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Researchers at Tuskegee University will very likely be among the 2018 Innovation Award winners at the BEYA STEM Conference HBCU event next February. Here’s why they are making waves.

Riptide Bioscience of Vallejo, Calif., awarded Tuskegee University $186,615 this week to support doctoral students in research on therapeutic compounds with the potential to improve treatments for patients suffering from pancreatic and other solid organ cancers.

The head of Riptide Bioscience is excited with research at Tuskegee University.

“Universities across the country are building research teams in immunooncology, but Tuskegee is second to none in this field, with a long history of research supported by highly competitive grants and industry affiliations,” said Charles Garvin, CEO of Riptide Bioscience.

“We hope that as this field further develops, Riptide can expand its support of the students and faculty involved in this research,” Garvin said.

The specific compounds being investigated are small synthetic proteins that mimic the activity of compounds that the human body naturally produces to lessen inflammation following a bacterial infection.

Dr. Ahmad Salam, who already has a medical degree, anticipates adding substantial biomedical research expertise to his practical experience as an urologist. Salam is working under the supervision of co-mentors Dr. Clayton Yates, lead researcher in the Tuskegee University Center for Biomedical Research/Center for Cancer Research, and Dr. Jesse Jaynes, who has joint appointments in the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

“For two years now the Center has had a very productive teaming agreement with Riptide Bioscience” Yates said. “I’m hopeful that through this and other affiliations with leaders in the biotechnology industry, Tuskegee will maintain its position of leadership in immune-system related strategies to combat cancer, which is one of the most promising areas in all of medicine right now.”

Jaynes developed small synthetic proteins that may have the potential to treat plant, animal and human diseases. “I am glad to see these engineered proteins being investigated right here at Tuskegee. We’re beginning to understand how the mechanisms that let the body fight off bacteria and viruses can be turned against cancer cells. The potential to improve the lives of cancer patients is tremendous,” Jaynes said.
Dr. Channa Prakash, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed this very generous gift from Riptide Bioscience. Dr. Prakash is speaking on behalf of the Integrative Biosciences Ph.D. Program’s Deans Council, which also includes Dr. Walter Hill, dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment, and Nutrition Sciences, and Dr. Ruby Perry, dean of the College of veterinary medicine.

“Tuskegee University appreciates the contribution from Riptide Bioscience as this will help us support our Ph.D. students in cancer research. This gift also signifies how such public-private partnerships help advance the mission of both institutions,” Prakash said.

“We are excited about this new collaboration between Riptide Bioscience and our university. Not only does it support one of the students in the IBS Ph.D. Program, it also signals a new research initiative which has the potential to significantly improve the health for people everywhere,” said Dr. Deloris Alexander, director of Tuskegee University IBS Ph.D. Program.



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