April 2015
Early Tech Development

Course  - 4-week course in May and June 2015

CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE program  

Major national grant competition announced for early career scientists - learn more at upcoming information sessions

Submission Deadline - Tuesday, July 28 3:00pm


Award Amount:

$500,000 to $2 million over five years


CLICK HERE for more information 

Emerging Scholars research gets boost from $3M gift to U-M Medical School

DNA alterations may predict treatment response in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia patients

The brain-belly connection: Key genetic triggers found in weight-regulating brain cells

U-M Medical School

UMMS Office of Research

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U-M Business Engagement Center

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Innovative Airway Cradle Improves Patient Safety

New Airway Support Device offers safe solution for use in patients during sedation or altered levels of consciousness

During sedation or altered levels of consciousness, the jaw can relax allowing the tongue and soft tissues to obstruct the airway. This can result in catastrophic consequences such as cardiac arrest and severe hypoxemic brain damage.


There are a number of factors that can lead to this, including brain injury (trauma, stroke, seizure), severe alcohol/drug intoxication, procedural sedation in emergency and non-emergency settings (dental procedures, endoscopy, catheterization, radiology, etc.), and recovering from general anesthesia.


There are currently no standard airway support devices for patients undergoing procedural sedation or having an altered level of consciousness. University of Michigan Medical School team  Kevin Ward, M.D., Albert Shih, Ph.D., and Jeff Plott, M.S., recognized a need for a low cost, disposable, adjustable device that will serve as a replacement for the manually performed Jaw Thrust Maneuver.


"This new hands-free device is an external appliance capable of lifting the jaw upwards by using the mid-face as a stable fulcrum and negating the need for someone to actively hold the mandible forward," says Dr. Ward. "Because it is non-invasive, there is no risk of epistaxis (nose bleed), invoking a gag reflex and vomiting, or aspiration-side effects caused by current standard of care options."


The device, called the Airway Cradle, offers fast implementation and removal and can also be designed with ports or clips that allow for the provision of oxygen as well as carbon dioxide monitoring.


"MTRAC funding has been essential in being able to create our 3-D prototype designs. And the mentorship and support provided are critical and have helped guide us as we design, test, and work to make this a commercially available product that could potentially help tens of thousands of patients," says Dr. Shih.


MTRAC is supported by the U-M Medical School, the U-M Tech Transfer Office, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and works to "fast forward" projects with a high potential of commercial success, with the ultimate goal of positively impacting human health. The Airway Cradle is just one of 11 projects in the 2014 cohort funded by MTRAC. And the program recently announced its 2015 MTRAC awardees, with 11 teams set to receive early commercialization development funding this year.


NIH Names Panel to Lead President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative 

Medical School faculty member among panelists 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced a panel of experts that will steer President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative. The $215 million initiative seeks to leverage genomics, informatics, and health information technology to accelerate biomedical discoveries and enable personalized medicine approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Sachin Kheterpal, M.D., Associate Chair for Clinical Affairs and Quality in the U-M Department of Anesthesiology, will join the panel comprised of 18 other medical experts from across the country.
The panel will seek input from stakeholders in the Precision Medicine Initiative and define the scope and scale of the initiative, the issues that need to be addressed, and what success would look like five and 10 years out, the NIH said.
Read more about the Precision Medicine Initiative.


U-M Alumna, Mary Petrovich, Gives Generous Gift for GI Research  

$1M Over 3 Years will support the Fast Forward GI Innovation Fund  

The FFMI team would like to thank Mary Petrovich for her generous gift to the U-M Medical School's Accelerating Innovation in the GI Space proposal. We are extremely grateful for her support as we work to accelerate ideas to make tangible impact on patient care.

The team is excited to use this funding to create and launch the Fast Forward GI Innovation Fund. The Fund will support early-stage research that may have future impact on GI patients, with particular emphasis on technologies that could decrease or even eliminate the need for invasive procedures. It will be used for key research activities such as those related to validation and establishing proof of concept, including pilot funding support for preliminary studies or development activities that will lead to broader GI product applications.

Congratulations Latest Kickstart Awardees! 

Five awards for developing early proof of concept  

FFMI recently announced five new awardees for its Kickstart early-stage funding program.

Kickstart Awards, made possible by the U-M Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences Program (MTRAC), enable Medical School research faculty to develop proof of concept for innovative technologies. This award is aimed to enhance the commercial potential of a technology to the point of translation and possible inclusion in MTRAC or other research funding programs. The five new Kickstart teams include:

Cagri Besirli, M.D., Ph.D. and Stephen Smith, M.D.

XuDong Fan, Ph.D. and Kevin Ward, M.D.
Micro Gas Chromatography and Breathomics for Acute Point-of-Care Diagnostics

Jianping Fu, Ph.D. and Kevin Ward, M.D.
Development of a microscale whole blood coagulation assay platform

Michael Hortsch, Ph.D.
SecondLookTM- A Template for Interactive E-Learning Tools

James Varani
Wound healing capacity of a non-irritating retinoid

Kickstart awards are granted on a rolling basis. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Biomedical Innovation Shark Tank  

A new biomedical product's path to market is challenging and littered with chum. Join Fast Forward Medical Innovation as a selection of its MTRAC teams pitch their innovations to the "sharks" of the investment world at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium.

Wednesday, May 20
Elizabeth Ann Room
Marriott Eagle Crest
1275 South Huron Street
CLICK HERE to RSVP for this FREE event.

Hosted by Mike Finney, Special Advisor to Governor Rick Snyder, MTRAC project teams will each have a half hour to make their case to biomedical investment experts at this special event co-sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and modeled on TV's "Shark Tank." The "sharks" will then decide which project is the most commercially viable and award the winning team $2,500.

Only the strong will survive!

1:00PM Introductions

1:30PM Pitch #1
GENOMENON - software simplifies genome sequencing
Mark Kiel, M.D., Ph.D.

2:00PM Pitch #2
Pi2 - treatment for EGFR-TKI resistant cancer
Theodore Lawrence, M.D. and Mukesh Nyati, Ph.D.

2:30PM Pitch #3
ThioMon - computational diagnostic for IBS
Ulysses Balis, M.D. and Peter Higgins, M.D., Ph.D.

3:00PM Pitch #4
EyeAnalyze - automated identification for changes in retinal diseases
Thiran Jayasundera, M.D.

3:30PM Pitch #5
Priori - intervention for Bipolar Disorder
Melvin McInnis, M.D.

4:30PM Announcement of the winning team

Special guest "sharks":
W. Davis Griffin
River Cities Capital Fund

Nicole Walker
Baird Capital

Mark Arizmendi 
Northwestern Capital

John Fletcher
Fletcher Spaght Ventures

Dean's Awards Program Offers Innovation and Commercialization Award 

Nominations due Friday, May 1

The Medical School Dean's Office is currently accepting nominations for its annual Dean's Awards Program, which includes several awards to honor and recognize faculty who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments throughout the research community.  

This year, a new Innovation and Commercialization Award was added. This award recognizes a faculty member or group of faculty members who have developed a new research method, technology, or innovative service that will radically improve or transform patient health. The work of the researcher(s) should exemplify the process of accelerating ideas, insights, and technologies from the research enterprise out of the university setting via industry partnerships, start-up companies, or other commercial routes.    
Other research-specific awards include the Basic Science Research Award, Clinical and Health Services Research Award, and the Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award in Biomedical Research.
Please refer to the Dean's Awards Program website for selection criteria, a list of previous winners, and details on additional Awards Program categories including education, clinical care, and community service.  
All nominations should be made through UMMS Competition Space.  
The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, May 1. The 2015 winners will be honored in the fall during the annual Faculty and Staff Awards Dinner.  


GlaxoSmithKline Announces
2015 Discovery Fast Track Challenge  

Submissions due Friday, April 24 

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
is currently seeking submissions for their 2015 Discovery Fast Track Challenge.
This challenge offers a great opportunity for our investigators to submit a drug discovery concept for collaboration, as well as a chance to work with GSK scientists to help turn novel drug development concepts into new medicines.
Visit the Challenge website to learn more about this opportunity, including application instructions and proposal selection criteria.
Please contact Stephanie Morley on the Fast Forward Medical Innovation Business Development team via email if you have additional questions.


Windsor/Detroit Hacking Health

Collaboration event helps build innovative ideas 

Looking for input on your ideas? Need help finding the "next step" in your project development process? Windsor/Detroit Hacking Health brings together IT and healthcare professionals across the US-Canada border to collaborate, dream up, and design apps for patient-centric care.

Windsor/Detroit will be held May 1-3, at Tech Town Detroit - an innovation hub just five minutes from the border. CLICK HERE for more information and to register.


AstraZeneca Introduces New Open Innovation Program 

New program offers partnership opportunities 

AstraZeneca is looking to collaborate with investigators and clinicians across all stages of drug discovery - from innovative early ideas through clinical validation.


Collaboration with AstraZeneca means access to optimized compounds, compound libraries, technologies, multi-disciplinary science, services, or know-how with the prospect of joint publications in high-profile journals and, most importantly, the opportunity to push the boundaries of science and deliver life-changing medicines.


For more information, contact Katie Moynihan in the U-M Office of Technology Transfer.  


MCubed Survey and $50 from Amazon 

The Medical School Office of Research is surveying faculty and staff about MCubed, the campus-wide program that distributes seed funding to multi-unit teams engaged in innovative research.

CLICK HERE to take the brief, 10-minute survey and you could win a $50 Amazon gift card!

MCubed 2.0 will open later this spring. Watch for more updates on the MCubed website at

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.