March 2016


Is There A Code for That? Expert Advice From A Payor

Wednesday, March 16


Oliphant-Marshall Auditorium, Kellogg Eye Center

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


Marcia Hatch: Getting Ahead of the Challenges Your Start-Up Will Face 

Thursday, March 17


Taubman Health Sciences Library, Rm. 5000

Lunch included!

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

Kellogg researchers develop new nanoparticle with potential to treat ocular cancer

A new weapon in the fight against children's brain tumors developed at U-M

U-M researchers find noninvasive way to view insulin in pancreas

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UMMS Office of Research

Medicine at Michigan

U-M Business Engagement Center

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U-M Main Page



MTRAC Team Wins Grand Prize in Michigan Business Challenge 

Students win $30,000 to kick-start their business  

After months of competition, business plan refinement, and presentations to advisors, PreDxion won the $30,000 grand prize in seed funding at this year's Michigan Business Challenge, sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute.   
PreDxion, based on an MTRAC award-winning technology from the lab of Dr. Tim Cornell, M.D., FAAP, helps physicians easily monitor the immune responses of cancer patients as they go through immunotherapy. Caroline Landau, M.B.A. '16, and Walker McHugh, M.S.E. '17, are PreDxion's co-founders who participated in the Michigan Business Challenge.

"We believe that our technology will fundamentally change the way these patients are treated," the team said. "This will allow greater success in this nascent field and even more discovery." 

New Treatment for Obstructive
Sleep Apnea   

An alternative to CPAP, oral drug addresses root cause of disorder 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a growing problem estimated to affect up to 20% of Americans. It is characterized by repeated episodes of upper-airway obstruction, and a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues during sleep.
Currently, the main treatment for OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), which is delivered by a mechanical device and mask that keep the upper airway open during sleep. Although CPAP controls the disorder, it is not always comfortable and up to 50% of patients don't use it as regularly as needed.
University of Michigan faculty, led by Tiffany Braley, M.D., M.S., are evaluating a potential pharmacologic alternative to CPAP, using an immune response altering therapy to address the inflammatory changes that may, in part, drive OSA.
"A successful pharmacological treatment for OSA would be a groundbreaking advance," says Dr. Braley. "OSA can raise the risk for serious health consequences including hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. The sleepiness that affected patients often develop is a significant contributor to sleep-related motor vehicle accidents and reduced workplace productivity."
Dr. Braley, and co-investigators Ronald Chervin, M.D., M.S., and Benjamin Segal, M.D., are focusing on Dimethyl Fumarate (DMF), an immune modulating compound that suppresses inflammation and may activate genes that protect cells from oxidative stress. This compound is already FDA-approved for multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory disease of the nervous system. The team's research could now provide key insight into brand new immunological therapeutic targets for OSA, as well as pave the way for future studies of cell-protecting agents to improve OSA treatment.
"MTRAC funding and support has been crucial to our efforts to identify a therapeutic for one of the most common and consequential conditions in the U.S.," says Dr. Braley. "This first-of-its kind drug could offer vital insight into new pharmacological targets to reduce the medical and economic consequences of untreated OSA."
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 Obstructive Sleep Apnea 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, and 12 teams will be funded in 2016.

Cheers to the Latest Kickstart Awardees

Award for developing early proof of concept 

FFMI recently announced the latest awardees for its Kickstart early-stage fundraising program.


Kickstart Awards, made possible by the U-M Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences Program (MTRAC), the William Davidson Foundation, and the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, 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 new Kickstart team is:

Dr. Suzanna Zick, N.D., M.P.H and Dr. Rick Harris, Ph.D.  

Development and Feasibility of an Acupressure Application Tailored by Breast Cancer   


May 18 FFMI Innovation Cup 

Shark Tank-style competition highlights MTRAC-funded research 

Save the date for the afternoon of Wednesday, May 18 as a select group of MTRAC teams compete in the Innovation Cup, FFMI's shark-tank style pitch competition hosted in conjunction with the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium at the Marriott Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti, Michigan. More details coming soon!


Next Cubing Event in March     

Cubes still available for Medical School faculty 

While many of you have already secured cubes, others may not have acted yet. There is still time to form a multi-unit team and request a classic cube (worth $60K) or mini-cube (worth 15K)!


The next opportunity to request a cube will occur in mid to late March, with more details coming soon. Learn more about MCubed 2.0. And don't miss the information about perks for cubes that address sustainability topics or themes of the University of Michigan's Bicentennial!  



Email or visit for more information. 


U-M Team Receives $9.2M NIH Grant to Study C. Difficile 

Research will seek new ways to prevent and treat infections that kill more than 14,000 Americans each year 

U-M researchers have launched a $9.2 million assault against C. difficile, sometimes pronounced "see-diff" for short. They're doing it thanks to a new grant from the National Institutes of Health -- part of the U.S. government's $1.2 billion effort for a multi-agency attack on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 

The work will build on earlier achievements of the Medical School's Host Microbiome Initiative, part of the Strategic Research Initiative and a Fast Forward program, led by Harry Mobley, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology; Thomas Schmidt, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., director of the Center for Microbial Systems; and Vincent Young, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases division.

CLICK HERE to read the full announcement, or visit the Host Microbiome Initiative website to learn more about their research. 

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.