September 2015

FFMI House Staff Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program- 34-week course offers a lecture hour during each Wednesday night session that is open to anyone
Kellogg Eye Center, Oliphant-Marshall Auditorium
CLICK HERE for the upcoming lecture agenda
Moving from Idea to Execution
Wednesday, Sept. 16
Towsley Center for Continuing Medical Education, Sheldon Auditorium
CLICK HERE for more information and to register for this FREE FFMI session
September IHPI Seminars share communication and funding tips & tricks
CLICK HERE for more details

Early Tech Development Course - 4-week course in October and November 2015
CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE program

Celebrate Invention!
3:00pm-6:00pm, Thursday, Oct. 8
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

Idea to Impact: The Medical Device Translational Pathway
Thursday, Oct. 29
BSRB - Seminar Rooms
CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE FFMI session
U-M to launch $100-million big data project

Genomic sequencing may benefit some childhood cancer patients

Urine-based test improves prostate cancer detection

Circulating tumor cell assays may aid bladder cancer care

U-M Medical School

UMMS Office of Research

Medicine at Michigan

U-M Business Engagement Center

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A Message from the Executive Director  

Dear Colleagues,null

FFMI's educational and funding programs continue to rapidly deploy and scale to our innovators - we received 28 proposals from faculty earlier this week for year three of our MTRAC mid-stage funding program, and the third round of our ground-breaking Early Technology Development Program will be kicking off in early October.

However, successfully nurturing innovation is not limited to funding and education for only seasoned faculty researchers. Last month, in partnership with the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship, we launched the House Staff Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program. This first-of-its-kind program at the University of Michigan (and perhaps the country) gives Medical School departments the opportunity to invest in their house staff through a 34-week course that teaches via experiential learning in multidisciplinary teams. Ultimately, it will provide clinical departments with de-risked ideas that have the potential to mature into viable biomedical innovations.

Additionally, later this month we will be hosting an educational session specifically for postdoctoral staff. Part of the Medical School Office of Research's menu of activities celebrating Postdoc Appreciation Week, "To Infinity and Beyond: How Postdocs Can Get Involved in Biomedical Commercialization" brings a panel of guest experts to campus to discuss the crucial role postdocs can play on the path to commercialization - both here at the University, and beyond.  It is our hope that such programs will add a new and unique dimension to one of our most valuable innovation assets: The Postdoc!

Lastly, FFMI is working with the Medical School's new curriculum to create a Path of Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship - stay tuned as those plans continue to mature.

Across a spectrum of expertise, educational programs like these are a key component in expanding the culture of innovation at the U-M Medical School to include the next generation, and to ultimately having a positive impact on patient lives.

Best regards,

Kevin Ward, M.D.
Executive Director
Fast Forward Medical Innovation 

MCubed 2.0 Launched! 

Second MCubed cycle features new cubes for more funding opportunities 

MCubed, the University of Michigan's one-of-a-kind funding program designed to spark innovative research without traditional peer review, is launching its second cycle this month.
The U-M Medical School is contributing $1M towards this round of the program, anticipating that 180 cubes including Med School faculty will be formed. 2,500+ faculty with a 50% or greater appointment with the Medical School will receive a token that allows them to seek MCubed collaborators.  
MCubed 2.0 will now feature two different kinds of cubes - the "classic cube" funded at $60K, and a "mini cube" at $15K. Teams will now be free to spend up to 50% of the funding on research-related costs beyond personnel. The program will be phasing in its features and functionalities, including:
RED PHASE: Currently, faculty can update their profiles, use keywords to search for collaborators, and learn about the new program requirements for MCubed 2.0. Faculty who participated in MCubed 1.0 (2012-2014 cycle) can also enter their cube's achievements.
YELLOW PHASE: Beginning in mid--September, faculty can create projects, comment on others' project ideas, and invite collaborators to join their projects. They can essentially "fill" their projects so that three tokens are committed.
GREEN PHASE: In early October, the MCubed website will activate the "request a cube" button so that faculty project owners (the person who created the project and invited the other two collaborators to join) can officially seek a cube, either $60K (classic cube) or $15K (mini cube).

CLICK HERE to go to the MCubed 2.0 webpage to learn more.
As MCubed token holders progress through the red phase, updating their profiles and beginning to seek collaborators, they'll see a new, improved website that helps faculty navigate the cubing process, and there will be general information sessions throughout September and early October:     
  • Friday, September 18, 9:00am-11:00am, Palmer Commons, Great Lakes North Room 
  • Wednesday, September 23, 9:00am-11:00am, Michigan League, Michigan Room
  • Wednesday, September 23, 1:00pm-3:00pm, Union, Pond Room
  • Friday, October 2, 1:00pm-3:00pm Pierpont Commons, Boulevard Room

Additionally, the Medical School and other collaborating schools are offering a session specific to biomedical innovation:
MCubed Health Brainstorming
Wednesday, September 23
Seminar Rooms, BSRB
CLICK HERE for more information
Watch the MCubed website for more details, and questions about the cubing process can be directed to Medical School faculty with specific questions can contact Jessica Durkin.      


Predicting Individual Outcomes for Rapid Intervention (PRIORI) - New Smartphone App to Predict Bipolar Mood Swings 

MTRAC project uses acoustics to predict changing mood states 

Bipolar disorder (BP) is characterized by mood swings that can range from depressive lows to manic highs. In addition, BP can affect energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
The current standard of care and approach to BP management is regular clinical appointments where a health care provider assesses the patient to determine if current treatment is sufficient and effective. But there are currently no biological markers or measures that accurately and objectively quantify the severity of depression or intensity of mania.
University of Michigan researchers, Melvin McInnis, M.D., Emily Provost, Ph.D., Satinder Singh Baveja, Ph.D., and John Gideon, M.S., developed a program called Predicting Individual Outcomes for Rapid Intervention (PRIORI) that uses a smartphone app to record changes in acoustic features of speech (volume, speed, and pitch) as well as patterns of daily smartphone use among patients to predict impending mood changes.
The data is gathered from the patient's daily telephone conversations. The outgoing speech is recorded, encrypted, and sent over the digital network to a central processing server for computational analyses of speech acoustics.
Smartphone usage is also studied in order to assess any personal interactive patterns reflected by personal data usage features such as sites visited, calls, texts, GPS locales, and battery usage.
"Analyses will focus on identifying the feature with the earliest pattern change indication," says Dr. McInnis. "This will help develop the predictive probability for a mood change and prevent bipolar episodes. From a public health perspective, the impact of preventing episodes is considerable because it would effectively transfer clinical practice to a "prevention" mode from its current "intervention" mode."
The next phase of this research will be a large interactive and interventional clinical trial that will test the efficacy of using this device to guide clinical management.
"MTRAC support and business development guidance has been extremely beneficial in showing us how to move this device from trial to the public realm in order to help people suffering from mood disorders."
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 PRIORI 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.

FFMI Pilots New "Office Hours" 

As part of the ongoing efforts to nurture a culture of innovation for U-M Medical School faculty at all levels of engagement, starting later this month FFMI team members will be piloting "Office Hours."

Featuring 15-minute block scheduling and a convenient location within the select department, Office Hour appointments will be considerably shorter than one of our Idea Consultation meetings and offer an extremely focused discussion with an FFMI commercialization expert. Faculty will come away from an appointment with a commercial assessment of their research and a suggested path of suitable resources here at the U-M, and beyond.

The Physiology Department will be the pilot department for Office Hours on Tuesday, September 29, 1:30PM-4:30PM in the MIP Library. Contact Nick DeHaan at to schedule an appointment in advance, or with any questions.

Learn About Dynamic Respiratory Impedance Volume Evaluation  

New video highlights innovative diagnostic

click here to view video

Dynamic Respiratory Impedance Volume Evaluation (DRIVE) is a non-invasive method that monitors a patient's circulating blood volume without the risks of a more invasive treatment.


DRIVE was developed by U-M faculty Mohamad Hakam Tiba, M.D., Kevin Ward, M.D., Albert Shih, Ph.D., and Barry Belmont, M.S. The team is also developing a small wearable and wireless device that will support the DRIVE method.  


CLICK HERE to check out a diagnostic.  


Entrepalooza 2015: Entrepreneurship through a Kaleidoscope   

Gain valuable insight from successful entrepreneurs 

The Zell Lurie Institute, along with several entrepreneurial programs across campus, will host the annual entrepreneurial symposium, Entrepalooza, on Friday, September 25 at the Michigan League.

This year will focus on "Entrepreneurship Through the Kaleidoscope"  and feature a keynote address from Katherine "Katty" Kay, lead anchor of BBC World News America and co-author of The Confidence Code, along with interactive sessions from several successful Michigan entrepreneurs. Discussions will explore how diversity in teams, ideas, and backgrounds can empower an entrepreneurial journey.

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

BioConnections Investment Opportunity with Sandbox Industries 

Executive summaries due by September 11! 

BioConnections is MichBio's business growth referral program. Through this program, MichBio connects bioscience companies, entrepreneurs, and researchers with a host of companies, institutions, and individuals including vendors, suppliers, consultants, thought leaders, investors/funders, business development/licensing executives, and CEOs.  

On Friday, September 25, BioConnections welcomes Sandbox Industries, a Chicago-based venture capital firm, that focuses on connecting established corporations, or incumbents, with disruptive startups, or innovators, across several lines of business. The firm is interested in any company that is strategically relevant to health insurance within the healthcare IT and tech-enabled services space. Act today - executive summaries are due September 11!

CLICK HERE for more information on application qualifications and instructions.

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.