UC Davis STAIR Grant Awards Over $400K to Advance Innovations Towards Commercialization
Innovators at UC Davis are receiving financial support to advance their research and technologies toward commercialization. The Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIR™) Grant program, managed by Venture Catalyst and funded by the UC Davis Office of Research, provides funding to support translational science and innovative research performed by UC Davis researchers. This year, six recipients were awarded a total of $409,000 for the fiscal year 2018–19, including funding from UC Davis Office of Research as well as additional financial support from the School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Biological Sciences, College of Engineering, and Innovation Institute for Food and Health. The program's award recipients include campus investigators developing technologies that could have a significant impact on pressing human and animal health issues as well as creating efficiencies to nourish and feed the world. The 2018-19 STAIR Grant Recipients are:
  • Peter Havel, professor, Department of Nutrition and Molecular Biosciences, Validation and Development of Natural Products as Triglyceride Lowering and Cardiovascular Protective Therapeutics
  • Stuart Meyers, professor, Department of Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, A Novel Method to Improve Salmonid Aquaculture
  • Alyssa Panitch, Edward Teller professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and executive associate dean, College of Engineering, Therapeutic Development to Improve Outcomes Following Myocardial Infarction
  • Jamie Peyton, chief of service, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, Novel Fish Skin Bandages for Treatment of Partial and Full Thickness Wounds
  • Venkatesan Sundaresan, professor, Department of Plant Biology and Department of Plant Sciences, Developing Clonal Hybrid Seeds in Maize
  • Allen Van Deynze, director of research at the Seed Biotechnology Center and associate director of the Plant Breeding Center, Department of Plant Sciences, Enabling Mechanical Harvesting of Peppers
UC Davis Honors Recipients of 2019 Chancellor’s Innovation Awards
UC Davis announced the recipients of the 2019 Chancellor’s Innovation Awards at a ceremony at the UC Davis Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. It is the fourth year for the awards, which recognize the important contributions of faculty, community partners and industry leaders in helping to establish UC Davis as a global leader in innovation. This year’s Innovators of the Year recipients are Jamie Peyton, chief of Integrative Medicine Service at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and Michael Rogawski, professor in the UC Davis Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology and former chair of the Department of Neurology.

Veterinarian Jamie Peyton was selected as an Innovator of the Year for her successful and groundbreaking use of sterilized tilapia skin to treat animals with burns. Neurologist Michael Rogawski was selected Innovator of the Year for his groundbreaking research with allopregnanolone, also known as brexanolone. Earlier this year, brexanolone received Food and Drug Administration approval as the first and only specific drug treatment for women with postpartum depression.
John and Lois Crowe received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation, which recognizes researchers whose career accomplishments include innovations that have led to a long-term positive impact on the lives of others and who are an inspiring influence for other innovators. They are known for their pioneering work understanding how certain organisms are able to survive extreme dehydration using a simple sugar called trehalose.

This year's recipient of the UC Davis Chancellor's Innovative Community Partner of the Year Award is the Sacramento Region Innovation Awards led by law firm Stoel Rives and accounting firm Moss Adams. The awards program was selected for its role in showcasing and strengthening our region's innovation community.
Innovation in Health Care Tops UC Davis Business Competition
The Big Bang! Business Competition, organized by the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the university’s Graduate School of Management, awarded a total of $110,850 in prizes for top concepts in food and agriculture, health, engineering, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies, and economic development in the Central Valley.

BioMilitus, a team of four graduate students and a researcher from UC Davis, captured the $7,500 People’s Choice Award and five others for a total of $22,000 including innovation lab services at the UC Davis-HM.Clause Life Science Innovation Center valued at $3,000. The company is developing the use of agricultural by-products to produce insects as nutrient-rich ingredients for feed in the poultry and aquaculture industries. The UC Davis-HM.Clause Life Science Innovation Center is an off-campus life science incubator and part of the UC Davis Venture Catalyst Distributed Research Incubation and Venture Engine (DRIVE TM) network of incubators. BioMilitus plans to use the incubator space to build a pilot program to produce animal feed from insects this summer ( read more from the Sacramento Business Journal).

Additional UC Davis-associated awardees at the competition included:
  • ​LiquidGoldConcept Inc. of Ypsilanti, Michigan: Simulation models for hands-on breastfeeding education for health care providers. Health Sector Award, $10,000.
  • PairAnything of Davis, California: A digital platform for wineries to engage customers and extend the personalized experience of the tasting room. Food + Agriculture Sector Award, $10,000. (Also $1,000 in Little Bang!)
  • RePurpose Energy of Davis and Sacramento, California: The reuse of electric-vehicle batteries to store renewable energy. Energy Sector Award, $10,000; CleanStart Award, $2,500; and services at Inventopia valued at $3,600.
  • VertX Advertising of Davis, California: Antimicrobially treated advertising products for public transportation. UC Davis Health Innovation Award, $3,000.
UC Davis Venture Catalyst Knowledge Exchange:
From Prototypes to Products: Developing Your Medical Device with Commercialization in Mind
  • Nicholas Ciccarelli, P.E., President and Principal Engineer, Neuma

Early-stage product development generally focuses on device feasibility and functionality. Once project viability has been established, the engineering team must pivot to prepare the device architecture and design for production. This talk, led by Nicholas Ciccarelli with the medical engineering company Neuma, will focus on product design and development after early-stage prototyping and product feasibility testing has commenced and will provide insight into considerations that can reduce the number of preventable design changes late in the product development process. Nicholas will discuss various manufacturing strategies that can be employed for medical device projects such as build-up of internal resources and infrastructure, transfer to a Contract Manufacturing Organization, or transfer to a manufacturing team within a pharmaceutical or medtech company. He will provide concrete examples of the real-world implications of Design for Manufacturability (can a component be manufactured?), Design for Assembly (can a device be put together?), and Design for Testing (can a device be tested correctly against its requirements?). In addition, the talk will explore the intersection of market research, product requirements, and manufacturing capacity.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Join us for lunch @
Oak Park Research Building, UC Davis Health Campus
2700 Stockton Blvd, Seminar Room 1305
Sacramento, CA 95817

EVENT COST: Free (Registration Required)
Synthetic Version of CBD Treats Seizures in Rats
A synthetic, non-intoxicating analogue of cannabidiol (CBD) is effective in treating seizures in rats, according to research done by UC Davis chemistry professor Mark Mascal. The synthetic CBD alternative is easier to purify than a plant extract, eliminates the need to use agricultural land for hemp cultivation, and could avoid legal complications with cannabis-related products. The work was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Products containing CBD have recently become popular for their potential health effects and because the compound does not cause a high. CBD is also being investigated as a pharmaceutical compound for conditions including anxiety, epilepsy, glaucoma and arthritis.... Read More
Chancellor Leads Delegation in France
UC Davis chancellor Gary S. May traveled to France, leading a university delegation to establish and enhance UC Davis partnerships with French institutions. Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor for Innovation & Technology Commercialization and executive director of Venture Catalyst, was part of the delegation where he facilitated the signing of an agreement of cooperation with the University of Montpellier and Montpellier university of excellence or MUSE, a consortium of seven European research institutions, to support transnational startup companies. MUSE signed on as a partner to the Worldwide Accelerated Research Partnership (WARP™) Program, which provides resources, enables business networks and provides soft-landing opportunities for international startups looking to accelerate their companies and explore a location in the Davis-Sacramento region. Coordinating with campus and community partners, the Venture Catalyst team helps facilitate connections to faculty members, research collaborations, incubator and research facilities, potential corporate partners and investors, business support and economic development organizations.... Read More
Nomination Period Open for the 2019 Sacramento Region Innovation Awards
The Sacramento Region Innovation Awards program is accepting nominations through July 19 for companies, entities, or individuals involved with innovative products or services. The program recognizes the area’s vibrant innovation community — from startups to established companies — and their breakthrough creations. The nomination categories this year include:
  • Advanced Manufacturing, Construction & Design
  • Food & Agribusiness
  • Government, Civic & Mobility
  • Hardware and Electronics
  • Medical & Health – MedTech
  • Medical & Health – BioPharma
  • Software
  • Sustainability
Metals Influence C-Peptide Hormone Related to Insulin
Metals such as zinc, copper and chromium bind to and influence a peptide involved in insulin production, according to a study published by a UC Davis assistant professor of chemistry Marie Heffern. The research is part of a new field of “metalloendocrinology” that takes a detailed look at the role of metals in biological processes in the body. The study looked at C-peptide, or connecting peptide, a short chain of amino acids. C-peptide is being investigated for potential in treating kidney disease and nerve damage in diabetes, so any better understanding of how it behaves in different conditions could be useful in drug development.... Read More
$9M Grant from NIH for New Center to Develop Safe Genome Editing Tools
UC Davis announced the launch of a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research center dedicated to helping the nation develop safe and effective genome editing tools to treat patients with both common and rare diseases. The UC Davis Nonhuman Primate Testing Center for Evaluation of Somatic Cell Genome Editing Tools will serve the nation’s research community and the public by supporting studies that advance the future treatment of human diseases with gene editing. The new UC Davis center is funded by an approximately $9 million grant from the NIH. It will provide nonhuman primate testing and support a range of funded projects for research institutions that are part of the NIH’s Somatic Cell Genome Editing (SCGE) Program.... Read More
Department of Defense Grant Will Support Novel Bladder Cancer Treatment Research
Kit Lam, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and a research leader at the NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, has received a $4.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study ways to improve immunotherapy treatment in patients with locally advanced and metastatic bladder cancer. Using novel technology already developed in the Lam lab, researchers will load microscopic capsules or “nanocarriers” with a drug called imiquimod, which stimulates the immune system, and deliver them intravenously directly to all tumor sites.... Read More
Artificial Intelligence Tool Scales up Alzheimer's Research
Researchers at UC Davis Health and UC San Francisco have found a way to teach a computer to detect one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease in human brain tissue. The research delivers a proof of concept for a machine-learning approach to distinguishing critical markers of the disease. The findings, published in Nature Communications, suggest that machine learning can add to the expertise and analysis of a neuropathologist.... Read More
UC Davis Unveils Preliminary Design and Issues RFQ for Aggie Square
UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced a preliminary design for Aggie Square, the new innovation hub to be built on the University’s Sacramento campus. The elements of the plan reflect the community priorities that have emerged from meetings with the Aggie Square Partnership Advisory Council and the Community Engagement Advisory Committee. These include an intense focus on workforce development and job creation for people in the neighborhoods surrounding the UC Davis Health campus. UC Davis also issued a request for qualifications, or RFQ, to real estate developers interested in financing, designing, building, owning and managing the first phase of Aggie Square.
Startup News
TMG and Verdeca Receive Approval to Commercialize HB4® Drought Tolerant Soybeans in Brazil
TMG, Tropical Melhoramiento & Genetica and Verdeca, a joint venture between Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. and Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp., announced that they have successfully completed the regulatory process and received commercial approval in Brazil from National Technical Commission of Biosafety (CTNBio) for Verdeca’s HB4® drought tolerant transgenic trait in soybeans. The approval allows the planting and harvesting of HB4 soybean varieties in Brazil.... Read More
Sage Therapeutics Announces U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Scheduling of ZULRESSO™ (brexanolone) Injection
Sage Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines to treat life-altering central nervous system (CNS) disorders, announced that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has placed ZULRESSO™ (brexanolone) injection into Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act. ZULRESSO, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 19, 2019, is the first and only treatment specifically approved for postpartum depression (PPD), the most common medical complication of childbirth.... Read More
Sapience Therapeutics Presented at the 2019 BIO International Convention
Sapience Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of peptide therapeutics to address difficult to treat oncology indications, presented an overview of company's platform, pipeline, and its lead candidate ST101 at the 2019 BIO International Convention held in Philadelphia... Read More
Top Medical Professionals Gather to Tackle Infant Gut Dysbiosis
Evolve BioSystems, makers of Evivo® baby probiotic, announced that it has convened an Infant Health Advisory Board drawing from the medical and scientific research community's foremost experts in infant health. The advisory board discussed how to restore the beneficial bacteria essential to establishing a functional infant microbiome, and reduce the risk of short and long-term health challenges.... Read More
Chrip Microsystems named a Finalist for the Best of Sensors Award
Chirp Microsystems, Inc. & TDK InvenSense were named as finalists for the Best of Sensors Awards 2019 at the Sensors 2019 expo and conference held in San Jose. Chrip, founded by a UC Davis engineering professor David Horsley, was acquired by TDK in February 2018.... Read More
Novoheart to Acquire Xellera Therapeutics
Novoheart Holdings Inc. announced it has entered into a definitive non-arm’s length agreement to acquire all of the shares of Xellera Therapeutics Limited for C$33,805,000 to be satisfied through the issuance of 93,000,000 common shares of the Company.... Read More
Novoheart Announces Appointment of New Chief Financial Officer
Novoheart Holdings Inc. announced the appointment of Joseph Leung as its new Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary. Joseph will be replacing Dr. Camie Chan, who has been serving as the Company’s interim CFO and Corporate Secretary. Joseph has accumulated nearly two decades of experience in the field of financial management and accounting, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, compliance and risk management, and the development and monitoring of control systems.... Read More
Startup of the Month: Foodnome (Comstock’s Magazine)
Foodnome was named the startup of the month by Comstock's Magazine. The company provides a platform to help cooks market and monetize home restaurants and build communities through shared dining experiences..... Read More
Startup Career Opportunities
Career Opportunities at Evolve Biosystems
Evolve Biosystems is currently hiring for several medical sales management positions and a research associate position.... Learn More
Career Opportunities at Sage Therapeutics
Sage Therapeutics is hiring for a wide range of positions from quality control internships to senior-director level positions.... Learn more
Regional Innovation News
SMUD Puts $15 Million Toward California Mobility Center in Sacramento (Sacramento Business Journal)
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) invested $15 million as the founding member towards the California Mobility Center, which will create a hub of future mobility technology in Sacramento. The initial funds from SMUD will be used towards recruiting other founding members and to establish operations in Sacramento. The California Mobility Center has numerous business and educational partners including the German automotive mobility firm PEM Motion, EnerTech Capital, Sacramento State, and UC Davis.... Read More
Sacramento's Greyrock Gets Second VC Investment from London-Based Firm (Sacramento Business Journal)
London venture capital firm, AP Ventures, has made a second investment in Sacramento-based Greyrock Energy Inc. Greyrock Energy has developed a technology that converts flared natural gas into diesel fuel. AP Ventures made its first investment in Greyrock in September 2016.... Read More
Ready-to-Eat Meals Startup Thistle Plans to Open 250-Worker Plant in Solano County (North Bay Business Journal)
Healthy-meal delivery service startup Thistle plans to set up operations in Solano County and recruit 250 employees to produce, pack, and distribute their meals to customers in California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. The San Francisco- based startup predominantly focuses on plant-based, gluten and dairy-free, locally sourced ingredients to produce their meals.... Read More
Applied Spectra Locates Headquarters in West Sacramento, California (Area Development)
Applied Spectra, developer and manufacturer of laser ablation based instruments, has decided to relocate its headquarters to West Sacramento. The company, originally formed in the Bay Area, will now move into a 13,000+ square feet operating space, which will allow them to meet rising demand for their J200 Series LIBS, LA, and Tandem LA – LIBS Instruments.... Read More
Innovation Insight
Incubators Take Notice: Your Entrepreneurs Are Networking with the Wrong People (Harvard Business School)
Research conducted by Harvard Business School Professor Rembrand M. Koning indicates that an increasing number of entrepreneurs in incubators only network and partner with people they already know, rather than connecting with new people, which diminishes the learning potential.... Read More
The One Thing VCs Think Startups Need To Succeed (Forbes)
The human capital that makes up the startup is a very important aspect to venture capitalists. The ability for startup leadership to attract and retain the best talent, will ultimately determine its success. VCs traditionally have provided recruiting support to startups, but some VCs nowadays also provide ongoing training, coaching, and other support to address some of the recruiting and retaining challenges that startups may face as they scale.... Read More
Analysis Finds Software Accounts for Nearly One-Third of Business R&D, Up 60 Percent Over 10-Years (State Science & Technology Institute)
A new research conducted by National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows that software plays a large role in R&D in the private sector. The research finds that business R&D coming from software has increased by 60 percent, from 20 percent share in 2006 to 32 percent in 2016.... Read More
Funding Opportunities
Essential Open Source Software for Science
Application Deadline: August 1, 2019.... Learn More
Small Farm Tech Challenge
Application Deadline: October 31, 2019.... Learn More
UC Santa Cruz SVLink Accelerator
Application Deadline: Applications Accepted on the 15th of Each Month Until Full.... Learn More
AgLaunch 365
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
Extreme Tech Challenge
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
IndieBio Accelerator
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
Open SBIR/STTR Grant Topics. ... Learn More
Educational Opportunities
Valley Ventures Accelerator Fall 2019 Cohort
Application Deadline: Currently Accepting.... Learn More
Big Ideas Innovation Ambassador
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Read More
UC Davis Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Business Development Fellows
Application Deadline: July 1, 2019.... Learn More
UC Davis Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Biomedical + Engineering Entrepreneurship Academy
Date: July 15-16, 2019.... Learn More
UC Davis Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship UC Entrepreneurship Academy
Date: September 10-12, 2019.... Learn More
GeoVet Conference: Novel and Spatio-Temporal Approaches in the Era of Big Data
Date: October 8-10, 2019.... Learn More
Regional Events
CleanStart Cleantech Meetup
Date: June 27, 2019.... Learn More
AgStart Midsummer Mixer
Date: July 11, 2019.... Learn More
Startup Grind Summer Party
Date: July 16, 2019.... Learn More
Startup Grind Sacramento, Dinakar Munagala, Thinci
Date: August 13, 2019.... Learn More
Startup Grind Sacramento, Pam Marrone, Marrone Bio Innovation
Date: September 10, 2019.... Learn More
Small Business Development Center Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
HackerLab Hands-On Education
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Silicon Valley USPTO Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
1 Million Cups
Date: Weekly (Wednesdays).... Learn More
Industry Events
JLABS Intercepting Cancer – Single Cell Sequencing Ready to Transform (South San Francisco, CA)
Date: June 26, 2019.... Learn More
Forbes AgTech Summit (Salinas, CA)
Date: June 26-27, 2019.... Learn More
ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit (Denver, CO)
July 8-10, 2019.... Learn More
BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology (Des Moines, IA)
Date: July 8-11, 2019.... Learn More
Semicon West (San Francisco, CA)
Date: July 9-11, 2019.... Learn More
New Harvest (Cambridge, MA)
Date: July 19-20, 2019.... Learn More
California Life Sciences Association Open House (South San Francisco, CA)
Date: July 23, 2019.... Learn More
Biocom DeviceFest & Digital Health Conference (Carlsbad, CA)
Date: August 28, 2019.... Learn More
Biocom Open House (South San Francisco, CA)
Date: August 29, 2019.... Learn More
Injectables Summit (San Diego, CA)
Date: September 24-26, 2019.... Learn More
Regenerative Food Systems Investment Forum
Date: September 30 - October 1, 2019.... Learn More
SynBioBet Global Synthetic Biology Summit (San Francisco, CA)
Date: October 1-3, 2019.... Learn More
TechCrunch Disrupt (San Francisco, CA)
Date: October 2-4, 2019.... Learn More
TechConnect AI, Defense, Smart Cities, and SBIR/STTR Fall Summit & Expo (National Harbor, MD)
Date: October 8-10, 2019.... Learn More
Biocom Life Science Harvest Day (Berkeley, CA)
Date: October 17, 2019.... Learn More
About Venture Catalyst 
UC Davis Venture Catalyst facilitates the translation of University research and technology by enabling the development of new ventures. Venture Catalyst engages with the Davis and Sacramento business, governmental and economic development community to highlight the development of technologies and ventures coming out of UC Davis that will drive tomorrow’s regional job creation. Working closely with these partners, Venture Catalyst is invigorating the technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystem of the entire region. 
The Venture Catalyst START™ Suite of programs and services provides the ABCs to equip UC Davis entrepreneurs with the tools they need to form and grow robust startups. The program gives founders the START they need to create a well-structured company and ensure the company is prepared for success. 
Contact Venture Catalyst 
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