2013 S&T Fund Awards

James Capistran – UMass Amherst – Innovation Institute – Increasing Industry Engagement in the Life Sciences at UMass Amherst. In May 2013, UMass Amherst received $95M, the largest economic development investment in the history of the University, to expand the campus’s engagement with the life sciences industry, including specific collaborations with BayState Medical in Springfield and the precision manufacturing industry of the Pioneer Valley. The award was the result of an unprecedented 6-month planning process involving campus administration, faculty, state officials and life sciences professionals that set a new standard of university-industry-government collaboration in Massachusetts. This project will act as the launch pad for the campus’s efforts to attract industry partners, coordinate faculty meetings, organize life sciences events and seminars, and establish a campus presence in the Cambridge-Boston area as it establishes research centers in personalized health monitoring and biometric sensing, bioactive drug delivery, and drug target validation technologies. Award: $150,000.

Bill Robinson – UMass Boston – Laboratory for Urban & Coastal Environmental Science (LUCES). LUCES will create a lab to coordinate and develop a multidisciplinary team of urban & coastal science researchers and target strategic problems that will lead to a sustainable and funded national research center. It integrates existing marine research projects under one lab to foster more collaboration and enable research faculty to leverage expertise across related disciplines. It also expects to develop a library for water-soluble metabolites in partnership with the UMass Medical School. Collaborators include: Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA); UMMS Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry; Dartmouth and Amherst campuses. Award: $120,000.

Sigal Gottlieb – UMass Dartmouth – Center for Scientific Computing and Visualization Research – Simulation and Visualization Approaches to Big Data. With the proliferation of Big Data, there is a need to develop specialized, accessible computational and visualization tools for high-performance scientific computing. This project, through the Dartmouth campus’s newly created Center for Scientific Computing and Visualization Research, will promote and develop innovative, powerful computational tools to address pressing scientific and societal challenges. Identified research projects will provide proof-of-concept data to strengthen research proposals already under way in biomedical sciences. Partner institutions include the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I., for work in sensor technologies, and regional hospital SouthCoast Health Systems, for work with Big Data analytics and visualization of health information. Award: $150,000.

Ram Nagarajan – UMass Lowell – Strengthening Army-UMass Collaboration through HEROES Initiative. This project will provide additional resources for the campus’s newly created initiative with US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center known as HEROES: “Harnessing Emerging Research Opportunities to Empower Soldiers” to improve the safety, survivability and protection of US Troops. The funds will be used to strengthen relationships with Massachusetts defense-technology companies and to identify new research areas and seed the most promising projects in such disciplines as anti-microbial textiles; high-toughness nylon fiber, parachute aerodynamics; and vitamin-stability in field rations. Award: $150,000.

Melissa Moore, Celia Schiffer, Anastasia Khvorova -UMass Medical School, Worcester – Mass Drug Discovery & Development (MD3). This research center is focused on creating a validation laboratory where early stage technologies can be tested and validated to speed commercialization and strengthen interaction between the Medical School and the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. It promises to bring to the public new and cost-effective diagnostics and therapeutics based on chemically defined entities and transform what is traditionally an inefficient process of drug discovery and development. Additionally, MD3 would explore creation of coursework, degrees and certificate programs focused on educating the next generation of drug developers. Award: $100,000.

Mark Klempner – UMass Medical School – MassBiologics Gene Therapy Vector Manufacturing Center. This project will expand the capabilities of MassBiologics, a unique world-class facility owned by UMass Medical School and located in Boston, to establish a global center of excellence for the manufacture of therapeutic “vectors,” a key translational resource for the Medical School and new area of Biomanufacturing. It is expected to propel nearly a dozen gene-therapy projects at UMass Medical School that are at a critical translational step toward becoming commercially available therapeutic products. Award: $185,000.