On October 1, 2013 the UAB Research Foundation became a part of the UAB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE). The IIE was approved by the UAB Board of Trustees in February 2013. The Research Foundation, which managed intellectual property created by the UAB community, will now have an expanded presence, and operate as the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Institute will serve to create and foster an entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem integrating the UABRF’s existing strengths and capabilities, enhancing and facilitating service and technology commercialization. The mission will include engagement of faculty in creating new classroom and experiential learning opportunities for students across campus, as well as, encourage and cultivate interdisciplinary scholarly research and publication among faculty and clinicians, and serve as the resource center for UAB as it continues to advance its role in innovation and entrepreneurship. The Institute will provide an entry point for industries seeking to collaborate with this world class university. Read more about the IIE.

 

In The News at UAB

  • Study shows how different people respond to aspirin — an important cardioprotective drug
    Understanding how people respond to aspirin is key in terms of knowing who will benefit from it.

    Researchers have learned new information about how different people respond to aspirin, a globally prescribed drug in cardioprotection. The research team, led by scientists at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom and including representatives from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Colorado, identified more than 5,600 lipids — or fats — in blood platelets and gained new insights into how these cells respond to aspirin.

    “Aspirin is a widely used cardiovascular preventive drug and also has an emerging role in cancer treatment and prevention,” said Valerie O’Donnell, Ph.D., Division of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University, and the study’s lead author. “Understanding how people respond to aspirin is key in terms of knowing who will benefit from it.”

    The findings, published April 28 in Cell Metabolism, are the first comprehensive lipidomic profile of human platelets in response to stimulation and aspirin treatment.

    “Our research shows a new link between energy metabolism and inflammation, as well as giving early insights into the fundamentals of precision medicine regarding the variation of the lipidome among individuals,” said Victor Darley-Usmar, Ph.D., Endowed Professor of Mitochondrial Medicine and Pathology at UAB and a co-investigator on the study.

    Lipids play essential structural roles, act as nutrients, and control a broad range of physiological and pathophysiological events in cells, according to the researchers.

    “While several lipid families are well-characterized at the molecular level, the total diversity and number of unique lipids in cells, how they change during cellular activation, and how they differ in individuals is unknown,” said Darley-Usmar. “This hampers integration of lipidomics into systems biology, and addressing it will improve our fundamental understanding of lipid biology, help identify new drug targets for therapy and discover lipid biomarkers from disease cohorts.”

    “This work led by Professor O’Donnell is a technical tour de force, providing a wonderful resource for other biomedical researchers,” said Mike Murphy, Ph.D., programme leader, Mitochondrial Biology Unit at Cambridge University, U.K. “A particularly important aspect is the focus on platelets, which are readily available from patients’ blood in diagnosis, prognosis or as a biomarker in assessing therapies. In addition to its future use, this work also demonstrated an unexpected link between mitochondrial fat metabolism and platelet activation during inflammation.”

    “Given the importance of aspirin as both a cardioprotective and possible cancer therapeutic, a full understanding of how it regulates platelet lipids will be the focus of a follow-on study with a larger number of volunteers,” said Robert Murphy, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado, and a study co-investigator. “The stability of the global lipidome with age, diet and over time is unknown, and the influence of external factors such as epigenetic control of lipid metabolizing enzymes could be considerable.”

    The research was funded by the European Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

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UAB Research News

  • First-of-its-kind driving simulator lab at UAB powered by donation from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama and ALDOT
    The facility will enable new distracted-driving research, addressing a major public health issue that is a leading cause of highway and traffic-related injuries and death.

    During Distracted Driving Awareness Month, UAB has opened the first SUV driving simulator laboratory in the world.

    In the development of this lab, UAB partnered with Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, which provided a full-bodied 2016 Honda Pilot built at their factory in Lincoln, Ala., to be retrofitted with state-of-the-art simulator technology funded by the Alabama Department of Transportation. The technology gives UAB researchers the opportunity to conduct important safety studies involving distracted driving practices.

    Representatives from Honda, ALDOT and Alabama’s Office of the Attorney General joined the UAB team to announce the new initiative at a grand opening this week.

    “Honda Manufacturing of Alabama is honored to partner with UAB in this important project, with the goal of saving lives by increasing awareness of distracted driving,” said HMA Vice President Mike Oatridge. “Honda is very pleased we could donate the most advanced Honda Pilot ever built in Alabama, which has a five-star crash safety rating and features Honda most advanced safety features including the full range of Honda Sensing technology.”

    The goal of this effort is to facilitate solutions and best practices in motor-vehicle-related safety and crash prevention, addressing the major public health problem of highway and traffic-related injuries and death. 

    “Data tell us that distracted driving is a factor in nearly 50 percent of car crashes, which translates to one million injury-producing crashes each year,” said Despina Stavrinos, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences and director of the UAB Translational Research for Injury Prevention Laboratory. “Ten percent of those crashes result in a fatality. Understanding which factors influence an individual’s likelihood to engage in distracted driving is essential to being able to purposefully address this growing problem. With this new simulator, we will be able to gain new information about how drivers participate in distracted behavior, giving us valuable insight that can increase the effectiveness of educational campaigns and improve driving safety.”

    The core of Stavrinos’ work is the prevention of injury, particularly unintentional injuries like those that result from distracted driving behaviors. She will lead her TRIP Lab in conducting studies with the new simulator.

    The first study, set to begin in a couple of weeks, will focus on teens and adults over 65, two of the most vulnerable populations when it comes to distracted driving.

    The simulator is intended to be available to researchers from all appropriate disciplines throughout UAB, other universities in the state, and even throughout the Southeast. In addition, non-university research scientists will be afforded access to the simulator and its associated support services.

    “UAB really thrives on investing in resources that are going to allow multidisciplinary research to take place,” said Richard Marchase, Ph.D., vice president for research and economic development at UAB. “With this new technology, which we are very thankful to Honda Manufacturing of Alabama and ALDOT for helping us create, we will be able to do just that and make this facility a destination for collaboration and innovation for researchers across campus and beyond. It will be a resource that I’m sure will be game-changing.”

    “Honda Manufacturing of Alabama is honored to partner with UAB in this important project, with the goal of saving lives by increasing awareness of distracted driving,” said HMA Vice President Mike Oatridge. “Honda is very pleased we could donate the most advanced Honda Pilot ever built in Alabama, which has a five-star crash safety rating and features Honda's most advanced safety features, including the full range of Honda Sensing technology.”

    Individuals interested in utilizing these resources or contributing should contact Stavrinos at dstavrin@uab.edu or (205) 934-7861. 

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