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March 15, 2013 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-03-15

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6 - Friday, March 15, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

$7.5 million fund to aid in
life science research labs

Program partially
funded by
state economic
development corp.
By SAM GRINGLAS
Daily Staff Reporter
Relieving a throbbing head-
ache, stuffy nose or aching
stomach often takes no more
effort than tapping a few col-
ored capsules from bottle to
palm. But before new medical
treatments reach their patients,
the road from research lab to
drugstore shelf is long and com-
plex, often spanning more than
a decade.
Now, a new $7.5 million fund
will help University research-
ers shave a few years off the
process by providing additional
resources to propel promising
projects from the research to
the consumer stages.
The program, MTRAC
for Life Sciences, is partially
funded by a $2.4 million grant
from the Michigan Economic
Development Corporation's
21st Century Jobs Fund. The
remainder of the funding will
be provided by the University's
Medical School, the Vice Pres-
ident for Research's Office,
and the Office of Technology
Transfer.
While the Medical School
has consistently ranked highly
in terms of funding, Connie
Chang, director of the Medi-
cal School's Office of Business
Development, said MTRAC
is the first vehicle dedicated
exclusively to jumpstart-
ing projects with commercial
potential.
In typical circumstances,
researchers scope out many
small pockets of research
grants to test their ideas, a pro-
cess that often draws out the

timeframe of the development
process. The new funding pro-
gram, however, will pump in
more money at earlier stages
when studies look promising
but fall short of capturing a bio-
medical company's investment.
Once the research is identi-
fied as promising, grant funds,
as well as an oversight commit-
tee of experts, provide addi-
tional resources to catalyze
development.
But before funding is fun-
neled towards specific projects,
the Medical School must select
which efforts have the poten-
tial for commercialization.
Tom Shanley, associate dean
of clinical and translational
research at the Medical School,
is involved in the early selec-
tion stage.
In the vetting process his
team considers two main fac-
tors. They look for approaches
or technologies that can have
the greatest impact on a health
problem and would have a large
enough market to have a likeli-
hood of commercial success.
While all of the research
is important and potentially
groundbreaking, not every proj-
ect meets the qualifications.
Some research may transform
the way physicians care for spe-
cific diseases, but may not have
the potential for being turned
into a pharmaceutical device,
technological advancement or
diagnostic method.
Advancements not specifi-
cally slated for market are dis-
seminated throughout the
medical community and still
have a significant impact, even
though they are not converted
into a tangible product.
Once vetted, Shanley said
an advisory board provides
experts to help researchers
navigate the development pro-
cess, including advice in han-
dling FDA regulations and

optimizing clinical studies.
The Office of Technology
Transfer, a contributor to the
program, is specifically dedi-
cated to moving development
projects along by providing
project teams, seeking out
venture capitalists and gener-
ally assisting entrepreneurs.
MTRAC seeks to augment these
efforts by proactively identify-
ing projects it can expedite.
"It builds on already a very
strong foundation," Chen said.
"I think it's the right time for us
to think about being proactive
about helping to move these
projects forward. It's a really
important strategic direction
we have to move in and it helps
to accelerate what was happen-
ing before organically."
In addition, Shanley and
Chang said the program, par-
tially funded by the state of
Michigan, has potential to spur
economic growth in the region
and state.
"There would some advan-
tage to the Michigan economy
if that development process
requires a new business entity
because that would mean jobs
and improved economy for the
state when achieving that mar-
ketable product," Shanley said.
"This is a very exciting part-
nership between the Medical
School and the state and we
think this is going to be a cru-
cial component of the overall
innovation program."
Besides the economic impact,
Chang said the program is cru-
cial in the crusade to improve
patient care.
"If we really want to change
the face of health care, if we
really want to impact patient
care we really have to think
about how the research we are
doing is going to become a new
product or innovation that is
going to get to the market and
impact people."

PATTY'S
FromPage 1
and reduce risks - like by not
serving drinks in glass bottles.
"Community nembers are a
major part of the effort to reduce
consequences that may happen in
the city," Pehlke said. "The police
don't have to be the only ones
around (watching out for public
safety)."
Pehlke said the community has
been extremely receptive to the
campaign as they want a profit-
able but drama-free weekend.
LSA sophomore Tommy
Wydra, vice president of social
responsibility for the Interfrater-
nity Council, said even though
relatively cold temperatures have
been forecasted for this weekend,
students will most likely hold
parties on off-campus locations
during the daytime. He said fra-
ternities have coordinated major
events for Saturday to allow for a
less chaotic environment for visi-
tors coming to town on Sunday.
The IFC is heading up a student
safety lookout program called
Michigan Ambassadors. Student
volunteers were trained by Uni-
versity Health Services, UMPD
and AAPD to evaluate the safe-

ness of parties.
LSA Student Government,
Central Student Government and
Beyond the Diag, a student orga-
nization promoting off-campus
safety, are partnering up to keep
students entertained and safe
on Sunday. The groups will take
shifts passing out food at differ-
ent locations on- and off-campus.
Caroline Canning, the presi-
dent of LSA Student Government,
said volunteers will be passing
out bagels in the morning for
early partiers. The group will be
located in areas with a high con-
centration of students: outside
the Union, at the corner of South
University and East University
streets, and the neighborhood
area on Oakland and East Univer-
sity streets.
"We just want to make sure that
students when they are waking up
early are able to have food in their
stomachs and staysafe throughout
the day," Canning said.
CSG will also be hosting its
second annual tailgate on the
Diag. There willbe performances,
music and free food for students.
"We don't want to ruin the fun,
we just want everyone to be fed
and hydrated," said Jill Clancy,
chief programming officer of the
CSG executive board.

Additionally, there will be Big
Ten Tournament watch parties at
the CCRB, the U Club and Pier-
pont Commons Friday, Saturday
and Sunday, as long as the team
continues in the tournament all
weekend.
Pehlke said these events are
usually well attended by students
and added that it is a common mis-
conception on campus that stu-
dents celebrate activities mainly
through consumingalcohol.
"All of our studies and research
has shown that most of our stu-
dents drink in a safe way and/
or don't drink," Pehlke said. "So
that's actuallythe norm."
University Police spokeswom-
an Diane Brown said in a state-
ment that there will be additional
uniformed officers patrolling the
Central Campus area through-
out the weekend. She added that
Joe Piersante, UMPD chief and
the interim executive director of
the Division of Public Safety and
Security, has also been collaborat-
ing with Ann Arbor Police Chief
John Seto and the Dean of Stu-
dents' office regarding the "stay
safe" messages for students.
"We're anticipating that stu-
dents and others will celebrate
passionately, but also responsibly
and stay safe," Brown said.

0
0

Pope Francis tied to 'dirty
war' debate in Argentina

Opinions of human
rights activists
differ on culpability
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina
(AP) - It's beyond dispute that
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, like most
other Argentines, failed to openly
confront the 1976-1983 military
junta as it kidnapped and killed
thousands of people in a "dirty
war" to eliminate leftist oppo-
nents.
But human rights activists dif-
fer on how much responsibility
Pope Francis personally deserves
for the Argentine church's dark
historyof supporting the murder-
ous dictatorship.
The new pope's authorized
biographer, Sergio Rubin, argues
that this was a failure of the
Roman Catholic Church in gen-

eral, and that it's unfair to label
Bergoglio, then athirtysomething
leader ofArgentina's Jesuits, with
the collective guilt that many
Argentines of his generation still
wrestle with.
"In some way many of us
Argentines ended up being
accomplices," at a time when
anyone who spoke out could be
targeted, Rubin recalled in an
interview with The Associated
Press just before the papal con-
clave.
SomeleadingArgentinehuman
rights activists agree that Bergo-
glio, now 76, doesn't deserve to
be lumped together with other
church figures who were closely
aligned with the dictatorship.
"Perhaps he didn't have the
courage of other priests, but he
never collaborated with the dic-
tatorship," Adolfo Perez Esquivel,
who won the 1980 Nobel Peace

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RELEASE DATE- Friday, March 15, 2013
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Prize for documenting the junta's
atrocities, said Thursday. "Ber-
goglio was no accomplice of the
dictatorship. He can't be accused
of that," Perez Esquiveltold Radio
de la Red in Buenos Aires.
But others say Bergoglio's rise
through the Argentine church
since then has put him in many
positionsofpowerwhere he could
have done more to atone for the
sins of Catholic officials who did
actively conspire with the dicta-
tors. Some priests even worked
insidetorture centers,andblessed
those doing the killing.
And now that. Argentina is
actively putting former dictator-
ship figures on trial for human
rights violations, they say he's
been more concerned about pre-
serving the church's image than
providing evidence that could
lead to convictions.
"There's hypocrisy here when
it comes to the church's conduct,
and with Bergoglio in particular,"
said Estela de la Cuadra, whose
family lost five members during
the junta years and whose mother
co-founded the Grandmothers of
the Plaza de Mayo activist group
to search for missing people.
"There are trials of all kinds now,
and Bergoglio systematically
refuses to support them."
Bergoglio twice invoked his
right under Argentine law to
refuse to appear in open court
in trials involving torture and
murder inside the feared Navy
Mechanics School and the theft
of babies from detainees. When
he eventually did testify in 2010,
his answers were evasive, human
rights attorney Myriam Bregman
told the AP.
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