Year: 2016

OVPR Quarterly Reports

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to provide you with several reports relating to sponsored program activity—both research and education/service—managed by Sponsored Program Services within the Office of the Vice President for Research at UConn and UConn Health. These reports include:

In the reports, data is presented in two ways: by the PI’s Academic Home Department and by the Managing Department or Center/Institute. Please refer to the first pages of the reports for definitions and information regarding the data.

Should you have any questions regarding these quarterly reports, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

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Dr. Jeff Seemann
Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health

UConn_research unleashed

Research Excellence Program Announcement

Dear Colleagues,

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 Research Excellence Program (REP) for the Storrs/Regional Campuses and for UConn Health. The primary goal of the Research Excellence Program is to provide seed funding to fuel innovative research, scholarship, and creative endeavors with strong potential for significant extramural funding from federal and state sponsors, corporations, industry partners, and foundations and/or achievements consistent with the highest standards of accomplishment in the discipline.

Below is information about this year’s REP competition for Storrs/Regional Campuses and UConn Health. Please share with faculty who might be interested in submitting a proposal to the REP competition.

If you have any questions about the Research Excellence Program, please contact:

Matt Mroz, Ph.D.
Internal Funding Coordinator
matthew.mroz@uconn.edu or research@uconn.edu
(860) 486-6378

Thank you for your continued contributions to UConn’s success as a leader in innovative research, scholarship, and creative activities.  We look forward to continuing to support you in your future endeavors.

 

Sincerely,

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Dr. Jeff Seemann
Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health

 

Storrs/Regional Campus Research Excellence Program (Storrs REP)

  • Two broad categories of competitive awards are available. Proposals should be submitted to the category that best represents the project’s goals, methods of study, and expected outcomes rather than the PI’s home discipline.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Social Sciences
    • Single-PI awards capped at $25,000
    • Multi-PI awards capped at $50,000
  • Fine Arts, Humanities, Business, Law, and Engagement
    • Single-PI awards capped at $10,000
    • Multi-PI awards capped at $25,000

UConn Health Research Excellence Program (UCH-REP)

  • The UCH-REP is provided through a partnership between the OVPR and the Schools of Medicine (SOM) and Dental Medicine (SODM). Three categories of competitive awards are available.
    • Stimulus provides up to $25,000 in seed/project completion funding. Four to eight Stimulus awards are expected.
      • Single-PI projects permitted
    • Convergence, Level 1 provides three-four awards between $50,000 and $75,000 for interdisciplinary projects.
      • Must include collaborations across at least two different disciplinary areas
    • Convergence, Level 2 provides two awards between $76,000 and $100,000 for interdisciplinary projects.
      • Must include collaborations across at least three different disciplinary areas

REP Submission Deadline – All categories: Full proposals must be received by 1/13/2017.

Note: Projects with cross-campus Co-PIs must choose to be part of either the Storrs or UCH competitions, not both.  UCH faculty must have an active UConn NetID to submit proposals.

UConn_research unleashed

2016 CT Technology Council Innovation Summit

November 17, 2016 | 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
The Connecticut Convention Center

UConn and UConn Health faculty, students and staff are encouraged to attend the 10th anniversary Connecticut Technology Council Innovation Summit focusing on connecting launch and growth companies with funding, co-working opportunities, and professional resources.

On the tenth anniversary of the Innovation Summit,  the event will be bigger, better, and the most business-friendly event CT has ever seen!  Come to Connecticut’s largest networking event for Launch, Growth and Proven companies, featuring workshops,  Lunch with an Angel, Company Showcase, and more! Perfect for entrepreneurs, businesses, venture capitalists, angel investors, and members of the public.

For sponsorship information, please contact Paige Rasid at 860-289-0878, ext. 335 or prasid@ct.org.

DOWNLOAD OUR INNOVATION SUMMIT QUICK FACTS & AGENDA.

Launch, Growth & Proven Companies: Showcase your Innovation!
Company Showcase slots are limited!  Companies are encouraged to apply immediately!   No fee to apply, upon selection – registration fee of $150 includes an 6′ exhibitor display table, access to workshops, investors, technology companies, and lunch.  Selected companies will be notified on a rolling basis.  Application deadline is November 1, 2016.

New Executive Director of Venture Development

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that following a national search, we have selected Dr. Mostafa Analoui to serve as Executive Director of Venture Development, effective immediately. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the search committee and other members of the University community who assisted in conducting the national search to fill this position.

In this newly created position, Dr. Analoui will play a vital role in advancing UConn’s efforts to successfully commercialize more of the promising technologies coming out of the University’s labs. As a highly respected, seasoned and networked venture development director, Dr. Analoui will lead the University’s efforts to identify disruptive technologies that are ripe for venture development, recruit entrepreneurs and talent to lead these startups, and raise early stage and follow-on funding to grow these companies.

Dr. Analoui is currently the head of the health care and life science practice at a New York-based investment bank that has a significant venture stage portfolio, but was trained as an Engineer in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

Prior to his current role, he was the Co-Founder and CEO of Therametric Technologies and served as Global and Site Head at Pfizer Global Research.  Earlier in his career, he was a tenured associate professor at both Indiana and Purdue Universities, and he is currently an adjunct instructor at Brown, Northeastern and UConn, where he teaches Biomedical Engineering, Nanomedicine, Innovation and Commercialization.  In addition to serving on the boards of various startups, he is a reviewer for SBIR/STTR grants at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As a result of this wealth of knowledge and experience, Dr. Analoui understands the many challenges of translating research findings into viable commercial opportunities. Dr. Analoui also brings to this position a wide range of investor contacts and the scientific credibility to interact with federal funding agencies and corporate technology leaders.  His ability to execute partnerships that create value for the University and regional stakeholders and to build a robust network of people, programs, and resources will strengthen UConn’s existing efforts to catalyze and support venture development.

Dr. Analoui will also serve as Professor in Residence in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UConn Health.

We are thrilled that Dr. Analoui will be joining our team. Please join me in welcoming him to UConn.

 

Sincerely,

jeffseemann

Dr. Jeff Seemann
Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health

UConn_research unleashed

Announcement Regarding Prisoner Research Protocols

Dear Investigators,

This is advance notice that the IRB will not be able to review protocols involving research with prisoners at its October 27, 2016 IRB meeting.  This includes submissions of new protocols, amendments and requests for continuation that involve research with prisoners.  The IRB prisoner representative member will not be able to attend this meeting.

Protocols involving research with prisoners may be submitted on Thursday, September 22, 2016 for review at the October 6, 2016 IRB meeting or submitted on Thursday, October 27, 2016 for review at the November 10, 2016 IRB meeting.  Click here for additional IRB meeting dates and submission deadlines.

If you have any questions, contact Doug Bradway at 6-0986 or by email at doug.bradway@uconn.edu.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

August 17, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing today about the recently announced changes to federal overtime regulations that will affect the compensation of postdoctoral associates as of December 1, 2016.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law regulated by the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor (DOL).  This law regulates wage and hour standards such as minimum wage, overtime, equal pay, and time reporting requirements.  On May 18, 2016, President Obama and Secretary Perez announced the publication of the DOL’s final rule updating overtime regulations.  The University is required to comply with the changes to this law, effective December 1, 2016.

The regulations mandate that the standard salary level to qualify for exemption from the FLSA minimum wage and overtime requirements will increase from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year). In practice, employees who do not meet the revised salary threshold and other requirements, or who fail to qualify for other specific exemptions as outlined in the regulations, must be treated as hourly employees and be paid for each hour worked.

In order to comply with this new regulation, Human Resources at both Storrs and UCH has determined that postdoctoral associates will remain exempt and (where requisite), their salaries will be increased to the new threshold of $47,476.

Given this decision, all submitted proposals must include budgets that reflect the new minimum salary requirements for research staff. Information regarding these salaries is available on the OVPR website for UConn Health and the Storrs and regional campuses. Please contact OVPR Preaward Services staff with any questions at 860.486.3007 (Storrs/regional) or 860.679.4040 (UConn Health).

With regard to the added burden of increased postdoctoral associate salaries on existing projects after December 1, 2016, Central Administration at both Storrs and UCH will provide one-time financial support in FY2017 for postdoctoral associates whose salaries will increase to the new federally regulated threshold. This support will allow projects already underway in Storrs and UCH to maintain their budgeted buying power and complete the research or scholarship activities they set out to do. The Office of the Vice President for Research will work closely with Principal Investigators (PIs) to transfer these funds into the appropriate accounts.

PIs with awards from the National Science Foundation are encouraged to contact their program officer to discuss requesting additional funding to cover the increased cost of postdoctoral associate salaries, per a recently released notice from the NSF.

Thank you for your cooperation. We look forward to continuing to support your research and scholarship in every way that we can.

Sincerely,
Dr. Jeff Seemann
Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

August 17, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing today about the recently announced changes to federal overtime regulations that will affect the compensation of postdoctoral associates as of December 1, 2016.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law regulated by the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor (DOL).  This law regulates wage and hour standards such as minimum wage, overtime, equal pay, and time reporting requirements.  On May 18, 2016, President Obama and Secretary Perez announced the publication of the DOL’s final rule updating overtime regulations.  The University is required to comply with the changes to this law, effective December 1, 2016.

The regulations mandate that the standard salary level to qualify for exemption from the FLSA minimum wage and overtime requirements will increase from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year). In practice, employees who do not meet the revised salary threshold and other requirements, or who fail to qualify for other specific exemptions as outlined in the regulations, must be treated as hourly employees and be paid for each hour worked.

In order to comply with this new regulation, Human Resources at both Storrs and UCH has determined that postdoctoral associates will remain exempt and (where requisite), their salaries will be increased to the new threshold of $47,476.

Given this decision, all submitted proposals must include budgets that reflect the new minimum salary requirements for research staff. Information regarding these salaries is available on the OVPR website for UConn Health and the Storrs and regional campuses. Please contact OVPR Preaward Services staff with any questions at 860.486.3007 (Storrs/regional) or 860.679.4040 (UConn Health).

With regard to the added burden of increased postdoctoral associate salaries on existing projects after December 1, 2016, Central Administration at both Storrs and UCH will provide one-time financial support in FY2017 for postdoctoral associates whose salaries will increase to the new federally regulated threshold. This support will allow projects already underway in Storrs and UCH to maintain their budgeted buying power and complete the research or scholarship activities they set out to do. The Office of the Vice President for Research will work closely with Principal Investigators (PIs) to transfer these funds into the appropriate accounts.

PIs with awards from the National Science Foundation are encouraged to contact their program officer to discuss requesting additional funding to cover the increased cost of postdoctoral associate salaries, per a recently released notice from the NSF.

Thank you for your cooperation. We look forward to continuing to support your research and scholarship in every way that we can.

 

Sincerely,
Dr. Jeff Seemann
Vice President for Research
UConn/UConn Health

UConn Incubator Company Named “Rising Stars” in Med Tech Industry

Neil Shah & Maxim Budyansky

   
Neil Shah, 28 and Maxim Budyansky, 28—Cofounders, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Avitus Orthopaedics

Shah, who had experience developing brain-computer interface technologies for NASA, and Budyansky, who spent time developing low-cost OB/GYN medical technologies for developing countries, started Avitus Orthopaedics after finishing the graduate program at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. Avitus Orthopaedics was founded to create new technologies that both improve clinical outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

The company’s first product is the Avitus Bone Harvester, designed to allow minimally invasive harvesting of large amounts of autologous bone graft and marrow. Shah and Budyansky said early feedback from surgeons who have piloted the technology has been positive and they plan to continue adding users.

What’s next—in their own words: “We’re looking forward to learning and adapting to the field as we gain adoption and receive valuable customer feedback. We are also working on our next products to address a broader range of unmet clinical needs.”

What are the biggest factors that helped you become a young innovator? “Persistent undying passion to make an impact.”

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far? “The biggest challenge has always been the one we’re currently working on.”

Apply Now for Accelerate UConn’s Fall 2016 Cohort!

Accelerate UConn (AU), UConn’s NSF I-Corps Site, is accepting applications for the Fall 2016 Cohort, and the deadline for applications is right around the corner!

Accelerate UConn provides faculty-student teams with seed grants of up to $3,000 and business training that accelerates the commercialization process for early-stage technologies developed at UConn. Participating teams gain valuable insight into the best ways to advance new technologies to the marketplace. Teams that have completed the program have gone on to win additional support through the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Summer Fellowship, the UConn SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund, the BioPipeline CT Grant program, as well as investments from Connecticut Innovations.

Important Dates

Application Deadline: September 9, 2016
Decision Notification: September 16, 2016
Program Kick Off: September 30 – October 1, 2016

If you are interested in learning more about how Accelerate UConn can help you understand the business potential of your discovery, you can hear from some Accelerate UConn grads at AU’s YouTube channel. For more information about the Accelerate UConn program curriculum and to access the online application, visit www.accelerate.uconn.edu.

Applicants who were not selected in previous cycles are encouraged to reapply. To receive input on your application and helping form a team, contact Accelerate UConn staff at accelerateuconn@uconn.edu.

Accelerate UConn is operated as a partnership between the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI).

Connecticut Innovations Fuels UConn’s Development of Personalized Ovarian Cancer Therapy

Award-winning physician-scientist Dr. Pramod K. Srivastava, director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center in his lab at UConn Health is developing a novel immunotherapy vaccine for difficult to treat ovarian cancer
Physician-Scientist Dr. Pramod K. Srivastava, director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center in his lab at UConn Health is developing a novel immunotherapy vaccine for difficult to treat ovarian cancer (Chris DeFrancesco/UConn Health)

Office of the Vice President for Research

Connecticut Innovations (CI) has awarded UConn Health’s Dr. Pramod K. Srivastava, professor of immunology and director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, $500,000 to support his development of a genomic-driven personalized immunotherapy for ovarian cancer.

Funded by the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund (CBIF), the award allows Srivastava to conduct the first ever genomics-driven personalized medicine clinical trial of an immunotherapy to treat ovarian cancer. Although it is first being tested in ovarian cancer, the technology may be applicable to all human cancers.

“UConn is thrilled to see Dr. Srivastava’s latest innovation receive this crucial support from Connecticut Innovations,” said vice president for research, Dr. Jeffrey Seemann. “Dr. Srivastava is a true pioneer in the field of immunology with several inventions and entrepreneurial ventures already to his credit. His work has been an inspiration to academic researchers both at UConn and across the globe, and it is a fine example of how innovative concepts developed by our research faculty are being translated into lifesaving therapies and important new products.”

“Personalized medicine and immunotherapy are sought-after solutions at the leading edge of science and clinical practice,” said Matthew McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “We look forward to seeing positive results from this project and working with UConn Health as they make strides to identify new lifesaving results for patients.”

A scientist, physician, immunologist, inventor and entrepreneur, Srivastava will complete the already FDA-approved clinical trial over a three-year period and will build an entrepreneurial team to develop a commercialization strategy for this platform technology. The trial will assess the safety and feasibility of the vaccine called OncoImmunome and is being conducted in collaboration with Drs. Ion Mandoiu, associate professor of computer science and engineering (UConn-Storrs), Sahar Al Seesi, assistant professor in residence of computer science and engineering (UConn-Storrs), Susan Tannenbaum, associate professor of hematology/oncology and Molly Brewer, professor of obstetrics/gynecology with a specialization in gynecologic oncology, both at UConn Health.

The most lethal gynecological malignancy, ovarian cancer has no early-screening test and as a result is often discovered at advanced stages.  There are also currently no effective treatments for advanced ovarian cancer, and the disease has a high rate of recurrence. The vaccine Srivastava is developing uses the unique genomic makeup of a female patient’s own ovarian cancer cells to design a personalized, targeted therapy to help her immune system recognize and kill invading cancer cells. Targeting Stage III/IV ovarian cancer patients, the vaccine will address a significant unmet medical need. In 2013, approximately 22,000 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and over 14,000 women died from the disease.

Early support for Srivastava’s therapy was provided by UConn’s SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund competition, which provides seed funding for faculty projects aimed at translating research innovations into products with commercial applications.

CI is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies. By offering flexible financing, strategic guidance, and introductions to valuable partners, CI enables promising businesses to thrive. While CBIF seeks to drive innovation in the biosciences throughout Connecticut by providing focused financial assistance to startups, early stage businesses, non-profits and accredited colleges and universities. CI will make investments from the $200 million fund over the next 10 years in the form of grants, equity investments and loans to speed commercializable bioscience breakthroughs toward the market.

In 2015, Srivastava was admitted into the National Academy of Inventors for his long-standing history as a successful innovator in the area of cancer immunotherapy, including this promising vaccine for difficult-to-treat ovarian cancer. He is the scientific founder of Agenus Inc., a publicly-traded company that develops immunotherapies for cancers and infectious diseases. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Council of the Cancer Research Institute and on the Scientific Advisory Board of several companies.

To learn more about Dr. Pramod Srivastava and the work of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer at UConn Health, visit: http://health.uconn.edu/cancer/.