Tag Archives: Engineering Research Center

Sen. Hagan tours Engineering Research Center, promotes her bill to support innovation at HBCUs

Sen. Hagan speaking to reporters

Sen. Kay Hagan speaks to reporters at the Fort IRC.

Sen. Hagan and news media photographers in research lab

Sen. Hagan listens to Wayne Szafranski of A&T in the Engineering Research Center’s  Material Processing and Characterization Lab.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is promoting innovation at historically black universities, and on Monday she brought the news media to N.C. A&T for a close-up look at what she’s talking about.

Accompanied by a group of national and local reporters and, photographers, and videographers, Sen. Hagan toured the NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials and then held a news conference to talk about her bill to create a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Innovation Fund.

The Engineering Research Center is developing an advanced magnesium alloy to make screws, plates, and other implantable devices that could hold broken or surgically repaired bones in place for healing and then dissolve and pass out of the body when they’re no longer needed.

The technology could eliminate the need in many cases for either surgical removal or for patients to carry metal parts in their bones for a lifetime.

Sen. Hagan was joined in her news conference by Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. and two A&T bioengineering grad students, Adrienne Daley and Roman Blount.

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N.C. A&T researchers generating headlines

This week’s two major announcements are producing positive news coverage for research at N.C. A&T.

News 14 Carolina covered  the announcement of the Engineering Research Center collaborating with InCube Labs to commercialize its metallic biomaterials technology.

Screen capture of TV news report

Click on the photo to go to the News 14 Carolina report

The Business Journal was all over that story as well.

“Scientists at N.C. A&T and ERC partners such as the University of Pittsburgh and University of Cincinnati are developing new materials, primarily magnesium alloys, designed to adapt to the human body and grow after implantation without having to be refitted, and then later safely absorbed into the bloodstream without ill effects. That could change the way that children born with birth defects, injured soldiers and others with major bone damage are treated.

“There are myriad possible uses for such materials, and the job of InCube Labs will be to identify which have the best potential to be translated into practical products quickly. InCube was founded by Mir Imran, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who has founded more than 20 life-science companies and holds more than 200 patents.”

And the editorial page of The News & Observer in Raleigh published an editorial, “Huge grant spotlights how universities benefit state’s economy,” about the $54.6 million clinical and translational science project to be conducted by UNC-CH, A&T, and RTI International, and a similar award to Duke. They hope the awards send a message to North Carolina’s governor:

“Let’s hope those Republican legislators and Gov. Pat McCrory, who have made an issue of how universities should focus on training people for jobs instead of educating them in, say, arts and literature, take note of what’s going on here. Universities do train people for the workforce, but they’re also about ideas, about opening minds, about exploring new horizons.”

Engineering Research Center gains key collaborator for commercializing its revolutionary technology

Mir Imran, InCube Labs founder and CEO

Mir Imran, right, InCube Labs founder and CEO, tours one of the Engineering Research Center labs at N.C. A&T

InCube Labs structure and capabilitiesThe NSF Engineering Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials is introducing a significant new collaborator today.  Executives of InCube Labs of San Jose are at N.C. A&T  to sign an agreement to work together on bringing the ERC’s technology to the medical marketplace.

InCube takes basic biomedical technology and develops medical applications that physicians can use to improve patient outcomes. InCube has spun off more than 20 companies that produce implantable devices, drug delivery combinations, and interventional devices and use novel biomaterials. That background positions it well for implementing the ERC’s novel magnesium alloys and other technology for implantable, bioresorbable medical devices.

Significance of the agreement

Dr. Leon Esterowitz of the National Science Foundation says InCube’s commercialization expertise addresses a critical gap in the way biomedical technology is developed today. Dr. Esterowitz is the NSF program director working with the ERC.

“Translating knowledge from biomedical science into clinical applications has been compared to crossing a ‘valley of death’ because of the many issues that separate the scientist at the research bench from the M.D. at the bedside,” Esterowitz says.

“Forty years ago basic and clinical research were linked in institutions such as NIH. Medical research was largely done by physician-scientists who also treated patients. That changed with the explosion of molecular biology in the 1970s. Clinical and basic research started to separate, and biomedical research departments emerged as a new discipline.

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UNC Board of Governors members tour labs

Dr. Jagannathan Sankar speaks to members of the Board of Governors in the atrium of the Fort IRC.Dr. Jagannathan Sankar speaks to members of the Board of Governors in the atrium of the Fort IRC.
Dr. Jagannathan Sankar speaks to members of the Board of Governors in the atrium of the Fort IRC.Dr. Jagannathan Sankar, director of the Engineering Research Center, speaks to members of the UNC Board of Governors in the atrium of the Fort Interdisciplinary Research Center. Members of the board visited the ERC’s labs on a tour of the A&T campus today. Next stop: The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.