Diabetes Translational Accelerator

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The Diabetes Translational Accelerator (DTA) aims to catalyze the advancement of research and technologies to tackle the toughest problems in diabetes and associated complications through start-ups and commercialization.

Through the Lakshmi and Subramonian Shankar Fellowship, the DTA provides stipend and insurance coverage for Emory PhD students with the goal of launching their dissertation as a startup. The Shankar Fellows are also eligible for assistance from the Shankar Innovation Fund to translate their research for the market.

What are we looking for?

  • High impact, affordable solutions that address diabetes and diabetes-related complications: Diabetes affects 1 in 10 adults worldwide, with 3 in 4 of those adults living in low- and middle-income countries. Students should develop new or modify existing products/technologies to solve diabetes-related challenges (prevention, diagnostics, treatment, diabetes complications). If you are new to diabetes and cardiometabolic disease, the DTA is here to help.
  • Cultivation of strong entrepreneur teams: Teams comprising a doctoral student and their mentor will engage with Emory’s entrepreneurial (Biolocity, The Hatchery, Office of Technology Transfer, Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation) and innovation (Laney Graduate School, Center for the Advancement of Diagnostics for a Just Society, Empathetic AI for Health Institute) ecosystem through seminars, workshops and networking events.
  • Product commercialization: The goal of the program is for the doctoral student-faculty team to develop intellectual property, form a startup company to further translate the intellectual property, and then bring it to market. Emory will facilitate licensing the technology.

Proposals are now being accepted for the initial cohort of Shankar Fellows, beginning in September 2024. The fellowship is designed for students currently in the first or second year of their PhD program at Emory University, but exceptions will be considered if the student is in their 3rd year or above and their dissertation is a good fit for the program.

Applications require that the faculty mentor answer the Heilmeier questions used by ARPA-H. The review process will protect intellectual property with the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements for all reviewers and program staff.

The Shankar Fellows and their faculty advisors will have the opportunity to participate in learning and in-country experiences with EGDRC partners and faculty from India’s premier engineering institution, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras). IIT Madras alumni are global leaders in science and technology who play leading roles in fostering trade and cooperation between India and the United States.

The Shankar Fellows and their faculty advisors will sign a memorandum of understanding with the DTA to ensure:

  • Mutual commitment to limit student to startup related projects.
  • Mutual commitment to allow student to be engaged in entrepreneurship-related activities, including but not limited to attending workshops/seminars/courses and preparing startup-related material (pitch decks/videos).

EGDRC DTA Leadership: Dr. Francisco Pasquel (School of Medicine) and Dr. Jithin Varghese (Rollins School of Public Health). Please feel free to email us to learn more about the program or schedule a time to chat about whether your research is a good fit for this mechanism: egdrc.dta@emory.edu

The Emory Global Diabetes Research Center (EGDRC) of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center is an inter-disciplinary center comprising faculty from across Emory schools and centers, including Biomedical Engineering, Rollins School of Public Health, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and College of Arts & Sciences.

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