News Article | May 4, 2017
Southern Research's first TrainSafe class, focusing on biological risk mitigation in a BSL-3 lab, is scheduled to begin June 5. Click here to register. "The Southern Research center is new and innovative, and I think this is a life-saving program that can help to protect entire communities," said Kaufman, CEO and founder of Behavioral-Based Improvement Solutions in Atlanta. "The consequences of having a laboratory staff member not being prepared to work with these very dangerous pathogens could be huge," he added. "They could bring this home to their families. They can start outbreaks like we saw with SARS in China and Canada that go worldwide." A second tier of the TrainSafe program focuses on protective measures that front-line health care workers – doctors, nurses and emergency responders – need to use when encountering a patient suffering from a potentially deadly infectious disease. "At Southern Research, we're going to be training folks to make sure they do the right things when they are treating people with serious infectious diseases. We cannot repeat what happened in 2014 with the two nurses getting sick while treating an Ebola-infected patient in Texas," Kaufman said. Art Tipton, Ph.D., president and CEO of Birmingham-based Southern Research, said it's crucial that research laboratories and hospitals across the United States embrace a culture of safety and preparedness due to the rising threat of dangerous infectious diseases including Ebola, avian influenza and MERS. "The multi-dimensional TrainSafe center demonstrates Southern Research's commitment to being a leader in improving training and critical safety practices in environments such as laboratories and health care facilities. We are thrilled to be working with Sean on this important program," Tipton said. "Virulent infectious diseases are a growing public health threat, and this training program at our one-of-a-kind center will help lessen the risks posed by the unintentional spreading of these emerging diseases," he added. The TrainSafe facility is designed to permit practical, hands-on training in authentic environments. An advantage of the highly realistic mock BSL-3 lab is that training can take place at any time, unlike a fully operational lab, which would have to be shut down and decontaminated. The ambulance bay and isolation room section of the TrainSafe center is designed to mimic the arrival of a severely sick patient for hospital care. Patient transport can be extremely hazardous for caregivers, who are often not prepared for contact with unfamiliar and dangerous infections. Changing rooms in the facility will be used to instruct trainees how to safely put on, and take off, personal protective gear, including masks, gowns, gloves, positive-pressure respirators and full hazmat suits. Knowing how to remove this gear properly is particularly important in preventing accidental infections. "Training is an opportunity to shake things up, challenge perceptions and make sure people are operating in a safe and effective manner while working in these situations," Kaufman said. Kaufman, a behavioral psychologist, has extensive biosafety training experience. He managed a training program at a simulated BSL-3 lab at another institution for 10 years and has conducted biosafety training for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he once worked. In 2014, Kaufman conducted training exercises for doctors and nurses at Emory before two American volunteers working in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak arrived at the Atlanta hospital for treatment. He remained at the hospital to provide safety expertise during their care. While no one was infected with Ebola there, the danger was highlighted later that year when two nurses at a Dallas hospital were infected with the virus while treating a patient who had contracted the disease while in Africa. Kaufman says that episode underscores the need for more intensive training for health care workers. "We have people working with very dangerous pathogens and very sick patients, and they don't know what they are doing," he said. "In working with laboratories over the last 12 years, I have had a chance to see that no matter where you are in your career, you still need training." During the decade he managed the training lab, Kaufman said more than 10,000 professionals from the global scientific community participated in the biosafety program. He expects a similar response to Southern Research's TrainSafe initiative. "This is an international program," Kaufman said. "People will come from around the world." Provided by Newswise, online resource for knowledge-based news at www.newswise.com To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/southern-research-initiates-intensive-trainsafe-biosafety-training-program-300451924.html
News Article | August 3, 2017
"Some of these disorders actually converge on similar pathways in the brain. Even though they look different on the outside, if you look at one region of the brain, the process at the cell level is actually very similar," Cowell said. "The idea is that if we could understand what that process is, we could use one drug to target one set of symptoms that is common to these diseases," she added. Mark Suto, Ph.D., vice president of Southern Research's Drug Discovery division, said Cowell's work on neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Parkinson's, provides a solid foundation to build on in the Neuroscience Department. "Rita's extensive understanding of these debilitating neurological disorders will be instrumental in advancing our goal of discovering novel treatments for patients who desperately need help," Suto said. "We believe that she is the ideal person to direct our Neuroscience Department as we strategically expand it over time into new areas of investigation that align with our drug discovery mission," he added. The NIH says neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people worldwide. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are the most common types in the U.S., with Alzheimer's affecting more than 5 million people while Parkinson's affects at least 500,000, according to the NIH. These diseases occur when nerve cells in the brain lose function and eventually die. Other disorders in this group include Huntington's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's). In addition, schizophrenia is a disorder with some similar characteristics that have been examined in Cowell-led targeted investigations. Cowell's research has focused on how cellular pathways in the brain are disrupted in these diseases. "All these diseases have very characteristic symptoms. Someone will go into a clinic and they have a memory problem or they have a problem with uncontrolled movements," she said. "What distinguishes these diseases and their symptoms from each other is the cell types in the brain that are dying." In Parkison's, for instance, the neurons in the brain producing dopamine are dying. In Alzheimer's, the neurons producing acetylcholine, another neurotransmitter that sends signals to other cells, are dying. "What we're trying to do is to use our understanding of the basic biology of how neurons work to understand how they're aging and how they're dying in people that have these disorders," Cowell said. Cowell's work on Parkinson's has been funded through a five-year grant from the NIH and support from the foundation of Michael J. Fox, the actor fighting the disease. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has funded her work on Huntington's. Cowell joins Southern Research after 10 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where she last served as associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology. She also served as co-director of the Neuroscience Graduate Theme for the program in Biomedical Services at UAB and as associate director for communications and outreach for the Civitan International Research Center. Southern Research and UAB are close collaborators and joined together to form the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance, which is currently funding three neuroscience projects. Cowell said Southern Research's extensive drug discovery capabilities allow her to pursue her ultimate goal of developing a small-molecule drug that could prove useful against a number of neurological diseases. Her laboratory has identified a target that could play a role in the development of these disorders - a protein by the name of PGC-1 alpha that could be solid target for a new treatment. Cowell holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Michigan. Her longstanding interest in neurodegenerative disorders comes with a personal connection. "My grandmother had Alzheimer's. I think everyone has links to some of these neurodegenerative diseases," she said. This news release was issued on behalf of Newswise(TM). For more information, visit http://www.newswise.com.
News Article | May 31, 2017
"Complementing our strong science and engineering are great administrative functions. Critical among these are contracts, which define how we work with our government and commercial clients," said Art Tipton, Ph.D., president and CEO of Southern Research. "Lillie has the experience and talent to help us continue and improve our strong contract processes in a way that drives additional growth," Tipton added. "We're thrilled to have her on board." At Southern Research, Ryans takes charge of a contracts team with a dozen staff members working in close coordination with the organization's Drug Discovery, Drug Development, Engineering, and Energy & Environment divisions. The team negotiates and manages contracts with government organizations such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense, as well as commercial enterprises including large pharmaceutical and aerospace companies. "In this highly visible role, Lillie's leadership style will strengthen the collaboration among the contracts team and across all of our divisions, now and into the future," said Michael Catalano, a Southern Research vice president and general counsel. "In addition to the day to day management of responsibilities, Lillie will identify opportunities for process improvement, lead training and development initiatives for the contracts team, and help to integrate certain functions of the intellectual property department into the contracts team." "I appreciate the kind of work being done at Southern Research and the impact it has on the lives of people," Ryans said. "Activities like cancer research and Alzheimer's research resonate with everybody. I look forward to being part of an organization that has a powerful vision and mission." At SRI International, Ryans was responsible for providing pre-award management for research contracts generating revenue exceeding $500 million. Prior to that, she served as director of Engineering Research Administration at Stanford University and as deputy director of the Office of Sponsored Research, where she provided pre- and post-award management. She holds a master's degree in procurement and contract management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. About Southern Research Founded in 1941, Southern Research (SR) is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and engineering research organization that supports clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental, and energy industries. SR's staff of nearly 500 works across four divisions: Drug Discovery, Drug Development, Engineering, and Energy & Environment. We pursue entrepreneurial and collaborative initiatives to develop and maintain a pipeline of intellectual property and innovative technologies that positively impact real-world problems. Learn more at www.SouthernResearch.org. This news release was issued on behalf of Newswise(TM). For more information, visit http://www.newswise.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/southern-research-taps-lillie-ryans-as-director-of-contracts-300466445.html
News Article | August 17, 2017
Southern Research's Energy & Environment division (E&E) will participate as a subcontractor to WRI to provide renewable acrylonitrile -- the key raw material needed to produce the highest quality carbon fibers -- produced from biomass-derived second generation sugars. "At Southern Research we have developed an innovative, thermocatalytic process that converts second generation sugars obtained from biomass to acrylonitrile," said Amit Goyal, Ph.D., manager, Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis and principal investigator for Southern Research's E&E division. The Southern Research process produces a direct drop-in replacement for petroleum acrylonitrile that is both economically competitive and sustainable, lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 40 percent. "Ninety percent of the world's carbon fiber production utilizes acrylonitrile as a raw material, growing at 11 to 18 percent per year. Due to the high growth rate of carbon fiber production, any reduction on GHG will be highly impactful," Goyal said. The goal of the project with WRI is to expand the range of biomass feedstocks that the Southern Research process can use and to understand how the process is affected by impurities that change when different types of biomass and different biomass-to-sugar processes are used. Experimental data generated in this project will allow collaborators to better predict and improve the overall cost and application areas for carbon fibers. "The Southern Research process for producing acrylonitrile from biomass-derived sugars has the promise of changing the economics and environmental footprint of this important specialty chemical," said Bill Grieco, Ph.D., vice president of Southern Research's E&E division. "Making that process more robust and agnostic to biomass sugar feedstock is another important step toward commercialization of the technology," he added. Team members working on the project led by WRI are Ramaco Carbon LLC, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Grossman Advanced Materials Group, Terra Power LLC, Autodesk Inc., Advanced Carbon Products LLC, and The University of Wyoming. The project is among 22 announced in July by DOE related to research into advanced vehicle technologies. Founded in 1941, Southern Research (SR) is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and engineering research organization that supports clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental, and energy industries. SR's staff of nearly 500 works across four divisions: Drug Discovery, Drug Development, Engineering, and Energy & Environment. We pursue entrepreneurial and collaborative initiatives to develop and maintain a pipeline of intellectual property and innovative technologies that positively impact real-world problems. Learn more at www.SouthernResearch.org. This news release was issued on behalf of Newswise(TM). For more information, visit http://www.newswise.com.
News Article | September 20, 2017
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Sept. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Southern Research and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) have formed a partnership to advance promising research that could lead to new drugs that address unmet medical needs. The collaborative program links the drug discovery and development expertise of Birmingham-based Southern Research with UTHSC's four-campus research network, which was involved in sponsored programs valued at $240.5 million in fiscal year 2016. "We believe there are a lot of synergies between the two organizations," said Mark Suto, Ph.D., vice president of Drug Discovery for Southern Research. "UTHSC brings novel scientific insights into diseases with poor treatment options, and we have proven capabilities in drug discovery and development." "This collaboration with talented UTHSC researchers has great potential to lead to significant discoveries," Suto added. The new UTHSC/SR Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) Award in Drug Discovery and Development represents an extension of a program launched by Steven R. Goodman, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research at UTHSC in 2016. The CORNET Awards are designed to provide seed money to support new collaborative research teams and their projects. To-date, the program has provided over $1.1 million in funding to promising university research teams. Glen E. Palmer, Ph.D., an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy at UTHSC, has been selected to receive the first jointly funded UTHSC/SR CORNET Award. Palmer is targeting the development of an entirely new class of antifungal medications to combat a range of invasive fungal infections, which are blamed in an estimated 1.5 million deaths a year. "I want to congratulate Dr. Glen Palmer on being our first UTHSC/SR CORNET Award recipient and a second-time CORNET awardee," Goodman said. "The UTHSC/SR CORNET Award is focused on drug discovery and development for any human disease. We are hopeful that Dr. Palmer's exciting work and our partnership with Southern Research will lead to a new class of medications against invasive fungal infections." TEAMWORK APPROACH Under the new program, UTHSC scientists can apply for funding to advance their research. The partnership is awarding Palmer $50,000 per year for up to two years, with funding for year two dependent upon progress made in year one. Research projects receiving funding from the UTHSC/SR CORNET Award can take advantage of the shared resources of Southern Research and UTHSC to facilitate drug discovery and development efforts aimed at any disease. Southern Research's established drug discovery infrastructure will play a key role in the partnership. The organization's High-Throughput Screening (HTS) Center has a library of more than 1 million compounds and state-of-the-art robotic equipment for a wide variety of screens. The Birmingham-based non-profit also has deep expertise in medicinal chemistry and pre-clinical drug development, along with bio-containment laboratories and other resources. Southern Research scientists have discovered seven FDA-approved drugs used in cancer treatment and have evaluated a significant percentage of all medicines on the market. Southern Research and UTHSC will jointly own intellectual property resulting from projects receiving support from the program. Outside partners will be sought for clinical development and commercialization when projects reach an advanced stage. INITIAL PROJECT Palmer's research project, titled "Targeting the Aromatic Amino Acid Synthesis Pathway to Develop a New Class of Broad Spectrum Antimicrobial Agents," aims to develop first-in-class broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents for the treatment of what are often fatal invasive fungal infections. These infections are a serious and growing global health problem, with mortality rates often exceeding 50 percent for many fungal pathogens. Disturbingly, some of these pathogens are developing resistance to the antifungal drugs now in use. "Mortality rates associated with invasive fungal infections have remained alarmingly high, as many of the antifungal drugs currently available are ineffective in treating these infections, or in some cases themselves are toxic to the patients," Palmer said. "Over the last few years, my lab has devised some novel approaches to discover new antimicrobial compounds. The collaborative effort between the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Southern Research will provide a framework with the resources needed to apply these methods on a scale at which they can have a real impact," he added. "Additionally, it will bring the know-how and experience needed to progress the experimental therapeutics we discover towards new and improved drugs to ultimately improve the prognoses of patients with life-threatening invasive fungal infections." Southern Research's HTS Center will assist Palmer in screening around 200,000 compounds for active chemical leads as part of the project. Southern Research's Chemistry Department will play an integral role in the work after the initial active compounds are identified.
Yamshchikov V.,Southern Research
Virology | Year: 2015
West Nile virus has become an important epidemiological problem attracting significant attention of health authorities, mass media, and the public. Although there are promising advancements toward addressing the vaccine need, the perspectives of the commercial availability of the vaccine remain uncertain. To a large extent this is due to lack of a sustained interest for further commercial development of the vaccines already undergoing the preclinical and clinical development, and a predicted insignificant cost effectiveness of mass vaccination. There is a need for a safe, efficacious and cost effective vaccine, which can improve the feasibility of a targeted vaccination program. In the present report, we summarize the background, the rationale, and the choice of the development pathway that we selected for the design of a live attenuated human West Nile vaccine in a novel infectious DNA format. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.92K | Year: 2015
ABSTRACT: This Phase I effort will identify and evaluate candidate materials to replace existing beryllium-copper alloy components for use in aerospace ground test flow facilities. The candidate materials must offer similar or better performance metrics (dimensional stability, lifetime, etc.), be domestically and readily available, offer similar or cheaper costs, and the ability to withstand temperatures and pressures on the order of 1000?F and 2000 psi, respectfully. This will be achieved through the identification of the wind tunnel nozzle details; selecting candidate materials based on the desirable melting temperature, mechanical erosion resistance, elevated temperature stability, thermodynamic stability, and theoretical thermal-structural performance; detailed design and analysis trade studies via the finite element method to establish preliminary design options; billets/test specimens fabrication; and characterization of critical material properties. The fabrication approaches will consider Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS), electrochemical deposition (EL-Form?), and Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP). The characterization efforts will measure critical properties including thermal diffusivity (thermal conductivity, density, and specific heat), thermal expansion, Young?s modulus, and tensile strength/strain capability at select temperatures within the range of 75 - 3000?F for two candidate materials to replace beryllium-copper.; BENEFIT: The anticipated results of this Phase I project will include material property database development for two candidate materials to replace beryllium-copper and the establishment of preliminary design concepts for their use within the high pressure wind tunnel. The material property database development will initially be derived from experimental results developed from previous and ongoing programs coupled with literature data. These databases will then be supplemented with experimentally-derived material property measurements to be performed in this proposed effort. The characterization will measure critical properties including thermal diffusivity (thermal conductivity, density, and specific heat), thermal expansion, Young?s modulus, and tensile strength/strain capability at select temperatures within the range of 75 - 3000?F. The preliminary designs will define theoretically attractive design options for the entire wind tunnel nozzle assembly, including the identification of any necessary modifications to the existing materials and hardware. This proposed STTR fits into MR&D?s expanding role as designers of advanced materials for extreme environments for demanding commercial and aerospace/defense applications. Technical success in this proposed effort will further enhance our position of offering unique and desirable design and analysis technology. Since MR&D is a design service-based company, the designs that we develop become the property of our customers. Thus the MR&D business plan does not envision growth in terms of numbers of fabricated components or growth in sales of developed software products or database systems. Rather the proposed Phase I program will result in design expertise coupled with applicable fabrication and experimentation that ultimately can be used to assist the Air Force. Additionally the high pressure wind tunnel design knowledge gained by MR&D from the Phase I program will open new opportunities to provide design and analysis services for various potential customers.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.95K | Year: 2010
This Phase I STTR effort will be focused on fabricating and scientifically characterizing Mo/Re (59 Mo-41 Re), and W-25Re alloys with other alloying additions such as small % of dispersion strengthening materials such as zirconia, hafnia, tungsten carbide, Hafnium (Hf), Zirconium, TaC, Hf-based carbides in select geometrical shapes using UTRON Kinetics''s innovative, and cost-effective Combustion Driven Powder Compaction (CDC) at higher pressures (e.g., up to 85-150 tsi). The samples will be fabricated using commercially available fine powders and select geometries to be fabricated include 1 inch diameter cylindrical disks, 3.5 inch long tensile dogbones as well as small scale near net shape geometry such as hollow cylinder valves using the existing tooling. We will develop the key CDC process optimization for various proposed alloys, suitable sintering response in hydrogen or suitable environment (e.g., vacuum/hydrogen sintering), density changes, geometry/surface/part quality, select mechanical tensile properties at room and elevated temperatures (e.g., 3500 F or higher in consulation with MDA sponsor and subcontractors such as ATK/SORI), microstructures and microchemistry. Based on the optimum process conditions, representative small scale hollow valve/liner (Phase I) and other complex high temperature components will also be fabricated using a special die/punch assembly and scaling up in Phase II. Further process optimization on the most promising W-Re and Mo/Re alloys or the dispersion strengthened alloy composites and rapid manufacturing strategies will be established and continued in Phase II and Phase III.
News Article | February 15, 2017
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Southern Research has been selected by NASA's Johnson Space Center for work under a specialized engineering, aeronautic, and manufacturing (SEAM) contract to support the Houston center's Flight Operations Directorate, which...
News Article | December 13, 2016
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Dec. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mark J. Suto, Ph.D., vice president of Drug Discovery at Southern Research, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) in recognition of his wide-ranging contributions to pharmaceutical research and drug...