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Multi-disciplinary Scientists Collaborate on Cutting-edge Innovations


August 1, 2016

Dr. Derek Cissell discusses veterinary-related innovations at this year's BMEA conference.

Dr. Derek Cissell discusses veterinary-related innovations at this year's BMEA conference.

As part of its strategic effort to build strong collaborations with academic and business partners, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) co-sponsors the Biomedical and Engineering Entrepreneurship Academy (BMEA) along with the university’s Biomedical Engineering Department, School of Medicine, Office of Research and the Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Since its inception in 2012, the BMEA has grown into a premier academic program for commercializing science and engineering innovations.

Seen as a springboard for moving research out of the lab and into the world, this academy has opened many doors for veterinary scientists looking to transform their research into real life applications.

Gathering with other campus scientists for the annual three-day academy in July, UC Davis veterinarians and researchers learned the building blocks of entrepreneurship by utilizing networking opportunities, seminars and interactive workshops, and mentoring sessions with industry executives and investors. Topics at the BMEA included technology commercialization, intellectual property, new business development and building a network to move ideas forward.

“The BMEA conference provided those of us in academic research the unique opportunity to interact with entrepreneurs across various disciplines,” said Assistant Professor Carrie Finno. “The enthusiasm that we received for our preliminary proposals was outstanding, and I have developed additional contacts as a result of this conference.”

SVM Dean Michael Lairmore welcomed participants to the academy and encouraged an environment of collaboration to bring forth new developments in veterinary medicine, like the school’s Veterinary Institute for Regenerative Cures, and partnerships with Biomedical Engineering that are revolutionizing medical treatments.

One such innovation to be born from the BMEA is Expanesthetics, a start-up established by UC Davis veterinarian Dr. Robert Brosnan and UC Davis alumnus Mark Holman, a veteran entrepreneur and business owner in Davis, who was serving as a BMEA mentor when they met. Dr. Brosnan, an expert in veterinary anesthesia in the SVM’s Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, brought groundbreaking technology to the academy in hopes of finding a way to mainstream the product since its potential could benefit hundreds of millions of human and animal patients.

Holman was so impressed with Dr. Brosnan’s research, he licensed the intellectual property from the university, recruited clinical and scientific advisory boards, elected a board of directors and has brought investors aboard to move the innovation forward. Dr. Brosnan says he probably wouldn’t have been able to pursue a business around his research without Holman.

Throughout the years, the BMEA has been able to connect many other research scientists with business leaders to help new discoveries see the light of day.

SVM participants in the 2016 BMEA included faculty members Drs. Derek Cissell, Carrie Finno, Kevin Keel, Pam Lein, Beatriz Martinez-Lopez, Esteban Soto Martinez, Ben Moeller, Pramod Pandey, Patty Pesavento, Chris Sproul, and Scott Stanley.