October 2014
FFMI team members will be at Oakland County's INNO-VENTION Conference, Oct. 21-22, at the Suburban Collection Showcase in Novi. Going? Contact Brad Martin at to set up a meeting.
We'll also be at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, Nov. 4-6, at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit. Going? Contact Brad Martin at to set up a meeting.
Celebrate Invention!

3:00pm-6:00pm, Tuesday, Oct. 28
Ballroom, Michigan League

CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE annual event hosted by the U-M Office of Technology Transfer.


5 Common Mistakes of Commercializing Technology 

3:00pm-5:00pm, Wednesday, Nov. 12 #4515, BSRB

CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE event.  


Working with Industry: How, When, & Why?  

5:30pm-6:30pm, Wednesday, Dec. 10

G063/64, Bldg 10, NCRC 

CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE event.  

Secrets of Non-Disclosure Agreements
What does a Non-Disclosure Agreement protect?  When should a Non-Disclosure Agreement be in place?  Who can help with a Non-Disclosure Agreement?  View the video from a recent FFMI session where Ed Pagani from Tech Transfer and Tony Nielsen from ORSP answered these questions and more.
Click arrow to view video
Click arrow to view video
Disease decoded: Gene mutation may lead to development of new cancer drugs

New discovery approach accelerates identification of potential cancer treatments

U-M announces 5-year study of Parkinson's disease
UMHS will serve as coordinating center for new BCBS anesthesiology improvement collaborative

U-M Medical School

UMMS Office of Research

Medicine at Michigan

U-M Business Engagement Center

U-M Tech Transfer

Innovate Blue

U-M Main Page


Uday Kumar Visits November 19  

Entrepreneurial guru from Stanford Biodesign  

Join us as we welcome Uday Kumar, M.D., a ground-breaking cardiologist and electrophysiologist taking innovation to the world stage through biodesign.

Wednesday, November 19
Dow Auditorium, Towsley Center
FREE box lunch

"Design thinking" in biomedical innovation is a problem-solving process that puts the patient first. Dr. Kumar will discuss his experience as a clinician who saw problems in practice, and then developed the framework that is Stanford Biodesign today.

Featuring a casual dialogue and informal Q&A, Dr. Kumar will dive deep into the challenges and rewards of being a clinician-inventor, and how he made the leap to becoming an entrepreneur.  

RSVP for this FREE event.

MCubed Nears End of Successful First Cycle  

175+ Medical School faculty participated in ground-breaking program

MCubed, the University of Michigan's one-of-a-kind funding program designed to spark innovative research without traditional peer review, is wrapping up its first cycle in December. 

Launched in 2012 as a grassroots effort to jumpstart daring, boundary-crossing work, the program has allowed U-M faculty to spin their MCubed seed money into millions more.

"The enterprise of research at a place like the University of Michigan must be innovative and forward-looking, and MCubed has blazed a new trail in this regard," President Mark S. Schlissel said at the recent MCubed Symposium.

MCubed has led to new grants, studies, inventions and other scholarly work: 

  • The $14 million initiative brought in $20 million in additional grants from 31 projects, or 15 percent of the total so-called "cubes." Thirty-two other grant proposals are pending.
  • More than 60 groups have either submitted or published studies in peer-reviewed journals, and many more are being written.
  • Forty-two cubes have achieved other scholarly products, such as conference presentations, interactive websites, digital archives, and artistic performances.
  • Eleven teams filed invention disclosure reports.
  • MCubed gave $60,000 early-stage grants to more than 200 trios of professors. To get the money, qualifying faculty members only had to agree to work with collaborators outside their disciplines on a brand new project.

  • Over 175 Medical School faculty participated in cubes, including a cancer biologist and an epidemiologist who teamed up with a mathematician in exploring the links between HPV - the virus that causes cervical cancer - and head and neck cancers. It's a complex problem at the intersection of infectious disease and cancer, and the faculty had never worked together before.

    "You really need an interdisciplinary, out-of-the-box team to tackle this and try to understand how sexual behavior can lead to the transmission of HPV, and how that eventually shapes the trends we see in cancers that occur many years after the transmission. There are a lot of questions and we're trying to fill the gaps in understanding," said Rafael Meza, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology. "MCubed gave us the momentum to take our small project even further."

    CLICK HERE for more details about MCubed. 

    Transplant Drug Could Boost the Power of Brain Tumor Treatments

    Every day, organ transplant patients around the world take a drug called rapamycin to keep their immune systems from rejecting their new kidneys and hearts. New research suggests that the same drug could help brain tumor patients by boosting the effect of new immune-based therapies.


    In experiments in animals, researchers from the U-M Medical School showed that adding rapamycin to an immunotherapy approach strengthened the immune response against brain tumor cells.


    What's more, the drug also increased the immune system's "memory" cells so that they could attack the tumor if it ever reared its head again. The mice and rats in the study that received rapamycin lived longer than those that didn't.


    Now, the U-M team plans to add rapamycin to clinical gene therapy and immunotherapy trials to improve the treatment of brain tumors. Pedro Lowenstein, M.D., Ph.D. is a co-author and leads the current clinical trial.  


    "We had some indication that rapamycin would enhance the cytotoxic T cell effect, from previous experiments in both animals and humans showing that the drug produced modest effects by itself," says Maria Castro, Ph.D., senior author of the new paper.


    "But in combination with immunotherapy, it became a dramatic effect, and enhanced the efficacy of memory T cells too. This highlights the versatility of the immunotherapy approach to glioma," says Castro, who is the R.C. Schneider Collegiate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and a professor of cell and developmental biology at U-M.


    Castro notes that if the drug proves useful in human patients, it could also be used for long-term prevention of recurrence in patients who have had the bulk of their tumor removed.


     Treatment studied to help patients "burned to the bone" 

    An anti-inflammatory treatment, studied in the labs of regenerative medicine specialists and trauma surgeons, may prevent what's become one of the war-defining injuries for today's troops.


    Those burned by high-velocity explosive devices are at-risk for heterotopic ossification (HO), in which bone develops in places it shouldn't be, outside the skeleton, in joints, muscles, and tendons. The painful condition can make it difficult to move and function and commonly affects patients who suffer burns, automobile accidents, orthopedic surgery and blast injuries, and other combat wounds.


    Research led by the University of Michigan Health System sheds light on how and why HO develops and reveals a potential method to interrupt the cell signaling that leads to abnormal bone growth.


    Using tissue from burn patients and a mouse model of trauma-induced HO, researchers analyzed the body's response to burn injury. They confirmed the link between burn injury and activity of ATP, a primary energy source for cells that, when elevated, can make reactions normally impossible in biological conditions, possible--such as ectopic, or abnormal, bone.


    By using an apyrase, a compound capable of breaking down ATP, researchers were able to reduce heterotopic ossification, according to study findings published in Science Translational Medicine.


    "These findings are exciting and suggest that localized anti-inflammatory treatment may help prevent future development of ectopic bone, even at sites distant from the trauma," says lead study author Benjamin Levi, M.D. Levi, along with  Stewart Wang, M.D., Ph.D. and Director of Burn Surgery at the U-M Health System, worked with surgery, public health, chemistry, bioengineering, and dental faculty at the U-M on the current study.


    SBIR/STTR Proposal Deadline Nov 5

    The deadline is quickly approaching for SBIR/STTR proposal submissions. All submissions are due by November 5, 2014, at 4:30 EST.


    Interested in one-on-one consultation with an FFMI team member about a possible SBIR/STTR proposal? Contact Casey Wegner at Plus, BBC right here in Ann Arbor offers a number of training classes and webinars that can help you prepare your proposal. CLICK HERE for more details.


    U-M Health System Industry Interaction Policies 

    Drug samples, drug reps, conflict of interest & beyond 

    With the recent release of data regarding drug and device company payments to teaching hospitals and physicians, the nation is paying increased attention to the relationships between major medical centers and the companies that make medical products. The University of Michigan Medical School has implemented a number of programs and policies that foster appropriate industry relationships that support our clinical, educational, and research missions.  CLICK HERE for more details on the UMHS approach to industry interaction.

    About Us

    The Fast Forward Medical Innovation team at the University of Michigan Medical School works to accelerate innovation and commercialization of research at its inception, collaborate with commercial partners via novel models, and enhance medical education by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels. We help UMMS faculty and strategic partners collaborate, with the ultimate goal of accelerating research and technology to improve human health. To connect, email us or call 734-615-5060.

    Office of Research
    Fast Forward Medical Innovation is part of the Office of Research, where our mission is to foster an environment of innovation and efficiency that serves the U-M Medical School community and supports biomedical science from insight to impact.