May 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  

3d printing medical devices saving babies lives

Researchers develop potential drug for rare leukemia

To fight nasty digestive bugs, scientists set out to build a better gut - using stem cells

U-M Medical School

UMMS Office of Research

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EyeAnalyze: Automated Analysis of Retinal Imaging   

New computer-based service performs objective, automated, analysis of retinal FA and AF imaging 

Millions of people in the United States are affected with retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic eye disorders. Fluorescein angiography (FA) and autofluorescence (AF) imaging are two forms of retinal images used to monitor the extent and progression of retinal diseases. While the imaging tools are useful for visualizing the disease, it is difficult for physicians to objectively quantify and interpret changes in images over time. This can be especially challenging for clinical trials, where the changes must be quantified in a rapid and reproducible manner.


To address these issues, University of Michigan team Thiran Jayasundera, M.D. and Matthew Johnson-Roberson, Ph.D. developed EyeAnalyze-a computer-based service that allows for quick, accurate, automated analysis of retinal FA and AF imaging.


"EyeAnalyze will make images interpretable by a greater number of physicians/optometrists. It will also reduce the time spent interpreting images, increase work efficiency, and provide image analysis at a level of proficiency equal or superior to that of a clinical trial grader," says Dr. Jayasundera.


Once images are uploaded to the EyeAnalyze website, they are processed on a server that runs the analysis software. In the time it takes a patient to walk from the waiting room to the doctor's office, the doctor can log on to EyeAnalyze and view the results of the patient's images. The results depict the regions of disease and give quantification of the affected area. Serial images taken over a period of time (months to years) can be uploaded to generate an image comparison that measures and highlights disease progression.


"Our technology utilizes digital image processing techniques to provide automation, eliminate variability, and generate reliable, quantifiable metrics," says Dr. Johnson-Roberson. "By increasing the efficiency of image analysis, disease progression/burden can be identified early and enable doctor's to adjust therapy."


"MTRAC funding has been critical as we work to validate the efficacy of the EyeAnalyze system," says Dr. Jayasundera. "And the business support and advice is extremely helpful as we maneuver the path to commercialization."


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 EyeAnalyze project is just one of 11 projects in the 2015 cohort funded by MTRAC. In 2014, the program funded 11 teams for early commercialization development.  


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

Wednesday, May 20
Elizabeth Ann Room
Marriott Eagle Crest
1275 South Huron Street

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."  


CLICK HERE for more details, including the schedule of team pitches. 


Robert Neumar and Team Receive NIH/NHLBI SBIR Grant Award 

U-M researchers partner with device company 

Robert Neumar, M.D., Ph.D., and member of MCIRCC, along with a team of U-M researchers, in partnership with medical device company MC3, were awarded a $2.3 million NIH/NHLBI SBIR Phase IIb grant to advance the commercialization of the MC3 automatic perfusion system (APS) prototype, a simple-to-use, highly integrated, cardio-pulmonary support device capable of full automated, controlled restoration of blood flow following cardiac arrest.  


The use of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) in the treatment of refractory cardiac arrest, a technique known as ECPR, has been shown to reduce central nervous system damage, improve brain function after recovery, and result in survival-to-hospital discharge rates up to 40 percent. A limiting factor for widespread adoption of ECPR is the need for a simple automatic perfusion system that is inherently safe, and provides full support with minimal operator intervention.  


"This prototype is a great example of the synergies that can occur when U-M faculty successfully partner with an outside company," says Kevin Ward, M.D., Executive Director of FFMI. "By combining our research with their resources and expertise, the product moves more quickly to market and positively impacts human health."


Hacking Health

Collaboration event helps healthcare innovators cross borders 

FFMI was a sponsor of the 1st annual Hacking Health Windsor/Detroit digital medicine Hackathon at TechTown Detroit on May 1-3.  


U-M faculty Michael Lanham, M.D., Assistant Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, won two awards for Best Caregiver/Patient Management Application and Best Clinical Application for his app "OnTrack," a service that puts a patient back in control of her fertility treatment cycles.


About 225 people participated at this event that brings together IT and healthcare professionals across the US-Canada border to collaborate, dream up, and design apps for patient-centric care.  


CLICK HERE to check out video from the event.  


Out and About With FFMI

Team members take part in local business enrichment programs  

Entrepreneur Showcase

Join FFMI Commercialization Director Brad Martin as he co-hosts this MichBio event highlighting six advanced life science technology companies from SE Michigan.  


Wednesday, June 3 

5:00pm networking, 6:00pm program 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central

330 E. Liberty, Lower Level

Ann Arbor

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


Women Building Success in Biosciences 

Come see Stephanie Morley, FFMI Associate Director for Business Development, at MichBio's event featuring accomplished women from a variety of bioscience backgrounds as they come together to share personal and work-related

successes. Stephanie's session is at 1:15pm. 


Tuesday, June 9


Kensington Court

610 Hilton Blvd.

Ann Arbor

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


Lycera Takes the Next Step

Clinical trials begin for drug developed at U-M and licensed to spinoff based on campus 

Lycera, a U-M spinoff company, announced it has launched Phase I clinical trials of a drug that seeks to treat the inflamed intestines of people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The trial, Lycera's first, will assess its safety in healthy volunteers.


Robin Rasor, the managing director of licensing for U-M, says "The Tech Transfer Office is very pleased to celebrate Lycera's first compound making it to the clinic, and we look forward to not only this compound continuing through the regulatory process but also for additional compounds to come from Lycera, adding to U-M's portfolio of therapeutics in the clinic and on the market."  


CLICK HERE to read the full article. 


Innovate Blue Appoints New Director 

Oscar Ybarra to lead U-M entrepreneurial effort  

The entrepreneurial spirit is thriving at U-M and Oscar Ybarra is ready to keep the momentum going as the new director of Innovate Blue, U-M's campus-wide entrepreneurial effort.  


Ybarra, professor of psychology and an entrepreneur whose start-up company helps people maintain cognitive health and mental sharpness, will succeed Thomas Zurbuchen who will step down July 1.  


CLICK HERE to read the full article. 


"Top 40 under 40" in Ophthalmology

Two U-M faculty included in prestigious list for 2015  

Thiran Jayasundera, M.D. and Cagri Besirli, M.D. made the "2015 Top 40 Under 40 Power List" from The Ophthalmologist. The list highlights the young, up-and-coming individuals set to rise to the top of their field.  


Jayasundera is an FFMI MTRAC awardee for EyeAnalyze and Besirli is part of an FFMI Kickstart team for a Cryo-Anesthesia device.


CLICK HERE to view the full article. 


Save the Date! U-M Medical School Alumni Reception in Chicago 

Mark your calendars for a trip to the Windy City to attend a U-M Medical School interactive panel discussion and Alumni Reception.


Thursday, June 4, 2015


MATTER Chicago, Merchandise Mart


Speakers include;

Steven Gay, MD., U-M Assistant Dean of Admissions, discusses educating the next generation of physician leaders 


Kevin Ward, M.D., Director of U-M Fast Forward Medical Innovation, discusses entrepreneurship in a rapidly changing health care environment 


Elif Oker, M.D., Medical Director, Clinical Strategy and Innovation, Blue Cross Blue Shield, will discuss education and leadership in an emerging healthcare  


Email Trish Roma to RSVP for this event, or contact Laura Boudette with any questions. 

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.