13th Annual PI Retreat
The IMAT program is a key component of the NCI's strategy for catalyzing advances in our basic understanding and clinical options against cancer through support of transformative technology development. The NCI will be holding its annual IMAT investigators' retreat at the Methodist Research Hospital Institute in Houston this month, and would like to invite anyone in the area interested in or engaged in cancer research to see posters and presentations from our investigators. The intent of the retreat is to provide a collaborative and cooperative forum for grantees in the program to share ideas, showcase their technologies, and discuss progress and future directions with the possibility of catalyzing new collaborations with investigators who represent a broad range of scientific expertise. Participation from local area researchers in the open session is very much welcome. We hope you consider taking time to attend the session and see the latest research being performed under this program. Attendance is free, but please register here if you plan to attend.
IMAT-supported investigator named finalist for Innovation of the Year at the first annual SLAS meeting
Dr. David Beebe, a professor of Bioengineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an investigator at the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research, has been recognized at the first annual Society for Laboratory Automation & Screening (SLAS) meeting as a finalist for the Innovation of the Year Award for his breakthrough IFAST technology. His Immiscible Filtration Assisted by Surface Tension (IFAST) platform is a transformative new technology that allows researchers to isolate nucleic acids for analysis via a streamlined extraction process that eliminates all washing steps. As the SLAS meeting represents a merge of the Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA) and the Society for Biomolecular Sciences (SBS), Dr. Beebe's recognition becomes the third time an IMAT-supported investigator has been recognized for this award, and thus for pushing the boundaries of science through technology innovation (see prior news updates for past recognition of IMAT-supported investigators).
ThermoScientific to distribute IMAT-supported Iuvo™ technology in their Cellomics high-content analysis platform
The Iuvo™ platform line (available from Bellbrook Labs) are microchannel cell-based assays developed by Dr. David Beebe (with two phases of IMAT support) at the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research. In early February 2012, Bellbrook Labs and Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc announced an agreement under which Thermo Fisher will be distributing two of the Iuvo™ products for use with their Cellomics instruments. This agreement will result in broader access to the technology by the research community, and is a testament to the transformative potential of this unique innovation. Congratulations to Dr. Beebe and everyone on the Iuvo™ development team!
TransGenomic Corporation Accelerates Acquisition of IMAT Funded Technology
Transgenomic has announced that it has licensed a high-sensitivity mutation detection technology called Cold-PCR from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston.
This variation of the standard PCR technology enriches mutations in DNA samples and is a much more sensitive technique for finding low-level mutations in tissue and body fluids that are involved with a variety of diseases. Cold-PCR was invented at DFCI by Dr Mike Makrigiorgos, an multi-award IMAT grantee, who has demonstrated its effectiveness in enriching for mutations in cancer-related genes in samples where standard DNA sequencing is not sensitive enough to detect these very low concentration somatic DNA mutations. Read more about Cold-PCR technology here.
RiboMed Receives $150,000 Epigenetics Research Contract to Continue Work Funded through IMAT to Develop Better Detection Technologies for Cancer
RiboMed Biotechnologies, Inc. recently announced the receipt of a $150,000 Phase I contract from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop bisulfite-free, DNA methylation based diagnostic assays for prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancer. “This contract allows us to continue work that we started last year with NCI funding through its Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies Program (IMAT),” said RiboMed CEO Michelle Hanna. Read the press release here.
Second IMAT investigator named as finalist for ALA Innovation of the Year Award
For the second time in two years, an IMAT investigator has been named as a finalist for the American Laboratory Association's prestigious Innovator of the Year Award. The award recognizes work that is exceedingly innovative and contributes to the exploration of automation technologies in the laboratory. It comes with a $10,000 cash prize. Darren Link, a physicist who successfully developed a microfluidic-based droplet technology with the help of IMAT support, was named as finalist for the 2010 award. Dr. James Landers, another IMAT grantee, won the prestigious award for his work on Microfluidic Genetic Analysis (MGA) technology in 2008. Read the ALA announcement here.
United States Senator featured as Keynote Speaker at IMAT 2009 Principal Investigator's Meeting
United States Senator Jon Tester delivered a keynote address to a group of over 100 active IMAT grantees at the 10th Annual Principal Investigators Meeting of the IMAT program, expressing support for the development of cutting-edge treatment technologies to cure cancer. Read the Senator's press release here.
Two Individual IMAT Investigators Leverage Technologies To Receive Prestigious NIH Director's Transformative R01 Awards
Two IMAT investigators who have developed specific technologies through the program have continued to succeed in leveraging those technologies to meet scientific needs and applications within other NIH programs. Dr. Benjamin Cravatt from the Scripps Research Institute and Dr. Shohei Koide from the Unversity of Chicago both successfully received recent Transformative-R01 awards as part of the NIH Roadmap/Common Fund focusing on high-risk, high-impact research. Read more about the NIH Common Fund and Transformative-R01 mechanism here.
Pointers for the new NIH application format
NIH has restructured the application instructions and forms beginning on January 2010. These guidelines apply to all IMAT Funding Opportunities for 2010. As described on http://enhancing-peer-review.nih.gov/page_limits.html, the one page "specific aims" section is separate from the "research strategy" (6 pages for R21s, 12 pages for R33s). For all IMAT R21's, please briefly describe the proposed quantitative milestones in the specific aims section and justify the milestone within the research strategy section. Quantitative milestones describe a technical goal for a specific aim. For example, if your technology is proposed to be more specific than the current state-of-the-science, then the quantitative milestone would reflect that goal - as well as a technical plan for developing the technology in pursuit of that milestone.
As a reminder, please keep in mind that IMAT only supports the development of a technology and does not support traditional hypothesis-based projects. Hypothesis-based projects are those whose aims are focused on answering a biological/clinical question, rather than applying science in the development of a technology.
As an additional note, if you downloaded an application package prior to January 21, 2009 - please discard that copy and download a newly updated version. The newer version should include the PHS 398 Modular Budget form.
Meet IMAT at Pittcon 2010. March 3, 2010 - Orlando, FL
IMAT is hosting a symposium at the upcoming Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy. The symposium "The Application of Innovative Analytical Technologies to Cancer Research", Session 1850, will be held on Wednesday, March 3, 2010 from 8:00a - 11:00a in Room 205c and features discussions about various innovative technologies as well as a program discussion of IMAT.
NIH plans to commit at least $80M in 2010 to “bold and highly new innovative research approaches”
The NIH Director’s New Innovator (DP2) Award program aims to support early stage investigators to propose bold and highly innovative new research approaches that have the potential to produce a major impact on broad, important problems in biomedical and behavioral research.
OBBR Highlighted in Time Magazine's “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now: What's Next 2009”
The National Cancer Institute's Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research is leading an effort to build the U.S.'s first national biobanking resource. A Time Magazine article recently discussed this effort, naming it one of the "10 ideas changing the world right now." As a formal part of the OBBR, the IMAT Program possesses funding opportunities in biospecimen science aimed at supporting this important effort.
IMAT Investigator / Technology Wins 2008 “Innovation of the Year” Award
James Landers, a professor of chemistry and mechanical engineering and an associate professor of pathology at the University of Virginia, was recently recognized with the 2008 Innovation Award from the Association for Laboratory Automation ( ALA ) for his novel Microfluidic Genetic Analysis (MGA) technology. Landers' unique device resembles a common microscope slide, but it houses the analytical tools of an entire laboratory. Vastly complex and distinct procedures take place within millimeters of one another in tiny troughs that are etched into the chip. Minute tissue or blood samples are placed into the chip and electric charge is applied to the samples—for electrophoresis—to separate out particular sections of DNA based on what type of diagnosis is needed. Once the DNA is separated, it is replicated on one portion of the chip and then pushed to yet another area to be screened for irregularities. This lab-on-a-chip technology may enable rapid detection of cancer and infectious diseases, and at a fraction of the cost of current tests.
Two IMAT Technologies Featured in 2 Separate Issues of Science
Two IMAT technologies were recently featured in the journal Science. A handheld, ultra-portable device that can recognize and immediately report on a wide variety of environmental or medical compounds may eventually be possible using a method that incorporates a mixture of biologically tagged nanowires onto integrated circuit chips, according to one article written and published in the January 2009 issue of Science by researchers at the Pennsylvania State University
In a similar feature, two-time IMAT grantee David Beebe, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, was interviewed for his work on microfluidics in the November 2008 issue of Science. The article is entitled “Microfluidics: Bringing New Things to Life Science”.
IMAT Technology Featured in Nature Nanotechnology
The work of Dr Shanna O Kelley, an international IMAT grantee from the University of Toronto, was recently featured in an article published in the journal, Nature Nanotechnology. The work focused on the development of a single designer ligand—a chimeric DNA molecule—capable of controllably programming both the growth and the biofunctionalization of nanocrystals. Development of this novel technology saves both time- and labor-intensive processes and places the use of luminescent nanocrystals as customized lumiphores within reach for many researchers.
USPTO Approves 8 new patents on IMAT technologies in 2007-2008
IMAT Program investigators successfully secured the approval of 8 additional new patents for novel technologies in calendar year 2007 through 2008 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These newly approved patents bring the total number of patent-related IMAT technologies that cite a specific IMAT award number to approximately 110.
2009 IMAT RFAs Released
The 2009 IMAT Request for Applications (RFAs) have been synthesized and released. Application receipt dates for the 2009 RFAs are as follows: 2/23/09, 5/27/09, and 9/30/09. Please see the NIH Guide or the Funding Opportunities section of this website for more information and links to each of the IMAT Program's solicitations.
IMAT Announces New Affiliated Funding Opportunity Announcement in Biospecimen Integrity and Variability (2008)
As a part of the Biospecimen Research Network of the Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research (OBBR), the IMAT Program is pleased to announce the issuance of a new funding opportunity announcement directed at examining the variables associated with human biospecimen integrity.
IMAT Receives 5-Year Reauthorization (2007)
The IMAT Program is pleased to announce the renewal of this highly successful and competitive technology development initiative. The program has received approval from both the Executive Committee of the National Cancer Institute as well as its Board of Scientific Advisors for a 5-year continuation of the program and its related funding opportunities. Pursuant to the program's reissuance, new funding opportunities and funding opportunity announcements are currently being planned and synthesized. Additional details will be posted as they become available and all applicants or potential applicants are encouraged to check back soon for details.