Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC)

Making Innovation Central to Rhode Island's Future Gina M. Raimondo, Governor

STAC Awards 18 Scientists from 8 Research Institutions Funding for Collaborative Projects

Published on February 3, 2010


The Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) today announced the awardees of the 2010 Collaborative Research Awards program.  The awards will support six projects, representing 18 scientists from eight organizations throughout Rhode Island.

The program is designed to stimulate collaborative research projects that are well-positioned to attract significant follow-on funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health or are ripe for commercialization.

Since the program‚??s inception in 2007, STAC has awarded approximately $5 million to 30 teams of 71 researchers from 27 organizations. This year, out of the 38 projects submitted for review, six projects that featured multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research with follow-on funding promise were chosen.

The 2010 award recipients include academic and industry scientists pursuing research in disease prevention, pharmacotherapy, renewable energy and engineering. Priority was given to high-impact projects that are collaborative across Rhode Island institutions and well positioned to receive follow-on funding, particularly from federal agencies. Those with significant technology development and commercialization potential were also encouraged.

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More about the Awardees

Project 1: Development of Novel Agents for Cancer Prevention and Therapy from the Natural Spice Turmeric

This team is working to identify lead compounds from highly traditional plant products for the development of new drugs for cancer prevention and chemotherapy.  The team will study the active compounds found in the spice turmeric and identify their anti-cancer activity.

Collaborators:

James N. Jacob, Ph.D, Organomed

Wayne Bowen, Ph.D, Brown University

Project 2: Novel Oral Fluid Based Methods for Non-Invasive Determination of Total Exposure to Active Immunosuppresive Agents

This collaboration is working to develop diagnostic kits to allow non-invasive monitoring of the concentration of immunosuppressive agents in oral fluids as a substitute for blood concentration monitoring.  This method of monitoring immunosuppressive agents will hopefully lead to improved pharmacotherapy and result in the development of commercially diagnostic techniques.

Collaborators:

Fatemeh Akhlaghi, Ph.D, University of Rhode Island

Reginald Gohh, M.D, Rhode Island Hospital

Project 3: Development of Durable Silicon Thin-Film Anodes and New Electrolytes for Lithium Batteries

This team proposes to develop new and highly durable anode architecture for lithium batteries complemented by the development of new electrolytes that will form a stable solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer.  This STAC grant will help RI align with the Department of Energy‚??s Energy Strategic Goal and contribute to cutting-edge advances in lithium battery technology.

Collaborators:

Pradeep Guduru, Ph.D, Brown University

Christopher Bull, Ph.D, Brown University

Brett Lucht, Ph.D, University of Rhode Island

Project 4: Early Cancer Detection and Treatment Using Advanced Three-Dimensional Surface Texture Visualization and Modeling

This project aims to develop 3D imaging technology to address limitations in visualization of the current minimally invasive surgical procedures that are rapidly replacing open surgeries.  The team will focus primarily on the problem of identifying early-state bladder cancer, the third-most prevalent cancer that ranks fourth in incidence.

Collaborators:

Gabriel Taubin, Ph.D, Brown University

George E. Haleblian, M.D, Rhode Island Hospital

Jason D. Harry, Ph.D, Lucidux Corporation, LLC

Gyan Pareek, M.D; Rhode Island Hospital

Project 5: Neuroprotective Anti-Inflammatory Strategies to Prevent Damage to the Premature Brain

As noted by the March of Dimes, an ever increasing incidence of preterm birth contributes to 50 percent of the cases of cerebral palsy and mental retardation.  This team will focus of the development of novel preventative strategies for brain damage in premature infants.  This project provides a unique alliance between two academic institutions and an emerging commercial research entity.  

Collaborators:

Barbara Stonestreet, M.D, Women & Infants‚?? Hospital of Rhode IslandJames Padbury, M.D, Women & Infants‚?? Hospital of Rhode Island

Yow-Pin Lim, Ph.D, ProThera Biologics

R. Choudary Hanumara, Ph.D, University of Rhode Island

Project 6: Tripolar Concentric Ring Electrode Electroencephalogram (TCRE EEG) System - An Innovative Diagnostic Tool for Epilepsy

This collaboration between the University of Rhode Island, Brown University and Astro-Med Inc. will develop a commercially viable system to improve the diagnosis of epilepsy and other neurological disorders.  Epilepsy afflicts approximately 15 million Americans of all ages and misdiagnosis can lead to serious cognitive impairments and behavioral problems.

Collaborators:

Walter G. Besio, Ph.D, University of Rhode Island

John Gaitanis, M.D, Brown University

Michael Sullivan, M.S, Astro-Med Inc.

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