SUNY Downstate's Dr. Mahmood Hussain Receives $50,000 Grant from SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund

Aug 18, 2014

Brooklyn, NY – The State University of New York has announced that $250,000 has been awarded to five campus research projects through the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF), which accelerates the development and commercialization of innovations by SUNY faculty, students, and staff. Among the awardees is M. Mahmood Hussain, PhD, distinguished professor of cell biology and pediatrics at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, who will receive $50,000 in TAF funding to advance his research.

Technologies selected for TAF investment go through a rigorous evaluation process, with input from external experts in various fields of science, technology, and business development. Factors considered for the awards include the availability of intellectual property protection, marketability, commercial potential, feasibility, and breadth of impact.

“Technologies and treatments founded on SUNY campuses can be life-altering, and this important program allows us to speed the development and commercial success of our best ideas and innovations,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Projects supported by this most recent round of TAF funding could have an astounding impact on the health and well-being of New York’s citizens, industries, and communities."

Since 2011, the TAF program has invested more than $1.3 million in funding to support the advancement of SUNY innovations from the lab to the marketplace. External partners, including federal agencies, industry licensees and angel investors, have invested an additional $1.8 million in TAF-funded projects.

Dr. Hussain is developing a novel drug based on small endogenous RNAs to reduce hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis. It may represent a first-in-class inhibitor that lowers circulating lipids without the serious side effects of toxic buildup of fats in the liver.

"The investment from TAF will enable the research team to conduct a follow-on study to demonstrate the clinical potential to external partners being sought for commercial development," said David Schoenhaut, PhD, director of technology commercialization, who provided support in developing the TAF proposal. "We believe that Dr. Hussain's research provides a solid foundation for a drug development strategy to address unmet needs in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment."

In addition to Downstate, TAF awards were made to investigators at the University at Albany, Binghamton University, the University of Buffalo, and Stony Brook University.

About the State University of New York
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About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn is one of four academic health centers (AMCs) in The State University of New York (SUNY) 64-campus system and the only SUNY AMC in New York City dedicated to health education, research, and patient care for the borough’s 2.7 million residents. Its flagship hospital, University Hospital at Downstate (UHD), is a teaching hospital and benefits from the expertise of Downstate’s exceptional medical school and world-class academic center research facilities. With a staff of over 800 physicians representing 53 specialties and subspecialties, Downstate offers comprehensive healthcare services to the community.

UHD provides high-risk neonatal and infant services, pediatric nephrology, and dialysis for kidney diseases and is the only kidney transplantation program in Brooklyn. Beyond its clinical expertise, Downstate houses a range of esteemed educational institutions, including its College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, School of Graduate Studies, and School of Public Health. Downstate fosters innovation through its multifaceted biotechnology initiative, the Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT, which support early-stage and more mature biotech companies.