Lab setting, close up of a pipette filling a sample dish.

UB CAT Funds 10 Faculty-Industry Life Sciences Projects

By Emma Vecellio

Published December 13, 2023

“We believe that university and industry collaborations are essential to keep the innovation pipeline alive and thriving. ”
Venu Govindaraju, PhD
UB’s vice president for research and economic development

The UB Center for Advanced Technology in Big Data and Health Sciences (UB CAT) has co-funded 10 research and development projects that will support the growth of new life and health sciences technologies during the 2023-24 fiscal year.

UB CAT provided $555,000 in funding, while bringing in $876,000 of industry-sponsored dollars.

UB CAT is one of 15 centers statewide funded by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). Each project pairs a faculty researcher with a New York State business.

In collaboration with these companies, participating UB faculty can supplement industry-sponsored research with matching funds to support research and development in two categories: proof-of-concept and product development. The four main areas of research are drug development, diagnostics, medical devices and health care information technology.

This year’s projects include efforts to develop wireless biosensors, aneurysm treatment devices and a database to advance computational pathology, among other technologies.

“We believe that university and industry collaborations are essential to keep the innovation pipeline alive and thriving,” says Venu Govindaraju, PhD, UB’s vice president for research and economic development. “UB CAT is a key source of early-stage funding support that enables UB experts to partner with industry to help bring new discoveries and products to market.”

Jacobs School Faculty Involved in All 10 Projects

The faculty members awarded UB CAT support for the 2023-24 fiscal year include:

Julian L. Ambrus Jr., MD, professor of medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

  • Industry partner: Immco Diagnostics Inc., a UB licensee company specializing in advanced diagnostics for autoimmune diseases.
  • Project: Development of next-generation diagnostic tests for Sjögren’s syndrome.
  • Project budget: $158,000.

John Kolega, PhD, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences, Jacobs School.

  • Industry partner: Neurovascular Diagnostics Inc., a UB spinoff that is developing a low-cost blood test to screen high-risk patients for unruptured brain aneurysms.
  • Project: Validation of a blood-based diagnostic assay for rupture risk assessment of intracranial aneurysms.
  • Project budget: $117,000.

Jonathan F. Lovell, PhD, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor of biomedical engineering, a joint program of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Jacobs School.

  • Industry partner: POP Biotechnologies Inc., a UB spinoff developing vaccine platform technologies that address needs in oncology and infectious disease.
  • Project: Developing targeting strategies to impact the field of mRNA delivery.
  • Project budget: $250,000.

Swetadri Vasan Setlur Nagesh, PhD, research assistant professor of neurosurgery, Jacobs School.

  • Industry partner: QAS.AI Inc., a UB spinoff focused on the development and commercialization of predictive artificial intelligence software to optimize neurovascular treatment by assisting decision-making during surgery.
  • Project: Personalized brain aneurysm surgery with advanced artificial intelligence analysis.
  • Project budget: $90,000.

Randall L. Rasmusson, PhD, professor of physiology and biophysics, Jacobs School.

  • Industry partner: Cytocybernetics Inc., a UB spinoff biotechnology research startup developing a range of equipment to enable electrophysiology research and development.
  • Project: Developing optical techniques to impact drug discovery and safety testing.
  • Project budget: $75,000.

Ram Samudrala, PhD, professor of biomedical informatics and and chief of the Division of Bioinformatics, Jacobs School.

  • Industry partner: Meditati Inc., a UB spinoff therapeutic discovery startup focused on developing and applying holistic drug discovery and design platforms to produce smart drugs for mental health.
  • Project: Designing nonaddictive pain relievers using artificial intelligence to confront the opioid crisis.
  • Project budget: $123,000.

Albert H. Titus, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering.

  • Industry partner: Efferent Labs Inc., a biotechnology company working to develop a live-cell device and platform for continuous data acquisition in pre-clinical animal research.
  • Project: Testing the CytoComm® platform for use with development of new drug candidate.
  • Project budget: $62,500.

John E. Tomaszewski, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Peter A. Nickerson, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, Jacobs School.

  • Industry partner: FormaPath Inc., a medical manufacturer working to revolutionize the way cancer is diagnosed through cutting-edge laboratory automation equipment.
  • Project: Developing automated lymph node capture to improve quality and consistency of diagnosis.
  • Project budget: $55,000.

David M. Zlotnick, MD, interventional cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine, Jacobs School (two projects).

  • Industry partner: Ampullae Inc., a medical device startup working to develop a flexible guidewire sensor that gives real-time force feedback during endovascular surgery.
  • Project: Developing guidewire to assist robotic navigation in neurovascular procedures.
  • Project budget: $221,000.
  • Industry partner: Vicora Inc., a startup working to solve a specific problem in the treatment of many vascular diseases through building a catheter equipped with proprietary technology that allows it to lightly vibrate.
  • Project: Developing catheter with vibrating tip to facilitate aspiration of clot during vascular intervention for stroke, pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis
  • Project budget: $278,000.

For more information on the UB CAT program and details on the upcoming application cycle, visit the Business & Entrepreneur Partnerships website.