KGI Profs Dewey and Osborne Awarded NSF Grant for New Biomarker Center
Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) today announced that Greg Dewey, PhD, Robert E. Finnigan Professor of Applied Life Sciences, and Jim Osborne, PhD, Industry Professor of Biophysical Chemistry, have received a three-year, $600,000 "Partnerships for Innovation" grant from the National Science Foundation that will help develop the new Center for Biomarker Research (CBR) on the KGI campus.
"This is an exiting, unique partnership," said Dewey, principal investigator. "The project will spur innovation in approaches to the discovery and commercialization of new biomarkers that address unmet diagnostic needs by creating a collaboration of academic, corporate, and not-for-profit partners."
"This is the first federal grant for the center," Dewey continued. "It confirms the importance of the CBR's mission of both education and discovery."
The NSF grant will fund the development of a flow cytometry facility in the CBR, which will include a newly created 15,000-square-foot laboratory.
CBR's mission is to focus both on education of translational scientists and on the discovery and commercialization of new disease-specific biomarkers.
"One of the barriers to innovation in the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries is that academia is focused primarily on educating basic scientists and not individuals who can translate a discovery into a commercial product," said Dewey. "The education of translational scientists addresses a crucial workforce need in the industry."
The CBR also will educate Master of Bioscience (MBS) students at KGI and undergraduate engineering students at Harvey Mudd College (HMC) in the development of diagnostic tools from biomarkers discovery.
In addition, the center will help lessen the risk associated with the development of drugs that treat rare diseases by working with foundations to identify biomarkers in affected patient populations. Partnering with the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), the CBR will collaborate with rare disease foundations to access patient samples and process them in the flow cytometry facility in order to acquire data for a panel of biomarkers.
"One of the broader impacts of the project is that the center will create a database of rare disease biomarkers and assist foundations in their venture philanthropic efforts to "derisk" based on biomarker applications," said Osborne, co-principal investigator and director of the CBR.
He added biomarkers that are highly discriminating for specific conditions will be identified for patenting and subsequent licensing activity. The entire database of biomarkers will also be accessible to the academic and corporate communities for scientific data mining.
Educating the future leaders of the bioscience industry, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) offers an interdisciplinary graduate education through its Master of Bioscience (MBS) degree program and its PhD program in Applied Life Sciences. Using team-based learning and real-world projects, KGI's innovative curriculum seamlessly combines applied life sciences, bioengineering, bioethics and business management. KGI also has a robust research program concentrating on the translation of basic discoveries in the life sciences into applications that can benefit society. KGI is a member of The Claremont Colleges, located in Claremont, California.
Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences is dedicated to education and research aimed at translating into practice, for the benefit of society, the power and potential of the life sciences.