$214,000 from UB Catalyst Fund Advances Medical Inventions

Published March 4, 2013

Faculty in or associated with the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences are involved in four of five research projects that have received grants from the university’s Catalyst Fund.

“These funds demonstrate that UB research can directly and positively impact the local economy. ”
Alexander N. Cartwright, PhD
UB vice president for research and economic development

The fund, which supports commercializing discoveries and inventions, awarded nearly $214,000 to UB inventors during its latest round of funding.

The researchers and their projects are as follows:

Grafting Blood Vessels

Assistant professor of pediatrics

Swartz, Andreadis and their collaborators are developing specialized vascular grafts that, if successful, would function as native tissue when placed in the body, alleviating the need for donor blood vessels from the patient.

Eradicating Biofilm Infections

Assistant professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Kenneth A. Krackow, MD, Orthopaedic Research Laboratory

The research team is testing and optimizing a novel electrochemical technique for eradicating biofilm infections on metallic medical implants.

Training Robotic Surgeons

Pankaj Singhal, MD

Associate professor of gynecology-obstetrics, division chief of gynecologic oncology, minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery

Venkat Krovi

Associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering

Jason Corso

Assistant professor of computer science and engineering

The researchers are studying how to repurpose video-based micromotion analysis—traditionally used to evaluate industrial manipulative skills and efficacy—in evaluating proficiency and improving training of doctors performing robotic surgeries.

Replacing Lost Bone

Professor of oral biology, PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences

Dziak is studying the use of a novel, nanosized calcium sulfate material for its beneficial effects in replacing lost bone in patients who have conditions such as osteoporosis, periodontal disease or craniofacial defects.

Fund’s Projects Spur Local Economy

The UB Catalyst Fund’s latest round of grants brings the total amount awarded to $450,000 for 10 inventions.

The financial support enables researchers to conduct efficacy studies and other projects that demonstrate the commercial value of potential products.

“By providing for the translation of UB research that could lead to new therapies, new products and new company start-ups, these funds demonstrate that UB research can directly and positively impact the local economy,” says Alexander N. Cartwright, PhD, UB vice president for research and economic development.

In 2012, the John R. Oishei Foundation provided inital funding of $236,000 for five catalyst projects.

The current awards are from the Bruce Holm Memorial Catalyst Fund, named in honor of the UB Distinguished Professor and senior vice provost who died in 2011.

Holm led UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and worked diligently to attract high-profile researchers and inventors to Buffalo.

A UB faculty member anonymously established the memorial fund, committing up to $1 million as a match for additional contributions.