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Summer 2013
A Newsletter from the UMass Office of Economic Development
UMass Supports State Goals in Life Sciences
Conducting World-Class R&D
Technology Commercialization & Entrepreneurship
Developing Future Talent
Economic Analysis for the Commonwealth





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 Tom Chmura

Vice President for

Economic Development



Doug Banks

Associate Vice President for Economic Development



 UMass Donahue Institute

Lynn Griesemer

Executive Director;

Associate Vice President for Economic Development


 Commercial Ventures & Intellectual Property (CVIP)

William Rosenberg

Executive Director



 Mass. Tech Transfer Center

Abigail Barrow







UMass Amherst  

James Capistran

Executive Director, UMass Innovation Institute



 UMass Boston

John Ciccarelli

Associate Vice Chancellor for Govt. Relations & Public Affairs



 UMass Dartmouth

 Paul Vigeant

Associate Chancellor for Economic Development



 UMass Lowell

 Renae Lias Claffey

Director, External Relations for Research Development



 UMass Medical School

 James Leary

Vice Chancellor,

Community & Govt. Relations






Life Science Laboratories

UMass Amherst

Opening Summer 2013 

  Amherst Life Science Laboratory      

More details here 








Integrated Sciences Complex

UMass Boston

Opening mid-2014

  UMB Integrated Sciences Bldg     

Press Release 










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BioPharm America 2013


September 17 - 19, 2013

Westin Boston Waterfront


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AdvaMed 2013


September 23 - 25, 2013

Washington, DC

      AdvaMed 2013     

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eHealth Business Marketplace & Conference


October 22 - 23, 2013

Boston, MA

      eHealth Conf     

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MassMEDIC's Annual MedTech Investors Conference


November 1, 2013

Campus Center

UMass Boston


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Global Cleantech Meetup 2013


November 12 - 14, 2013

Seaport World Trade Center

200 Seaport Blvd, Boston

  Cleantech Meetup    

Register Here 







November 13, 2013

Gillette Stadium



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InnovationSpotlight is an electronic newsletter
designed to highlight research and development, 
innovation and technology across the University of Massachusetts and its five campuses and their
impact on the Commonwealth's innovation economy.

UMass Supports State Goals in Life Sciences; Amherst Secures $95M in Funding 


Robert L. Caret

Dear Friends of UMass:


As a public university, UMass seeks to marshal its expertise for the purpose of building better economic futures for our citizens and communities -- and thus I was honored to recently join Gov. Deval Patrick and other state, academic and business  leaders to celebrate the largest economic development grant in the University's history:  $100.5 million in funding for life-sciences projects in western Massachusetts.  The funding  from the Mass. Life Sciences Center included $95 million for UMass Amherst and $5.5 million for the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, a joint venture of Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and UMass Amherst.


The two grants marked the latest infusion of life sciences funding that has helped fuel the University of Massachusetts' research enterprise. Since 2008, life sciences-related research and development funding to the five-campus system has increased by 38 percent to $340 million. The life sciences area now comprises more than half of the University's nearly $600 million in R & D expenditures and drives our technology commercialization and licensing success, with $54 million in earnings in 2012.


The process that led to the new life sciences grants was the product of an unprecedented effort unique for the extent of the collaboration among academia, industry, and government. The planning effort, led by UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Mike Malone and involving more than 90 faculty and staff, would not have been possible without the help of key industry partners: Susan Windham-Bannister and  the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center team; Bob Coughlin and MassBio; Tom Sommer and MassMedic; Mark Trusheim and Co-Bio Consulting; and  scores of stakeholder groups that met with faculty and administration and state government over a six month-period.


The $95M grant for UMass Amherst will fund construction to fit out and equip a substantial portion of the University's new $157 million Life Sciences Laboratories, which will house three new research centers in Personalized Health Monitoring, focused on developing nanotechnology based sensors and large dataset management to improve health care; Bioactive Delivery, focused on developing targeted delivery systems for new drug and "nutriceutical" compounds; and Models to Medicine, focused on translating basic protein research by UMass Amherst experts into new therapeutic targets.  In addition, the $5.5M PVLSI grant will support the development of a new Center of Innovation in Health Informatics and Technology in Springfield, focused on population health management, health care quality, "big data" analytics, and mobile health.


The overall investment is an outstanding example of how world-class research at UMass, in support of the goals of the Commonwealth, can create a dynamic and prosperous future for Massachusetts. Whether in such areas as medical device development or biomanufacturing, where we have formed many strong industry partnerships, or in new research areas, we are committed to doing all we can to grow technology transfer and translate inventions into products and services that will make life better for all of us.




Robert L. Caret





UMass President's S&T Fund Awards 6 Grants

UMass President Caret announced nearly $830,000 in grants to faculty members from the President's Science and Technology Initiatives Fund to support six promising research projects ranging from creating a laboratory for urban and coastal environmental science to developing a translational research center for identifying and validating new drug targets to expand the university's ability to manufacture to therapeutic "vectors" for the growing area of gene-therapy research. Since 2004, the S&T Fund has provided $9.1 million to UMass researchers, which in turn has helped to generate $214 million in funding from outside sources and has helped lead to important R&D centers such as the Center for Hierarchical Nanomanufacturing at UMass Amherst, the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy at UMass Boston, the Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing at UMass Dartmouth, Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) and New England Robotics and Validation & Experimentation (NERVE) Center at UMass Lowell, and the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science at UMass Worcester. 

Read the Press Release



UMass President Awards Creative Economy Grants

UMass President Caret announced more than $250,000 in grants from the President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund to support 11 projects by UMass faculty members that promote the arts, culture and other creative enterprises in Massachusetts.  The initiatives include establishing a Massachusetts Native American Trail, producing a series of dramatic staged readings paying tribute to the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and bringing to life the story of the new Cambodian refugee population in Lowell.  The fund was created in 2007, and since then it has made 65 awards totaling more than $1.8M. 

Read the Press Release



UMass Center for Clinical & Translational Science (UMCCTS) Awards Moment Fund Grants

The UMCCTS recently announced the 2013 recipients of Life Sciences Moment Fund (LSMF) pilot program.  Each team is made up of at least one faculty member from the Worcester campus collaborating with faculty from one or more of the other four UMass campuses. With these latest awards, the LSMF has now supported 22 projects since the program began in 2009.  For more information, see the UMCCTS website.



As Construction Continues, RFP Issued for Biomanufacturing Accelerator Management

MAB BuildingConstruction of the $32M Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing (MAB) in Fall River recently passed the midpoint and is scheduled for occupancy in late October. The MAB will be fully operational in January 2014 and includes four "cGMP-like" production suites, a QA/QC lab, an R&D suite, areas for process development and production training, education and training labs, lecture halls, and client offices. The UMass Dartmouth facility is designed to promote and accelerate drug discovery and development, including new products such as tissue engineering and biomaterials. It also provides a unique educational environment for workforce training and biomanufacturing research at production scale.  A formal Request for Proposals has been issued to retain the services of an organization or team of individuals to manage and operate the facility. The MAB is a joint initiative with the Massachusetts Life Science Center which invested $21M in the project.  To learn more about the RFP process, please visit the MAB website.



UMass Scientists Silence Extra Chromosome in Down Syndrome Cells

Scientists at UMass Medical School are the first to establish that a naturally occurring X chromosome "off switch" can be rerouted to neutralize the extra chromosome responsible for trisomy 21, also known as Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by cognitive impairment.  This finding opens multiple new avenues for translational scientists to study Down Syndrome in ways not previously possible. 

Read more at UMass Med NOW



Neurobiology Prof. is Latest to Join UMMS 'Howard Hughes' Researchers

Marc. R. Freeman
A leader in the study of glial cells, the brain's most abundant and overlooked cell type, Marc R. Freeman, associate professor of neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is among 27 new Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators named from 19 institutions across the United States. Through one of the most prestigious and sought-after scientific awards in the world, HHMI is committing approximately $150 million to support some of the nation's most innovative scientists over the next five years. Of the 27 new scientists who have won the coveted funding, a third are from Massachusetts - a greater concentration than any other region in the U.S..  Freeman joins five other HHMI Investigators at UMass Medical School.

Read more at UMass Medical School News



Lowell Hosts Biopharmaceutical Summit

UMass Lowell hosted its 2nd Biopharmaceutical Summit, where scientists and researchers discussed the challenges of creating medications using biotechnology, and shared breakthroughs and success stories. The summit was presented by the Biopharmaceutical Process and Quality Consortium (BPQC), a new research, development and education collaborative, led by faculty member Seongkyu Yoon and based at the Massachusetts BioManufacturing Center at UMass Lowell, which assists biotechnology companies in bringing their scientific discoveries to market.  Learn more about the consortium and how you can participate. 



Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences Maintains Worcester Partnerships

Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, and the UMass Medical School Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS), has received praise from Worcester-based Grove Instruments, which is developing a painless, bloodless noninvasive glucose testing product for diabetes. The company has been receiving assistance from CCTS for its clinical trials. The CEO of Grove Instruments, Arthur H. Combs, has expressed his satisfaction in working with CCTS in a recent letter to Dr. Luzuriaga, saying, "Professionalism, competence, and the respect for the patients were recurring themes."

Read more about CCTS



UMass Dartmouth Appoints Provost with Track Record of Building Partnerships 

Mohammad A. Karim

UMass Dartmouth has announced the appointment of Dr. Mohammad A. Karim, vice president for research at Old Dominion University in Virginia, as Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.  Among his other accomplishments at ODU includes facilitating development of the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium; securing of federal/state appropriations of more than $60 M for programs in energy, modeling, simulation and visualization, bioelectrics, transportation, oceans studies, robotics and vision; development of a research park in Norfolk that resulted in co-location of ten research units and several non-ODU partners; and establishment of a $13 M, 60,000 sq. ft. research facility to house the Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center and eight start-up companies.   

Read the Press Release




UMass Supports 'Proof-of-Concept' Legislation 

Babs Soller
Babs Soller

The University of Massachusetts has put its support behind the passage of legislation titled "An Act to Further Commercialization and Job Creation Thru Innovation at Research Universities." Tom Chmura, Vice President for Economic Development in the UMass President's Office, Abi Barrow, Director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center in the UMass President's Office and Babs Soller, Professor at the UMass Medical School advocated before the Joint Committee on Higher Education for the passage of legislation that would advance the commercialization of university technology and the creation of start-up companies via "proof of concept" grants. Industry supporters include the Mass. Competitive Partnership, Mass. High Tech Council, MassBIO, MassMedic and Mass Tech Leadership Council, among others.

Read the White Paper


UMB Entrepreneurship Center Names New Director

David McFarlane
David McFarlane

David McFarlane has been appointed Director of the Entrepreneurship Center in the UMass Boston College of Management. He joins Jim Counihan and Michael Gaiss, two entrepreneurs-in-residence at the Venture Development Center, dedicated to helping launch the best startups in Boston.

McFarlane co-founded Akiban Technologies. Before that, he was the COO of Imlogic, which was acquired by Symantec for $90 M. He was also President & COO of Xchange Inc. In his blog, McFarlane said, "Boston is on the edge of a new wave of entrepreneurial opportunity ... At UMass Boston I have found a pragmatic drive to applied education. Combine that with the student's renown for hard work and gritty determination and you have the recipe that puts UMass Boston above the rest."


MTTC Organizes 6th Annual MALSI Day 

The MTTC had one of its most successful MALSI days ever, bringing together over 350 scientific leaders, business experts, innovators, post-docs, faculty, entrepreneurs and investors to interact with 31 groups of presenters with innovative and potentially commercial ideas (including 3 from UMass - Dartmouth, Lowell and the Med School). The Med School team, led by Artem Kutikov, a student of Prof Jie Song of Orthopedics, was ranked #3 among an expert panel of judges. In addition, Doug Banks moderated a panel on "the future of the academic industrial context" with Amherst Vice Chancellor of Research Mike Malone and executives from Joslin Diabetes Center, Merck and Millennium.
Read more from the MALSI Notebook


Winners Named in M2D2 New Venture Competition 

Three startups - Little Sparrows, Cellanyx Diagnostics, and BioSignostix - were named the 2013 winners of the Second Annual Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) New Venture Competition awards program, which seeks out the most promising new medical device technologies in Massachusetts.  The winners were announced at an awards ceremony at the headquarters of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP in Boston's Innovation District in April. The annual M2D2 New Venture Competition is open to Massachusetts-based medical device technology startup businesses and inventors.

Read more from the Press Release


MTTC Holds 9th Early Stage Life Science Conference

Abi Barrow
Abi Barrow
The MTTC successfully held it 9th Early Stage Life Sciences conference at Merck's Research Laboratories in Longwood in April. The conference featured "pitches" to the investment and corporate community by 14 newly formed companies and an additional 6 poster presentations from researchers and about to be formed companies. These included 2 UMass Medical School spin-offs -Synubi Pharmaceuticals (focused on the development of drugs for neurological disorders) and Advirna (focused on the commercialization of RNAi reagents).  
Read more on the Conference Notebook


Research NEXT Launches New Innovation & Entrepreneurship Gateway

UMass Amherst's Research NEXT website has launched a new gateway especially for innovation and entrepreneurship.  This gateway features more in-depth information on the UMass Innovation Institute, Center for e-Design and Center for Entrepreneurship.   This site also alerts users to upcoming competitions and courses, as well as links to useful resources such as CVIP Technology Transfer, Mass Life Sciences Innovation Day 2013 and the Scibelli Enterprise Center. 

Visit Research NEXT Innovation and Entrepreneurship for more information.


UMass Amherst Startup Perfects 'Science of Inventiveness' 

Innovation Accelerator is a new startup company that creates software to help companies solve their worst nightmares, design their best products, and create their brightest inventions in a scientific, systematic, effective way. The company uses "sideways thinking" to inspire a lot of problem solving, meeting of the minds, and glitch busting. Innovation Accelerator is the brainchild of Tony McCaffrey, a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for e-Design of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Dept. at UMass Amherst. The CEO of the new startup is MIE alumnus James O. Pearson, and its first product -- its Analogy Finder Software -- is based on a simple observation: Most creative breakthroughs arise through analogy, just another word for sideways thinking. 

Read more at UMass Amherst Mechanical & Industrial Engineering News



UMass Leads Regional Partnership Academies for Advanced Manufacturing

Mike Goodman

UMass continued its leadership role in advanced manufacturing through its participation in the June 20 Advanced Manufacturing Summit held at Gillette Stadium, which attracted nearly 500 participants. UML Chancellor Marty Meehan offered a luncheon keynote address, and UMass was named as a major partner of the Commonwealth by Gov. Patrick, who announced the creation of the "Advanced Manufacturing Regional Partnership Academy," a first-in-the-nation program to be led by UMass designed to help meet the manufacturing industry's future workforce needs in regions across the state. The Academy will provide hands-on learning opportunities and peer education to regional leaders, helping eliminate one of the industry's chief concerns of finding well-trained employees to fill available jobs in manufacturing.  Mike Goodman, Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Public Policy at the Dartmouth campus, in collaboration with the Amherst campus and the Donahue Institute, is leading the effort and will work with existing programs that bring together manufacturing companies and community colleges, career and technical high schools, career centers and workforce boards.

Read more at Mass.gov


UMass Boston Improves Graduation Rates in STEM

Retention and graduation rates in STEM disciplines are of national concern, since current data show them to be below those in other fields. UMass Boston's College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) is a minority-majority college with large numbers of first-generation, low-income students - and it has shown a 400% increase in freshman enrollments during the past six years. To increase the diversity as well as the number of STEM graduates, CSM revamped advising, academic support, and orientation strategies, incorporating a major-centered, co-enrollment cohort approach (Freshman Success Communities) that launched in Fall 2009 and has grown to 13 communities for Fall 2013, serving nearly 60% of incoming freshmen. FSC retention is 89%, more than 10 points higher than UMass Boston overall, and students complete, on average, a full year of STEM courses with mean GPAs over 2.9. Over 70% of upper division FSC students remain enrolled, predominantly in STEM majors, and on-track for timely graduation.

Read more at the Student Success Center


VDC Wins $256K from City of Boston for Life Science Startup Internship Program

55% of the life science companies hiring interns through the Mass Life Science Intern Challenge are startup companies, yet only 13% of those hired come from the public colleges and universities in the Boston area, where most biotech startup companies take root. 


Over three years, and with $256,000 in funds from the City of Boston, the UMass Boston Venture Development Center will develop, market and deliver an on-line training course targeting students who are close to graduating with associate, bachelor and graduate degrees at five area public institutions of higher education, particularly those working to support their education. The primary objective is to place these participants into paid internships with entry-level functions in rapidly growing startup companies in the Life Sciences and Healthcare.


The life science startup training is modeled after UMass Boston's successful high tech internship program, through which 118 internships have been awarded to its students. The high tech companies have paid a total of $792,000 in wages to the interns, and 73% of the interns convert to full-time employment. 


UML Student Team Wins Natick Labs First Hackathon

A UMass Lowell student team composed of three Computer Science majors and one Nutrition Sciences major won first place at the first-ever weekend hackathon led by the U.S. Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center. The event was held at "hack/reduce" in Cambridge on June 28-29.  The challenge was to develop mobile apps that would help soldiers properly nourish themselves in the field, based on their MREs ("Meals Ready to Eat"). The students were given an extensive data set on the nutritional properties of all of the MREs to use in their app.  (All of the R&D for the MREs is done at the Natick labs.).  It was one of 11 teams and won the grand prize, $3,000, for its app, MARTEE (Mobile Access Ration Tracker and Energy Expenditure).  An online presentation of their work is available at Challenge.gov


Idea Challenge Sparks Creative Solutions at Lowell

The DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge at UMass Lowell is a new program for student teams to submit proposals for their chance to advance to the Idea Challenge grand finale.  The prize money, in awards ranging from $500 to $5,000 will help students file for patents, purchase supplies and equipment, develop marketing plans and bring their ideas to the next stage.  The Idea Challenge attracted dozens of students from 25 academic departments representing all six of UMass Lowell's schools and colleges. 

Read more on the UMass Lowell website 



UMass Amherst Leads Study of Casino Impacts

A team led by the UMass Amherst School of Public Health will study the social and economic impacts of planned casino gaming in Massachusetts.   This research study, expected to be worth more than $11M over 3-6 years, includes a close examination of the economic development and revenue generation impacts to the local, regional and state economies.  The UMass Donahue Institute, as a subcontractor, will lead all aspects of economic research. The project will establish a baseline of economic and fiscal conditions prior to implementation of casinos in the state, and then measure and isolate the actual impacts as they occur over the next few years.  This is a critical aspect of research as stipulated in the Massachusetts statute to estimate the economic impact (jobs, income) and state/local revenue generated by the planned casino facilities.

Read more at Boston.com

MassBenchmarks: Federal Fiscal Policies Slowing Mass. Economy

Although the state's housing market seems to be experiencing a surge, Massachusetts' economy is slowing down, as evidenced by a one percent annualized rate of growth in April and May and the continued struggles of the state's labor force. Read more, including the full bulletin: MassBenchmarks

Donahue Institute to Study State Economic Impacts of Sequestration

The State Sequestration Task Force recommended funding for a Donahue Institute study to provide economic impact modeling of federal sequestration spending cuts on Massachusetts. The project to be managed by Administration and Finance, MassDevelopment and the Mass Life Sciences Center is intended to provide the state with customized analysis across the specific areas of spending cuts, developing the kind of insight and data-driven information to support policies and practices to help deal with the key impacts of sequestration to the defense sector, research institutions, social service providers and the broader economy.


Donahue's reference to the impacts of sequestration in the recent edition of MassBenchmarks also received notable press coverage last week.


Donahue Institute Publishes Study of Pioneer Valley Regional Economy

Business growth in the Pioneer Valley during the period known as the Great Recession remained relatively resilient, despite facing the greatest global economic crisis in recent history, according to a study of businesses in Western Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley completed by the UMass Donahue Institute's Economic and Public Policy Research (EPPR) group.

Read more at the UMass Donahue Institute News Room
To learn more about the University's Economic Development efforts, please call 617-287-4087