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November 21, 2023 | Tom Ballard

U News | ETSU Research Corporation announces a strategic partnership

Four Belmont University students win funding in the latest pitch competition from the Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship.

From East Tennessee State University:

MicroByre Inc., a leading microbial engineering platform company, and the East Tennessee State University Research Corporation (ETSURC), a non-profit driving collaboration and innovation beyond the ETSU campus, have announced a strategic partnership to create microbial-derived products via precision fermentation.

This represents a significant expansion of the co-development work in which the ETSURC and MicroByre have been engaged. Pairing MicroByre’s sustainable biomanufacturing technology with the ETSURC’s expertise in the materials industry will help quickly bring new bio-based solutions to market.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the ETSURC to bring new biotechnology solutions to the marketplace,” said Sarah Richardson, Chief Executive Officer of MicroByre that is located in Berkeley, CA. “This is one of the projects that fully encompasses the breadth of our expertise at MicroByre and we are excited to keep building for a better future.”

MicroByre will use its proprietary development platform to create a laboratory-feasible biotechnology solution, and the ETSURC will validate a scaled manufacturing process. This partnership represents further validation of MicroByre’s business model of partnering with experts in scaling biotechnology while focusing on upstream domestication and engineering of previously underutilized microbes. This approach ultimately de-risks projects for all parties and helps move renewable chemistries to market quickly, organizers said.

From Belmont University:

Four student entrepreneurs out of eight who competed received checks as winners of the Business Pitch Competition hosted by the Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship on November 15.  

  • Marketing and Economics major Gracie Singleton and Marketing and International Business major Cece Murray won the first place award of $1,500 for Bach’ n Style, a one-stop shop party planner.  
  • Entrepreneurship major Tate Renner captured second place and a $1,000 for R&R Events, his concept of an event rental company geared to employing veterans
  • International Business and Creative and Entertainment Industries major Catherine Fischer won third place and a $500 cash prize for Homestead Health, a product line focused on health and wellness.  
  • A poll from the audience selected Entrepreneurship major Jesse Hartland for the People’s Choice award. 

From Indiana University:

The University recently announced it will invest more than $250 million to advance scientific discoveries aimed at curing and treating diseases and improving human health while driving Indiana’s position as a global leader in life sciences and biotechnology innovation.

During her recent annual State of the University, Indianan University (IU) President Pamela Whitten announced the funding commitments that rival the most significant investments made in these areas by the nation’s leading public and private research universities. The funding for two new research institutes, new faculty appointments in the life sciences, new and renovated facilities, and significant education and research initiatives represents one of IU’s most significant strategic investments in life sciences, human health, and biotechnology. Tapping into decades of IU’s leadership in health sciences and medicine and the expertise of top-tier faculty on its core research campuses in Bloomington and Indianapolis, as well as the nation’s largest medical school, IU will launch the Convergent Bioscience and Technology Institute and the Institute for Human Health and Wellbeing. 

From The Ohio State University:

There’s a new battery cell research and development center coming to the University, thanks to $22 million in commitments to date. The project will include the renovation of a 25,000-square-foot facility in Ohio State’s innovation district into a dedicated battery cell research, production, and education support space. The center will be managed and operated at Ohio State by the Institute for Materials and Manufacturing Research (IMR).

Honda will serve as lead foundational partner for the project and has committed $15 million for the research and development center. In addition, $4.5 million in federal funding was secured through the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Extramural Construction program. Those dollars will support a 4,000-square-foot dry room, which is necessary for the assembly of battery cells due to the extreme moisture sensitivity of cell components. The dry room and new battery cell assembly equipment will facilitate the accelerated development and translation of batteries from the lab to practical scales, including the electric vehicle market.

From Virginia Commonwealth University:

Curtis Sessler, an M.D. and Professor of Medicine, has received the 2023 “Billy R. Martin VCU Innovator of the Year” award for the work that he and his team did in creating the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS). Used primarily by intensive care unit clinicians and researchers, but with the same idea as the patient-friendly Wong-Baker “FACES” pain scale, the RASS has been trusted worldwide for 21 years to describe a patient’s level of alertness and agitation in an Intensive Care Unit. The 10-value scale guides sedation therapy, titration and improves communication among providers. On the scale, “0” is “Alert and Calm” (if you’re reading this, you’re a 0), while “+4” means the patient is combative, violent, and an immediate danger to staff. On the opposite end, “-5” means the patient is unarousable. RASS was first made available in 2002.


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