TTP Welcomes Stefan Susta
June 8, 2020
Stefan Susta joined the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Technology Transfer Program (TTP), in June of 2020 to serve VA medical centers located in Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Ohio (except Cleveland).
Stefan has been involved in tech transfer for many years and has supported government tech transfer, led the tech transfer programs for the Wright Brothers Institute and the Edison Materials Technology Center, and participated in a variety of economic development efforts in Ohio.
Over the last 20+ years, Stefan has worked in various technology-based industries, successfully built start-up teams, led technology commercialization initiatives, managed and executed new product launches, and led business development efforts (private and government sector). Stefan also helped a small business, formed to commercialize an Air Force technology, to grow and list on Australian stock exchange. Just before joining the VA TTP, Stefan served as a technology transfer lead and small business liaison at the Air Force Research Laboratory. In this capacity, he supported the marketing and commercialization of the Aerospace Systems directorate’s patent portfolio, and technology transfer activities to support synergistic collaborations between the Air Force, academia, and industry.
Stefan earned undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and German from Virginia Tech, and an MBA from Wright State University. He enjoys tennis, sailing, skiing, home renovations, outdoor activities, and is an active member of the Oakwood Rotary Club.
TTP Welcomes Dr. Jenish Patel
June 3, 2020
Dr. Jenish Patel
Dr. Jenish Patel joined the Technology Transfer Program (TTP) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development in Washington DC, in May 2020, as a Technology Transfer Specialist.
Jenish received his Bachelors of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he also conducted undergraduate laboratory research in immunology. Then, Jenish was a post-baccalaureate research fellow for the Association of Public Health Laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for two years conducting laboratory research on pandemic influenza viruses. Jenish has a PhD from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York in Microbiology with a research focus on immunology and infectious diseases, where he also conducted his post-doctoral research in innate immunity to pathogens. Jenish has authored over 25 publications throughout his academic research career.
Prior to joining the VA, Jenish was a Senior Technology Transfer and Patent Specialist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), for more than five years. Jenish managed collaboration agreement, intellectual property and licensing portfolios of infectious diseases related research and development involving NIAID intramural researchers, NIAID extramural programs, US and international academic and biopharmaceutical company partners for the development of medical countermeasures against a number of different viral diseases impacting public health, including influenza, Zika, and COVID-19. Jenish has also demonstrated strong leadership skills by successfully leading NIAID and NIH level teams to support and improve technology transfer functions. Jenish was also selected to participate in the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative fellowship by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, further enhancing his technical expertise and leadership skills.
Jenish was born and brought up in India and moved to the United States during high school. He has interests in music and dancing and is a dance instructor for Indian classical dance.
Jenish looks forward to contributing to the great work that the VA does for the Veterans and the public and hopes that the diversity, expertise, knowledge and skills he brings will serve the mission of the TTP and VA well.
VA-invented exercise device to enter production
May 1, 2020
An upper-limb exercise device invented by VA researchers will soon become available to patients and health care systems. The Multi-Purpose Arm Cycle Ergometer for Rehabilitation (M-PACE) allows patients with conditions such as spinal cord injury to participate in a wider range of exercise and rehab activities. Action Manufacturing Inc. and VA have reached an exclusive patent license agreement on the device. The M-PACE was created by researchers at VA’s Minneapolis Adaptive Design and Engineering Program. Prolonged bed rest due to medical treatments or conditions can lead to muscle loss and other problems. With the M-PACE, patients can exercise while lying in bed. It can also be used from a wheelchair or while standing. The device features pedals that can be used with the arms, along with several other configurations. “The M-PACE’s ability to deploy over a bed is particularly important,” explained Dr. Gary Goldish, one of the inventors, to TechLink, “because prolonged bedrest without exercise can lead to rapid deconditioning and can negatively affect many systems of the human body, including the central nervous system, digestive system, and endocrine system.”
VA researchers develop new treatment for liver disease
March 31, 2020
A VA research team led by Dr. Gianfranco Alpinini of the Richard L. Roudebush Indianapolis VA Medical Center created a new treatment for liver disease. Using mouse studies, the researchers found a compound that improves liver damage linked to several forms of liver disease. The drug could be used as a treatment for liver diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis, biliary atresia, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is the most common type of liver disease in the Western world. VA has filed a patent for the treatment. Through Tech Transfer agreements, private businesses can now obtain rights to develop this research into life-saving medicines.
Drug shows promise in reducing deadly brain swelling after stroke
March 24, 2020
A new drug developed by VA and international partners could reduce deadly brain damage from stroke. The drug, ZT-1a, has proved effective at reducing brain swelling after stroke in animal models. It targets a pathway in the brain that controls how ions and water move in and out of brain cells. After stroke, malfunctioning proteins can allow too much water into the brain and cause dangerous swelling. ZT-1a stops these proteins from activating. Currently, invasive brain surgery is needed to alleviate this swelling. The drug was developed by an international consortium, including Dr. Dandan Sun of the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System. The consortium was made up of inventors from Xiamen University in China, Exeter University in the United Kingdom, and the VA and University of Pittsburgh. VA has filed a patent for the drug’s use as a stroke treatment.
Chip-based test for bleeding or clotting risk earns FDA ‘Breakthrough Device’ status
March 12, 2020
An experimental portable blood-clotting sensor called ClotChip, co-owned by VA and Case Western Reserve University and licensed to the private company XaTek, now has FDA “Breakthrough Device” status. The designation speeds the development of technologies that outperform current products in treating or diagnosing serious conditions. Investigators with VA’s Advanced Platform Technology Center and CWRU developed and tested the technology. It can assess a patient’s clotting ability—based on a single drop of blood—in about 15 minutes, compared with a day or longer for existing methods. “ClotChip is designed to minimize the time and effort for blood-sample preparation. [It can] be used at the doctor’s office or other points of care for patients on anticoagulation therapy [or] antiplatelet therapy, or who have suffered a traumatic injury causing bleeding,” said Dr. Pedram Mohseni in a 2016 CWRU article.
Patent for new way to treat dangerous hospital infection
February 25, 2020
(Photo courtesy of CDC)
VA and the University of Maryland are joint owners of a newly issued patent (US 10,537,609 B2) for a peptide-based treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. P. aeruginosa can cause infections in the blood, lungs, or other parts of the body after surgery. At highest risk are hospital patients on breathing machines, those with catheters, and those with wounds from surgery or burns. The new potential treatment has been tested successfully in mice and is pending further study. The approach is promising because it uses a specific peptide, or a piece of a protein, to defeat the bacteria and does not rely on antibiotics. P. aeruginosa is increasingly resistant to antibiotics. In 2017, multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa caused an estimated 32,6000 infections and 2,700 deaths in the U.S. Visit VA’s partner TechLink to read more about this and other available technologies based on VA inventions and discoveries.