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MIT Lab at URI

The MindImmune Therapeutics Lab at URI

  • MindImmune Visits R.I. State House January 12, 2017

    Founders of MindImmune Therapeutics, Inc. meet with Governor Raimondo at the Statehouse on Thursday, January 12, 2017

    From left to right: Brian Campbell, VP Pharmacology, Stevin Zorn, President and CEO, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Frank Menniti, Chief Science Officer, and Robert Nelson, VP Exploratory Biology


  • https://ryaninstitute.uri.edu/a-molecular-switch-for-nmda-receptor-modulation/

    A molecular switch for NMDA receptor modulation

    menniti-Neuron-100x100new article in Neuron uses crystallography to elucidate how some negative allosteric modulators of the NMDA receptor exert their influence. NMDA receptors are an important class of excitatory neurotransmitter receptors whose dysfunction is linked to numerous disorders. Ryan Research Professor of Neuroscience Frank Menniti is a co-author of the report.

  • From the Executive Director: On the Fast Track

    Paula Grammas, Ph.D., Executive Director

    Just about a year ago, I joined URI as the inaugural Executive Director of the George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience. Our first year has been busy and productive, and the Ryan Institute has, in some ways, taken on the feel of an entrepreneurial startup, with efforts on several fronts:

    Research: Five papers in the past year have appeared with Ryan Institute affiliations, on topics from neurotransmitter receptor function to assays for medicinal plant extracts. To expand and deepen our research program, we are in the thick of a search to fill three new faculty positions. Our bar is high: we want to bring top scientists to the institute who can help build a strong foundation of research, translational medicine, and clinical utility for the Institute.

    Innovation: Our partnership with MindImmune has been more than we imagined. The four scientists who founded this pharmaceutical startup have substantial experience as well as a spirit and energy that helps to fuel the Institute’s momentum. A donation from the company has created the MindImmune Postdoctoral Fellowship to fund a position within the Institute. The team is also teaching and mentoring URI students, an invaluable contribution. Stevin Zorn, MindImmune’s CEO, also spoke at the event launching the successful “Yes on 4” bond referendum, which includes $20 million to fund one or more URI-affiliated innovation centers.

    Outreach: We are actively participating in and supporting events and projects designed to help educate the public on neurodegenerative diseases. I’ve been delighted to give talks at Rhode Island Hospital, Rhode Island College, and for the Alzheimer’s Association. Other Ryan Institute staff have made presentations in the community and represented us at conferences. We’re helping to plan both the Rhode Island Alzheimer’s Research Conference and Brain Week Rhode Island.

    These three areas are the heart of the work we do at the Ryan Institute, and moving all of them forward will continue to be our mission. We appreciate your interest in and support for the Ryan Institute.

  • MindImmune Nets Innovation Voucher


    mindimmune-logo-100x100pxMindImmune Therapeutics, Inc., a biotech startup based at URI in partnership with the Ryan Institute, was one of six companies to receive innovation vouchers from the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. The vouchers are intended to spur research and development partnerships; MindImmune’s $50,000 voucher will fund collaboration with the URI Comparative Biology Resources Center. MindImmune is exploring neuroimmunology-based drug therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

    Read more at the Providence Business Journal (subscription required) and GoLocalProv.


  • Innovation Vouchers awarded to six companies by Commerce RI


    Innovation Vouchers awarded to six companies by Commerce RI



    Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 10:48 am

    PROVIDENCE – Six companies will share more than $275,000 through the next round of Innovation Voucher awards to leverage research and development partnerships with local universities or institutions: Aquanis LLC, MindImmune Therapeutics Inc., NanoSoft LLC, ProThera Biologics Inc., PowerDocks LLC and Videology Imaging Solutions Inc.

    The awards, which represent part of $1.5 million allocated for the grant program, were approved by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo and the board of the R.I. Commerce Corp. at its meeting Monday night.

    “When local companies are better able to partner with our universities, they can produce discoveries and advancements in science, technology, medicine and countless other fields that have the potential to grow jobs, strengthen our state, and build an innovation economy we can all be proud of,” Raimondo said in a statement.

    Here are details about the latest award recipients and their projects:

    • Aquanis of North Kingstown is partnering with the Brown University Center for Computing and Visualization to develop an active flow control system that will improve the efficiency and extend the service life of wind turbines, leading to a reduction in the cost of wind energy. In the proposed project, the customized simulation software developed by Brown University researchers will provide information in the development, field trials and commercial deployment of Aquanis systems in the wind energy market.
    • MindImmune Therapeutics in South Kingstown will work with the Comparative Biology Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island on new therapies for treating Alzheimer’s disease. The goal is to conduct testing of therapeutics to identify candidate drugs that can move into a clinical trial.
    • Narragansett’s NanoSoft and URI’s Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering will partner to develop a prototype of their nanomaterial imaging technology with an improved control system and mechanical design that can be used in a lab setting to create enhanced fluid-based nanomaterial samples, providing insight for integration into products such as pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and chemicals.
    • ProThera Biologics of Providence will work with intensive care unit patients at Rhode Island Hospital diagnosed with severe pneumonia to study the blood levels of inter-alpha inhibitor proteins. This project will support the planned clinical trials of inter-alpha inhibitor proteins replacement therapy to treat patients with life-threatening diseases.
    • PowerDocks in Newport is working with Roger Williams University to integrate customized wireless charging functionality into micro-grid platforms. This will expand this product’s application to charging Unmanned Air Vehicles and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles for multiple industry markets.
    • Videology Imaging Solutions of the Greenville section of Smithfield and Brown University will partner to explore biometrics imaging of the human iris with the ultimate goal of implementing iris feature extraction algorithms into its newest cameras. This will produce standard compliant images for biometric/iris analysis for cameras for government, defense, banking and medical applications.



    By Kate Bramson

    Journal Staff Writer

    Posted Nov 22, 2016 at 7:38 PM

    R.I. Commerce Corporation funds programs

    The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation on Monday approved several initiatives regarding education, tourism and research.

    —The board approved $279,368 in Innovation Voucher grants to help small companies buy research and development help from a university, research center or medical center. Companies are eligible for grants of up to $50,000.

    The six winners are:

    Aquanis, LLC, of North Kingstown: $50,000. With the Brown University Center for Computing and Visualization, the clean technology/wind energy company is seeking ways to improve the efficiency and extend the life of wind turbines.

    MindImmune Therapeutics Inc., of South Kingstown: $50,000. With the University of Rhode Island’s Comparative Biology Resources Center, the biomedical/pharmaceuticals company is seeking ways to advance its discovery of new treatment therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.

    NanoSoft, LLC, of Narragansett: $49,814. With URI’s department of mechanical, industrial and systems engineering, the nanotechnology/advanced manufacturing firm seeks to develop a prototype of its technology to improve imaging analysis of nanomaterials.

    PowerDocks, LLC, of Newport: $29,554. With Roger Williams University’s School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management, the clean technology/renewable energy solar firm is working to integrate customized wireless charging functionality to charge unmanned air vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles.

    ProThera Biologics Inc., of Providence: $50,000. With Rhode Island Hospital’s Division of Critical Care, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, the biomedical/pharmaceuticals company will use patients with severe pneumonia to study protein levels and help the firm’s planned clinical trials.

    Videology Imaging Solutions Inc., of Smithfield: $50,000. With Brown’s Computer Engineering and Scalable Computing Systems Lab, the firm will expand its current line of cameras for government, defense, banking and medical applications by incorporating biometrics imaging of the human iris.



  • Vote YES on Question 4

    The Providence Journal; Date: Oct 24, 2016; Editorial

    Two years ago, Rhode Island voters approved a $125 million bond that is helping the University of Rhode Island to overhaul its College of Engineering dramatically.

    This year, voters will be asked to approve another $45.5 million — $25.5 million to complete the engineering project with the renovation of a building in the heart of the university’s Kingston campus, and $20 million to create an “innovation campus” that would be affiliated with the university.

    These projects will be on the Nov. 8 ballot as Question 4, and we urge Rhode Islanders to vote yes. There is no escaping that employers in the United States, and in Rhode Island, are in great need of engineers. Regardless of the field — defense, construction, computers, biomedical, road and bridge building, automobiles, communications technology — engineers are needed to develop new products and make them a reality.

    Given the demand for their services, engineers make a good living. More than 96 percent of URI’s engineering students, for example, gain employment after graduation with an average salary of $63,000, according to President David Dooley. With more engineers available, many Rhode Island businesses would be able to hire the people they need to operate full-throttle. And other businesses would be drawn to the state to benefit from this talent.

    In urging a yes vote on Question 4, Stevin Zorn, president and CEO of Mindimmune Therapeutics Inc., explained the connection between URI and a stronger business climate for the state. “Mindimmune has experienced firsthand the University of Rhode Island’s ability to innovate in business as well as in pharmaceutical research,” Mr. Zorn said.

    “When we were determining where to locate our business, we looked in Cambridge and at other areas across the nation, but determined that Rhode Island was making the right investments in our field to produce the research and high-skilled employees we needed.”

    In order to train the next generation of engineers and compete with such top-notch engineering schools as Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Connecticut, URI needs modern facilities and adequate space. The bond approved two years ago is helping to provide that, in the form of a new engineering building that is scheduled to open in 2019. The $25.5 million sought this year would allow the school to renovate an antiquated engineering building, Bliss Hall, which dates to 1928.

    The “innovation campus,” an idea pushed by Gov. Gina Raimondo, would involve a competition, one in which the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation awards $20 million to a winning group of businesses, researchers or medical providers that comes up with the best ideas for transforming research into commercial products. The winning group, which would have to match the state dollars, would be chosen by a selection committee of Commerce Corporation board members and external stakeholders.

    While these measures involve spending, they should be viewed as sound investments in Rhode Island’s economy. We have long argued that the state has done taxpayers no favors by scrimping on spending on public higher education. If Boston, the Silicon Valley and numerous other locations have demonstrated anything, it is that excellent institutions of higher education play an enormous role in generating economic activity (including high-paying jobs and tax revenues to relieve the burden on all of us) in a modern information economy.

    The bond issue through Question 4 is no mere case of frittering money away on new buildings. Engineering and innovation go hand in hand, and Rhode Island is not alone among states seeking to invest in these areas. Indeed, Rhode Island would be hard-pressed to find an area more worthy of investment.


  • October 5, 2016 – The Quad at URI

    Quad at URI

    from left to right: Dr. Paula Grammas, Director of the George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, University of Rhode Island, Stevin Zorn, PhD., President and CEO of MindImmune Therapeutics, Inc., and the Honorable Gina Raimondo, Governor, State of Rhode Island.

  • Appointments as Ryan Research Professors of Neuroscience at URI

    As of August, 2016, each of the principals at MindImmune Therapeutics, Inc. has been appointed to faculty positions as Ryan Research Professors of Neuroscience at the University of Rhode Island.