OHSU researchers elucidate the role of diet in treating people with MS

A first-time controlled clinical trial found that a low-fat, plant-based diet significantly improved the health of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) by reducing both fatigue and weight. Those improvements go hand-in-hand with fighting some of the most debilitating effects of MS, according to the study’s lead author, Vijayshree Yadav, M.D., a MS neurologist with the Oregon Brain Institute at OHSU.

While the new research did not show differences in the MS lesions on the brain imaging, relapse rate or disability in the two study groups, active and control, this likely was in part due to short duration of the study.

The study sheds new light on the role of diet as a treatment for people living with MS. Although practitioners have promoted low-fat diets for decades, the approach had never been subjected to a well-controlled clinical trial, until now. “Low-fat, plant-based diet in multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled trial” was published July 1 in the science journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, an Elsevier publication.

Sixty-one people participated in the study with 32 following the low-fat plant-based diet during the one year of the study and 29 who did not alter their diet. Eight participants withdrew during the study, including six from the diet group and two from the control group.

Key findings:

• Researchers found no difference in MS-related lesions on the brain, relapse rate and disability between the two study groups. Researchers measured these differences for one year.

• The low-fat, plant-based diet did improve important aspects of health for those who followed the diet compared with the control group, including a reduction in fatigue and loss of weight.

• Researchers noted that the benefits of modern FDA approved therapies for treating MS likely outweigh the effects of a plant-based diet in reducing disease activity. Yadav noted that it’s therefore important for a low-fat diet to complement, rather than replace, other therapies.

The study includes additional researchers from OHSU’s Department of Neurology: Gail Marracci, Ph.D., Edward Kim, M.D., Rebecca Spain, M.D., M.S.P.H., Michelle Cameron, M.D., P.T., and Dennis Bourdette, M.D.; the Department of Veterans Affairs; MS/MRI Research Group at the University of British Columbia; The McDougall Research and Education Foundation in Santa Rosa, Calif.; and Louisiana State University.

Research reported here was supported by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1TR000128. Additional support came from the McDougall Research and Education Foundation, A Gift from the Berger Family.

Meet the inventors: Register for MedTech Alliance Showcase Sept. 14

Richard Wampler, M.D., presenting on behalf of OregonHeart, Inc.

Richard Wampler, M.D., presenting at the 2015 MedTech Alliance event on behalf of OregonHeart, Inc.

The 2016 MedTech Alliance Showcase connects investors, industry partners, and community collaborators with OHSU inventors and technologies. At this event, attendees will have the opportunity to network and learn more about OHSU medical technologies, including early-stage inventions that have a realistic chance for commercialization. The opening address will be given by John Ma, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., professor and chair of the OHSU Department of Emergency Medicine. Four presenters will take the stage to showcase their technologies. The evening will commence with a poster session and reception.

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Collaborative Life Sciences Building, Room 3A001

The event speakers will include:

  • Ted Hobbs, D.V.M., M.C.R., OHSU inventor
    Product pitch: Blood volume determination device
  • Bill Kelly, M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer, ReelDx, Inc.
    Company pitch: ReelDx, Inc.
  • Greg Jones, Ph.D., Inventor, First Ascent Biomedical, LLC
    Company pitch: First Ascent Biomedical, LLC
  • Xiangshu Xiao, Ph.D., OHSU inventor
    Product pitch: Novel lamin-binding ligands for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer

For speaker biographies, please visit the 2016 MedTech Alliance Showcase webpage.

All OHSU faculty, researchers, students, and staff are invited to attend. The event is free, but space is limited. Register today to attend.

Questions? Please contact Trish Prius at pruist@ohsu.edu.

Funding available for device, diagnostic, and software development

The Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute is now accepting letters of intent for the Biomedical Innovation Program: Device, Diagnostic, and Software Development track.

The objective of the Biomedical Innovation Program is to improve human health by moving innovative technologies from academia to the marketplace. The program focuses on bench-to-bedside technology development and commercialization. Formed in partnership with OHSU Technology Transfer & Business Development in 2013, the program has funded a total of seventeen projects, led by a diverse group of principal investigators including clinicians, scientists, and bio-engineers. Several of these projects have achieved proof of concept as a result of Biomedical Innovation Program funding and have been licensed by TTBD to biomedical companies; others have formed the basis for start-up companies.

Program highlights:

  • Funds up to $80,000 over two years
  • Project management and hands-on support from Biomedical Innovation Program staff
  • Access to project-specific mentors and experts

OHSU faculty and qualified employees outlined in the PI eligibility guidelines are welcome to apply. Download the RFA here or visit the OCTRI Funding Opportunities webpage for more information. Letters of intent are due on Sept. 26, 2016; detailed submission guidelines can be found in the RFA.

OHSU’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and the Biomedical Innovation Program staff will host a workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 14, noon to 1 p.m., Mackenzie Hall 3198 to discuss letters of intent and business development planning. Light lunch will be provided.

Questions? Contact Jonathan Jubera.

Registration now open for the 2016 TTBD awards ceremony, Oct. 12

Jeffrey Tyner, Ph.D. accepting the TTBD Business Partnership Award with Brendan Rauw, M.B.A., C.L.P.

Jeffrey Tyner, Ph.D. accepting the TTBD Business Partnership Award with Brendan Rauw, M.B.A., C.L.P.

The 2016 Technology Transfer and Business Development awards ceremony recognizes and honors OHSU community members who have contributed to innovation, entrepreneurship, industry partnership, patenting, and technology commercialization. At this annual event, top honors will be awarded to New Inventor of the Year, Business Development Partnership, Technology Transfer Achievement, and TTBD Appreciation.

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016
4:30 to 8 p.m.
Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Vey Auditorium, 11th floor
Opening reception will begin at 4:30 p.m. Ceremony will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m.

The event will include:

  • Awards and recognition for OHSU innovations and entrepreneurship
  • Reception with complimentary refreshments and hors d’oeuvres
  • Remarks from:
    • Jeanette Mladenovic, M.D., M.B.A., M.A.C.P., executive vice president and provost
    • Andrew Watson, Ph.D., C.L.P., director of technology transfer

All OHSU community members are invited to join us to celebrate OHSU’s inventors and entrepreneurs and learn more about the exciting work coming out of Technology Transfer and Business Development. The event is free, but space is limited. Register today to attend.

Questions? Please contact Karen Boren at borenk@ohsu.edu.

OHSU Library to sponsor two scholarships for OpenCon 2016

OpenConInterested in scientific communication? Want a more open system to share research and data? Then OpenCon 2016 could be the catalyst for you to pursue these passions and the OHSU Library wants to send you to Washington, D.C., where the conference is being held this year, Nov. 12 to 14.

OpenCon is designed to teach scientists and scholars from around the world about open access, open data, and open education, and foster a discussion on key issues surrounding scholarly communications and publications. The conference seeks to empower students and early career academic professionals with the critical skills necessary to create a more accessible and global system for sharing research and data. Keynote speakers, including Philip Bourne, associate director of data science, the National Institutes of Health, and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, will be featured amid a program of panel discussions and hackathons.

Since the first conference held in 2014, OpenCon has developed into an international community which has continued to support and organize the annual event alongside the sponsorship of scholarly organizations such as the Right to Research Coalition and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

OHSU Library is sponsoring two scholarships to send any OHSU student or postdoctoral researcher to the conference. Scholarships will cover travel costs, lodging, conference registration, and most meals. Applications can be found here.

Application deadline: Aug. 31, 2016

Questions? Contact Robin Champieux for more information.

ONPRC researchers to sequence rhesus macaques genomes

Scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center will sequence the genomes of 2,000 rhesus macaques, funded by a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. This groundbreaking initiative will take place over four years and result in a searchable database enabling researchers from around the world to conduct biomedical research to identify genes that contribute to common human diseases and to test therapies based on the presence or absence of particular genetic predispositions. By mapping the genome of a species with a similar genetic makeup to humans, the project will enable researchers to identify and study subjects that have genetic risk factors similar to those found in humans, contributing to maladies such as depression, immune disorders, blindness, addictions, and heart disease.

Betsy Ferguson, Ph.D., associate professor in OHSU’s Molecular and Medical Genetics Department and director of the Primate Genetics Program, is the project’s principal investigator. She’ll be working closely with colleagues Amanda Vinson, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Primate Genetics Section in the Division of Neuroscience at ONPRC, Eliot Spindel, M.D., Ph.D., senior scientist and director of the ONPRC Molecular Biology Core, Ben Bimber, Ph.D., ONPRC Genetics Program and Computational Biology Department, and Lucia Carbone, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and the Primate Genetics Section in the Division of Neuroscience at ONPRC.

These researchers are working together as part of the ONPRC’s Interdisciplinary Research Groups, which were established in the areas of Biology of Aging, Early Childhood Health and Development, and Primate Genetics to analyze and plan interdisciplinary research, and to inform areas of future recruitment.


New NIH policy on appendix materials in applications

A notice was issued on Aug. 12, 2016 detailing plans to eliminate most appendix materials for applications submitted to the NIH, AHRQ or NIOSH on or after Jan., 2017. According to the notice, the new policy is “intended rectify inequities in the peer review process that can arise from submission of inappropriate or excessive appendix materials by some applicants and consideration of appendix materials in peer review by some, but not all reviewers.”

New application instructions will be issued by Nov. 25, 2016 to reflect the following:

All information required for the peer review process except the cover letter, assignment request form and allowable appendix materials must be assembled in a single application image. Allowable appendix materials are as follows:

For applications proposing clinical trials (unless the FOA provides other instructions for these materials):

  • Clinical trial protocols
  • Investigator’s brochure from Investigational New Drug (IND), as appropriate

For all applications:

  • Blank informed consent/assent forms
  • Blank surveys, questionnaires, data collection instruments
  • FOA-specified items. If appendix materials are required in the FOA, review criteria for that FOA will address those materials, and applications submitted without those appendix materials will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2017 will be withdrawn and not reviewed if they are submitted with appendix materials that are not specifically listed above or as allowed in the FOA.

Clarification of this new policy may follow in the coming months; we’ll keep you updated.

NIH seeks input on biomedical digital repositories

The era of “Big Data” in biomedical research presents both opportunities and challenges. Increasing access to digital data allows for expanded accountability and accelerated discovery. But to take advantage of these opportunities, data must be managed and shared appropriately. The data repository is a common mechanism for managing and storing content, and the number, scale, and complexities of these repositories continue to grow. In the context of increased demand, it’s vital to understand and measure the value these data repositories are providing to the research community.

To help manage, fund, and communicate the value of these repositories, the NIH wants input on qualitative and quantitative metrics such as those that describe:

  • Quality of service
  • Indicators of data repository quality and impact (e.g. data citations, patents, publications from the data)
  • Utilization (rates of access or download, size, and demand of community served)
  • Infrastructure and governance
  • Qualitative metrics that may address the above categories
  • Consideration of case studies demonstrating the value of the repository

Send your responses to the NIH repository metrics project by Sept. 30, 2016.

Science Hack Day meet and greet, Aug. 17

The organizers of Portland Science Hack Day, including the OHSU Library, are hosting a happy hour meet and greet:

BlogPostsWednesday, Aug. 17
5 to 7 p.m.
Scout Beer Garden @ the South Waterfront Tram

Science Hack Day is an event where anyone excited about making things with science comes together to see what they can prototype in 24 hours. As described in this recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article, these events are valuable and often transformative for scientists. Learning the guts of our equipment, hardware, and software helps researchers to improve transparency and reproducibility. It helps us learn new skills and forge collaborations to build the tools and software we need, rather than relying on proprietary resources.

Never hacked before? Wednesday’s meet & greet is for you! Hack Day enthusiasts will be there to share their experiences and ideas to get you inspired for Portland Science Hack Day in October. There will also be a raffle for two $50 Powell’s Books gift cards. Anyone who is excited about making things with science and technology is encouraged to attend.

Learn more, get inspired, form a team!

Questions? Contact Robin Champieux.

The business of science: Internship applications due Aug. 26

For those interested in the sciences who want to explore opportunities outside the lab, there are many career paths to explore through OHSU Technology Transfer and Business Development. The office offers a comprehensive internship program to help participants – bioscience or engineering graduates pursuing advanced degrees in these areas as well as medicine, business, or law, who also have an interest in intellectual property and technology business development – gain experience in navigating the business, legal, and commercialization process of moving scientific innovations to the market. Over the past several years, more than 55 interns have come through the program, going on to apply valuable knowledge and skills to a variety of science, business, and legal professions. Meet TTBD’s current summer interns:

Michaele ArmstrongFor Michaele Armstrong, who received her Ph.D. in molecular oncology and M.B.A. in strategy and operations from the University of Pittsburgh, a TTBD internship was the ideal experience for pursing her career goals in biomedical portfolio and alliance management. As an intern, Armstrong evaluates new OHSU technologies for commercial potential, drafts non-confidential summaries and marketing materials, conducts market research and investigator interviews, markets technologies to potential licensees, and drafts licensing agreements and amendments. In tandem with her internship, Armstrong consults with local biotech businesses to evaluate and facilitate university intellectual property.

LeeAnn RooneyLeeAnn A. Rooney is no stranger to OHSU. After receiving her M.S. in chemistry from Stony Brook University, she joined OHSU’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, where she’s been a research associate for the past eight years. Rooney pursued a TTBD internship to explore her interest in transitioning from the bench and lab management into the technology transfer and business development field. She is working to evaluate OHSU technologies developed as part of the Beat AML research initiative and has gained experience in preparing new technology disclosure evaluations and non-confidential summaries, surveying prior art, and preparing competitive analyses.

Brenda WattBrenda Watt, who received her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania and completed her postdoctoral studies in OHSU’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, wanted to flex her research muscles in a different way. As a TTBD intern, Watt identifies trends in material transfer and research-sponsored agreements, and helps determine new collaborative opportunities. Watt was recently hired as a lead scientist by StoneStable Inc., a local startup developing a product to reduce vaccine wastage by eliminating the need for refrigeration.

Where are they now?

We checked in with our interns from the 2015-2016 academic year to see where they are on their career paths since completing the TTBD internship.

Abby Dotson, Ph.D., worked closely with the business development team to identify and develop industry partnerships for OHSU’s infectious disease technologies. She has since accepted a permanent position within TTBD as an alliance manager.

Sudeshna Dutta, Ph.D., worked with the licensing team to evaluate the commercial potential of OHSU-owned mouse models. She currently works as a translational strategist at Due North Innovation, a Portland company dedicated to moving technologies to the market.

Scott Vanderwerf, Ph.D., worked with the licensing team to prepare non-confidential summaries and evaluate the commercial potential of OHSU technologies. Vanderwerf was hired as a lead scientist at Pacific Diabetes Technologies a few weeks prior to the end of his internship.

TTBD is now accepting 2016-2017 internship applications! Apply by Aug. 26, 2016.

The year-long unpaid internship program starts at the beginning of the academic school year (next start date: Oct. 3, 2016). Interns are expected to volunteer 8 to 10 hours per week in the TTBD office.

To qualify, candidates must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in a life science, physical science, and/or engineering
  • Be pursuing or have received a graduate-level degree in science, medicine, engineering, business, or law
  • Have an interest in intellectual property, technology transfer, and/or business development

To apply, please visit the careers and internships page on the TTBD website.

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