TAF Impact: Bringing Personalized Medicine to the Next Level
SUNY Distinguished Professor Thomas Begley says his favorite part of research is solving puzzles. “I like to take complex data and find patterns in it, that's really fulfilling for me.”
Working in his lab at the RNA Institute, the University at Albany researcher studies how organisms respond to stress – an underlying cause of many diseases. The need to analyze over 100,000 RNAs led to the development of a new software tool that simplifies big data. The innovation has applications in studying disease biology and advancing new treatments.
“Biology, biomedical sciences, and pharmaceutical science is big data science these days,” Begley explains. “Taking billions of data points and being able to boil it down to a finite answer is really what the software does.”
SUNY TAF supported this project in multiple ways. The TAF team provided training and assistance in planning the project and the research team was connected to experienced people who helped them learn about commercialization. TAF funding is being used to pay for people to further develop the technology and to hire consultants for needed feedback.
“A big inspiration for me is bringing an idea from the lab to the marketplace,” said Begley. “Personalized medicine is already here for a number of cancer-based therapeutics. As we can handle more of the big data and understand what it means, this emerging approach to healthcare will get even better.”
About SUNY TAF
A significant obstacle to the commercial development of university technology is the lack of funding for promising discoveries after government-sponsored support ends and before a licensee or venture-capital support is secured. The SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (SUNY TAF) program was established in 2011 to help bridge that gap for SUNY researchers. SUNY TAF targets critical research and development milestones—such as feasibility studies, prototyping, and testing—which demonstrate that an idea or innovation has commercial potential. The goal is to increase the likelihood of potential investors and other partners to translate these early-stage technologies into products and services with transformational capabilities.
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