August 1, 2018 -- Earlier this summer, IBBR Fellows Dr. Silvia Muro and Dr. Daniel Nelson were each awarded $15,000 Seed Grants from UM Ventures.
UM Ventures is a joint technology transfer initiative of the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State. The UM Ventures Seed Grant Program supports University of Maryland inventors as they work to move their innovations toward commercial viability.
Dr. Muro’s project will expand the applications of her patented peptides that specifically target cellular structures called lysosomes, defects of which are the cause of a range of severe genetic disorders. Dr. Muro’s peptides enable delivery of biological therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier, and then into lysosomes. Dr. Muro now plans to attach her peptides to new biologics against additional lysosomal and other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Nelson’s project will advance his patented technology that targets Bacillus bacteria, including the organism that causes anthrax (B. anthracis) and another that causes a serious form of food-poisoning (B. cereus). Dr. Nelson’s group has identified nine families of Bacillus-destroying enzymes from viruses that infect and kill Bacillus. The current project involves “mixing and matching” components of these proteins to optimize their activity and translational potential.