Amid COVID, ODAT continues to support human health innovations

In spite of the impact of COVID-19 on operations, University researchers and faculty have continued to innovate and advance promising solutions to improve human health, and the Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT) remains committed to supporting their work.

ODAT has issued thirteen new awards across its various funding programs since January 2020, ranging from pharmaceuticals to global health innovations. 

Each of the ODAT recipients below will have access to guidance related to development of human health technologies through ODAT staff and industry-based experts, in addition to funding support.

2020 ODAT Spring/Summer Grantees

Committee for Pharmaceutical Development Program

The Committee for Pharmaceutical Development Program is tailored to support the important development work needed to advance later-stage pharmaceutical innovations on the path to commercialization. The CPD program remains open to applications on a continuous basis.


    • Li Ou, PhD and Chester Whitley, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, “A novel gene editing platform to treat Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff diseases”

Translational Product Development Fund Program

The Translational Product Development Fund Program, a joint program with Mayo Clinic, supports UMN and Mayo Clinic human health technologies with commercialization potential. Projects may be collaborative between UMN and Mayo, or single institution projects.


    • Rumi Faizer, MD and Victor Barocas, PhD (UMN), ”A Compliant Stent-graft to Lower Blood Pressure in Patients with Aortic Disease”
    • Richard Vile, PhD (Mayo Clinic) and Ruben Harris, PhD (UMN), “Translation of an APOBEC3B-modified vaccine, in combination with checkpoint inhibition, for the treatment of adult human, and companion animal canine, glioblastoma”
    • Luis Savastano, MD, PhD (Mayo Clinic), “Minimally Invasive Drainage of Subdural Hematomas”

Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium Program

The Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium Program is positioned to support the development of new products or services that improve pediatric health. The PDIC program accepts new funding applications on a continuous basis.


    • Michael Pitt, MD and John Sartori, PhD, “Q-Rounds: Taking the Waiting Around out of Rounds with a Virtual Queue”
    • Natasha Wright, PhD and Michelle Rheault, MD, “Rapid, on-demand peritoneal dialysis fluid compounding for low resource settings”

Translational Grant Program

Each annual RFA cycle of the Translational Grant Program has a unique, targeted area of innovation. ODAT utilized the 2020 Translational Grant Program to support promising early-stage therapeutics.


    • Alessandro Bartolomucci, PhD, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, “A new class of C3aR1 agonists for the treatment of obesity”
    • Jan Czyzyk, MD, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, “Development of a novel antibody to serpinB13 for therapy in diabetes”
    • Daniel Harki, PhD, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, “Development of Selective Aurora Kinase A Degraders for the Treatment of N-Myc-driven Cancers”
    • Man Liu, PhD, Department of Medicine, “Treatment of cardiac diastolic dysfunction with a mitoTEMPO analog”
    • Venkatram Mereddy, PhD, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences, “Novel Drugs Targeting Metabolic Plasticity for Breast Cancer Treatment”
    • William Pomerantz, PhD, Department of Chemistry, “Development of a Selective BRD4 inhibitor as an Epigenetic Anti-Cancer Therapeutic”
    • Subbaya Subramanian, PhD, Department of Surgery, “Engineered Exosomes for the Treatment of Advanced Stage Colorectal Cancer”

ODAT is currently evaluating applications for its most recent Translational Grant Program RFA targeting innovations that address health impacts created or exacerbated by COVID-19. Those awards are anticipated to be selected and announced by late August 2020.

“While COVID-19 is a key area of research that ODAT is addressing in our current RFA, these recently awarded projects continue to advance potential solutions for wide ranging conditions and patient populations,” said ODAT Director Tucker LeBien, PhD. “ODAT aspires to have the broadest impact possible with our funding programs and resources.”

See CTSI’s site for more information on individual ODAT funding programs, timelines, and application processes.