Additionally, the model was able to show that certain dental composites with ionreleasing properties show some inhibiting effect on bacterial colonization of gaps.

The University Shared Resources pilot funds, along with scientists and technology at the PSR, allowed Ferracane’s team to collect preliminary data sufficient to begin writing the NIH grant application and a manuscript for publication.

The pilot funds, launched in 2016, have supported 45 scientists with more than $360,000. University Shared Resources intends to begin the application process later this year for 2018 funding. If you have worked on a project made possible by the pilot funds, contact Andy Chitty to share your experience.

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