UWM Research Foundation awards new Catalyst Grants for health projects

The UWM Research Foundation has recently awarded Catalyst Grant funding totaling $150,000 for UWM research projects that focus on new treatments for human health.

Now in its 15th year, the Catalyst Grant Program collectively has awarded more than $5.58 million dollars in seed funding for 105 projects. These projects have led to nearly $29 million in follow-on investments in UWM technologies, 59 issued patents and 28 license/option agreements.

The grants, supported by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, advance promising research in areas where UWM has the greatest potential to impact the regional economy through commercialization activities. Projects awarded include:

An anti-cancer drug for bone healing

Priya Premnath

Priya Premnath’s research focuses on the biomechanics of bone growth, creation of bone formation-mimicking biomaterials, and development of regenerative treatments for injury and disease. Her engineering research team will study the use of a known compound for a new purpose: the support of bone regeneration. The team also will analyze fracture-healing in an aged mouse model.

New therapeutics for inflammatory skin disorders

Alexander “Leggy” Arnold

The work of Alexander “Leggy” Arnold (chemistry) focuses on design and synthesis of small-molecule drugs that target receptors in the body to treat disease. The GABA(A) receptor has been studied for decades in the brain, but the Arnold lab in chemistry and their collaborators determined that this receptor is also present in the lung and skin. This grant will aid in exploring drugs for skin disorders linked to inflammation such as dermatitis.

Alleviating menopausal hot flashes and improving memory

Karyn Frick

Karyn Frick (psychology) is studying how hormones, aging and environmental factors affect brain function and memory. She joined forces with researchers from Marquette University and Concordia University to develop estrogen-based drugs that protect memory and address other symptoms of menopause without harmful side effects. These studies will help determine which of their compounds is the best candidate for FDA trials.

A new tool to improve maternal health

AkkeNeel Talsma

AkkeNeel Talsma (nursing) is the founder and CEO of Melius Outcomes, a company creating software that captures data from electronic health records to identify poor patient outcomes. This funding builds upon previous Bradley Catalyst Grant funds awarded in 2019 to build MaternityMetrix, a platform that focuses on patient outcomes for mothers and infants during pregnancy and after delivery.

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