Tech Accelerator Partners
A partnership between Schiltz Food and Farms (Sisseton, S.D.), the UND Research Foundation, and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Avianax was established to develop antibodies and vaccines for viral, infectious diseases like West Nile and the Avian Flu. In addition, Schiltz Goose Farms North and Goose R&D have been formed to develop value-added agricultural products residing in Tolna, N.D.
The idea began when Schiltz lost 30 percent of its goose flock to disease. As the largest goose producer in North America, that loss of birds meant a significant loss of revenue. Avianax, working with UNDRF scientists and Dr. Bradley’s laboratory are using goose eggs and sera from Schiltz to produce and develop antibody therapeutics and vaccines to West Nile Virus and influenzas with the hope of solidifying viable products. Those vaccines or antibodies will become business products produced by Avianax or in partnership with a big pharmaceutical or bio- tech company.
NovaDigm is developing innovative vaccines to protect patients from fungal and bacterial infections, which can be life-threatening and drug resistant. Based in North Dakota with additional research activities at LA BioMed, NovaDigm has received funding from Domain Associates, a leading health care venture capital firm, and collaborates with multiple government agencies.
NovaDigm’s efforts are focused on development of our lead Candida- Staphylococcal vaccine, NDV-3, which is scheduled to begin Phase I clinical studies in 2010. The Company intends to bring this vaccine into clinical development and seek partners for manufacturing and commercialization. NovaDigm is assessing additional bacterial and fungal vaccine antigens to expand its product candidate pipeline.
Red River Valley Education Cooperative
The Red River Valley Education Cooperative (RRVEC) is a part of the eight-region state network comprising the North Dakota Regional Education Association (REA) formed June 2005 through a Joint Powers Agreement by the North Dakota State Legislature. REAs were formed to provide school districts with a framework to use a coordinated approach to more efficiently and effectively use existing resources to meet the needs of students, staff, and communities. 93% of all public school districts in the state are members of an REA. Each REA offers unique programs and services based on the needs of their member schools. Beginning 2011, all REAs began working toward offering high quality programs and services in the areas of professional development, technology support, data systems support, school improvement support and curriculum enrichment.
The RRVEC represents nearly 13,000 K-12 students and approximately 1300 teachers in 22 member school districts, each represented by their respective superintendents at Administrative Board meetings. The Governing Board is comprised of seven elected representatives, either a superintendent or a school board member, selected from each of the regions within the RRVEC. Membership is voluntary for area school districts. Cooperative Members include four area special education units, institutes of higher education, and Career and Technical Education Centers.
The Red River Valley Education Cooperative employs a Director for program and service collaboration as well as managing day-to-day operations, a Technology Coordinator, and a Succeed 2020 Grant/Project Manger.
Dr. Malak Kotb
Sore Throat or Severe Invasive Infections???: It's all in your genes!!!
While some individuals get away with a simple sore throat, mild fever or pharyngitis to streptococcal infections caused by Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacterium, S. pyogenes, others can develop severe invasive diseases, such as necrotizing fasciitis (NF) (“flesh eating disease”) and/or streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS). It’s the same bacteria that cause the infection, but what drives the stark outcomes is in your genes !!! Yes, host immunogenetics, specifically allelic variations in HLA-Class II (HLA-II) molecules determine the outcome of GAS. An individual’s genetic makeup either predisposes them to the devastating effects of invasive infections or protects them from severe consequences. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the differential susceptibility to streptococcal invasive infections is the focus of research in Kotb lab led by Dr Malak Kotb, an infectious disease and immunogenetics specialist and a trained immunologist and biochemist.
Data from genetic studies are analyzed using advanced bioinformatics and computational tools that will allow them to define the pathways and gene networks that shape these responses. Dr Kotb and her team are focused on developing effective ways to diagnose pre-disease susceptibility and develop therapeutics to NF and STSS.
What is unique about their research is that it is a perfect platform for a “bench to bedside” translational approach for personalized treatment and customized care. For example, it can be predicted if an individual who is infected is at high risk to NF or STSS based on the HLA-II haplotype, and can be treated much more aggressively. On the other hand, if the infected individual exhibits a HLA-II haplotype that is protective to NF or STSS, then treatment can be provided accordingly.