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Dr. David R. Hyde and team are one of six groups awarded $12.4 million from the NIH as part of the audacious effort to reverse blindness

Author: Tiffanie Sammons

David R. Hyde, Ph.D.

Dr. David Hyde and his team have been awarded over $1.9 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to lead one of six projects planned to identify biological factors that influence neural regeneration in the retina.

The projects are part of the National Eye Institute (NEI) Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI), a targeted effort to restore vision by regenerating neurons and their connections in the eye and visual system. These six projects will receive a total of $12.4 million over three years, pending availability of funds.

“Understanding factors that mediate the regeneration of neurons and the growth of axons is crucial for the development of breakthrough therapies for blinding diseases. What we learn through these projects will have a health impact beyond vision,” said Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the NEI, part of NIH.

“The National Eye Institute’s Audacious Goals Initiative is to regenerate neurons and neural connections in the eye and visual system to restore sight to individuals who are blind. This Audacious Goals grant award is very important for two reasons,” said Dr. Hyde. “First, it is based on regenerating the neurons from adult stem cells that are already present in the eye. This approach will reveal that in many ways, adult stem cells are potentially more powerful to regenerate neurons in an organism than embryonic stem cells. Second, by Notre Dame being the lead institution on this grant, it demonstrates that our scientific expertise, in certain research areas, rivals the top medical schools in the country. This award will bring increased visibility to Notre Dame, the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, and our commitment, for scientific and ethical reasons, to pursue the research and application of adult stem cells over embryonic stem cells to treat debilitating neurological diseases.” Read More

Notre Dame Student Researcher Participates in Biomedical Entrepreneurship Crash Course

Author: Brandi Klingerman

The Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development funds graduate student to attend SPARK at Stanford 


Each year, SPARK, a Stanford University initiative that provides the education and mentorship in order to advance research discoveries from the bench to the bedside, hosts a diverse group to participate in a 12-day training course in biotech innovation and entrepreneurship. The program provides an understanding of how biotechnology products, such as medical devices, food science, and general medical science, and companies are created, established, managed, advertised, and funded.

Ricardo Romero, graduate student of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program and researcher in the Harper Cancer Research Institute, had the opportunity to attend the program through the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (Indiana CTSI). Support for Romero’s participation in the program was provided by the Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development (Warren Center). Students and professionals from a variety of institutions and countries participated in the course in order to grow their skills in innovation by working in groups to develop real product ideas and potential start-up companies.

Romero currently works with Laurie Littlepage, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, on reversing cancer progression. Specifically, he researches breast cancer metastasis, or occurrence in bones. When describing the knowledge he gained from the experience, Romero said, “I loved the opportunity to attend the training course and because of the Warren Center, I was able to see other aspects of science that I hadn’t previously experienced, learn from such a culturally diverse group of people, and better understand how to utilize my research skills for potential commercialization opportunities.” Read More

Notre Dame Researchers receive Collaborative Indiana CTSI Awards

Author: Brandi Klingerman

University of Notre Dame faculty to conduct research together with Indiana University and Purdue University

Ctsi Ctr AwardeesFrom left to right: Joel Boerckel and Zhangli Peng

The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (Indiana CTSI) recently announced multiple recipients of the Collaboration in Translational Research Pilot (CTR) Grant Program. The CTR Program seeks to foster and encourage collaboration across Indiana CTSI partner institutions by awarding up to $75,000 for the projects.

In describing the awards, Rich Taylor, deputy director of the Indiana CTSI and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, said, “The CTR grant program provides an opportunity for faculty to enhance the translational aspects of their research by creating new collaborative relationships.”

The goal of the awarded translational projects is to have immediate potential to develop into larger, externally funded research programs or generate novel intellectual property.

Among the awarded grants in this cycle:


  • Joel Boerckel, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, and Margaret Schwarz, professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine – South Bend, will work together on a research project entitled, “Mediation of Arteriogenesis in tissue remodeling following Hind-Limb ischemia.” 

Read More

IDEA Center created to catalyze new research, innovation, commercialization initiatives

Author: Dennis Brown

IDEA Center

The University of Notre Dame will create new innovation and commercialization initiatives under a new entity to be known as the IDEA Center — standing for Innovation, Discovery and Enterprise Acceleration.

To be located in Innovation Park, the center will provide technical services and expertise for idea development, technology translation, business formation and commercialization.

The current Office of Technology Transfer and the staff of Innovation Park will be joined with several new initiatives to comprise the IDEA Center. The University has launched a search for a new vice president and associate provost for innovation.

“Notre Dame is committed to growing its community of innovators and entrepreneurs through our new IDEA Center,” said Thomas G. Burish, Charles and Jill Fischer Provost. “With the University’s mission in mind — that of being a powerful means for doing good in the world — this bold initiative will enable Notre Dame’s entrepreneurial environment to be best in class for our entire community, from undergraduates to postdoctoral scholars, faculty members to local business collaborators.”

A distinctive element of the IDEA Center will be the development of Idea Champions, current and new staff members who will directly interface with University researchers, students and inventors to help guide a creative concept through the commercialization process by partnering with each of the other services within the center. The Idea Champions will serve as navigators for inventors through the complex world of intellectual property protection and licensing, and, in some cases, the inventor’s role within a startup company. The champions also will look across campus for ideas that may not be immediately recognizable for their commercial potential and help develop those ideas through proper channels. Read More

Fighting to Cure Food Allergies

Author: Brandi Klingerman


Sarah McKenzie knows the deadly potential of food allergies all too well. Her young son, Gunner, has a peanut allergy, and while the family is attentive, the smallest mistake can endanger him. Like the time she ate a peanut butter cookie and hours later triggered a life-threatening reaction in her son with a simple kiss. 

In the ER he recovered, but they live in constant fear of the next time his allergies take over. But Professor Basar Bilgicer hopes to make allergies, and the accompanying anxiety and trauma, a thing of the past. For an aspiration that large, he had to start small. Biomolecular small.

Read more here.

Originally published by Brandi Klingerman at on September 09, 2016. Read More

Notre Dame to Host Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Retreat

Author: Brandi Klingerman

One-day event will offer presentations and discussion, plus tour of new McCourtney Hall

Ictsi Logo

Researchers from Indiana University, Purdue University, and the University of Notre Dame will be attending the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (Indiana CTSI) retreat hosted at the University of Notre Dame on Friday, October 21, 2016. 

During the event, faculty, students, and other researchers will have the opportunity to present posters and hear from colleagues throughout Indiana. In addition, keynote speaker James Inglese, Principal Investigator of the Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, will speak on the design and implementation of assays for chemical biology and drug discovery. Mark Fox, Dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine – South Bend, will also speak at the event.

“The 2016 Indiana CTSI Retreat is a fantastic opportunity to highlight translational biomedical research and researchers from Notre Dame,” said Richard Taylor, professor of chemistry and biochemistry as well as deputy director of the Notre Dame CTSI. “We look forward to hosting our colleagues from across the state-wide consortium and working together to identify new ways to strengthen and support the entire spectrum of translational research from scientific discovery to improved clinical care.” Read More

Annual Research Funding at Notre Dame Tops $128 Million

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Professor Amy Hixon works with an undergraduate researcher in her Stinson-Remick lab, department of Civil Engineering and Environmental and Earth Studies

The University of Notre Dame has received $128 million in research funding for fiscal year 2016 — the second highest in its history. In fiscal year 2015, the University’s research funding was its highest of all time, reaching $133 million.

“The research, scholarship and creativity of Notre Dame faculty continues to make a difference in multiple ways across our country and around the world,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “The growth in external funding is a tangible testimony to the importance of their work.” Read More

Notre Dame interdisciplinary researchers receive $1.1 million grant from NIH

Author: Tammi Freehling

Junli 250Jun Li

Researchers representing four labs across two colleges at Notre Dame have received a four-year, $1.1 million Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The oldest grant mechanism used by the NIH, the R01 provides support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH.

Patriciaclark 250Patricia Clark

Principal Investigators of this grant include two from the College of Science: Jun Li, Ph.D. of the department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (ACMS) and Patricia Clark, Ph.D. of the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and two from the College of Engineering: Scott Emrich, Ph.D. and Tijana Milenkovic, Ph.D. both of the department of Computer Science and Engineering.

The awarded project, titled “Integrative Computational Framework for Pattern Mining in Big -omics Data: Linking Synonymous Codon Usage to Protein Biogenesis,” expands upon a line of inquiry started several years ago by Clark and Emrich, who sought to develop a computational approach to test the hypothesis that small changes to the rate of protein synthesis could change the folding of the encoded protein. Read More