October 20, 2014

Sector Portrait: Research & Innovation

Promising Developments in Research and Innovation

Life Sciences, Medical, Pharmaceutical, Health

» Emunamedica, a Hollywood healthcare startup, has licensed technology for a near-infrared wound monitor from Drexel University. Former investment banker David Kolb, CEO of Emunamedica, says patients with diabetes-associated wounds could receive faster and more effective treatment with the non-invasive device, which measures the oxygen/hemoglobin level and monitors wound healing. The boxlike device is portable and can take measurements in less than a minute by passing a scanner over the wound surface. Emunamedica is engaged in a 100-patient clinical trial and expects to launch its initial product commercially in the United States next year.

» UF researcher Michael Mac Millan has designed and patented a system that would allow users to fit a week's worth of workouts into a single hour by lowering weights rather than lifting them. Mac Millan, chief of spine surgery for the College of Medicine, says that because negative resistance workout taps into muscles' full potential, one hour a week is all that's needed. Mac Millan and colleagues spent more than two decades laying the scientific groundwork and developing the processes and systems by which NeGator works.


UF researcher Michael Mac Millan's NeGator technology will be used at Resistance Therapy Clinic, which is opening this month. [Photo: Czeme M. Ried/University of Florida]

» Nova Southeastern University in Davie and dietary supplement company Immunotec are researching the effects of a dietary supplement to improve behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder. The two-year study, a collaboration of pharmacists and researchers, will investigate the effects of a cysteine-rich whey protein isolate in children diagnosed with autism.

» Massimo Caputi, associate professor of biomedical science in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, has landed a $433,500 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health to further his research on identifying novel drug treatments for HIV. Caputi and his colleagues are working to identify the cellular factors involved in the replication of the virus and have already identified more than a dozen cellular proteins that the virus uses.

» At the Tradition Center for Innovation in Port St. Lucie, Martin Memorial hospital, Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute Florida and the Mann Research Center are collaborating on clinical trials for cancer, flu and HIV drug development along with basic research. They're aiming to bring therapies from development to market more quickly.

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Technology

» Researchers at the University of South Florida are developing a wheelchair equipped with a multi-interface robotic arm that can be controlled by voice and sight. The wheelchair would most benefit those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. Because ALS causes gradual paralysis, the wheelchair would allow for robotic assistance in every stage of muscle movement loss.

» Florida A&M University and Florida State University College of Engineering are working on technology that will enable electric-powered wheelchairs to detect hazardous terrain and automatically adjust control settings to maneuver more safely. The device, known as a laser line striper originally developed for military use, has been adapted to read surface conditions so the wheelchair control system can self-adjust.

» University of Florida surgeon Stephen Grobmyer and his collaborators in the department of surgery and College of Engineering have landed three U.S. Department of Defense Breast Cancer Concept Awards and a research foundation grant totaling nearly $600,000 to develop new ways to deliver treatment to breast cancer patients. The money will fund research on three potential delivery methods that would allow doctors to target tumors in hard-to-reach places without damaging healthy cells. All three projects rely on nanotechnology.

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Agriculture

» An international team of scientists led by the University of Florida and Virginia Tech is the first to publish the DNA sequence for the strawberry — a development expected to lead to tastier, hardier varieties. Having that "parts list" in hand will enable strawberry breeders to bring new varieties to consumers and create plants that can be grown with less environmental impact and better nutritional makeup.

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