Thermo Fisher Scientific and the UC San Diego Office of Research Affairs have established the Duane Roth Innovation Grant, which provides scientific investigators at UC San Diego with a $50,000 annual funding opportunity for sponsored research that supports proof-of-concept and technology-applications studies.
The grant honors the late Duane Roth, the dynamic and charismatic leader of San Diego’s life sciences business community, whose vision and drive as CEO of Connect helped spur innovation and build strong partnerships in the region’s biotech industry.
“We couldn’t think of a more appropriate namesake for this new research grant program,” said Alan Sachs, chief scientific officer for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Its purpose is to inspire San Diego-based scientists to innovate and collaborate on research projects that ultimately will drive science and technology forward to better understand human disease. These are foundational principles that Duane worked hard to promote in Southern California.”
“We are excited to honor the spirit of Duane Roth with this new innovation award,” said Sandra A. Brown, vice chancellor for research at UC San Diego. “This ongoing award will enable our scientists to work closely with Thermo Fisher Scientific to jointly advance and test groundbreaking technologies in healthcare.”
The annual grant is a collaborative program, in which the recipient investigator from UC San Diego will have the opportunity to work with a scientist from Thermo Fisher’s Life Sciences Solutions segment. Successful programs may be eligible for expanded funding from Thermo Fisher beyond the first year.
The 2014 research areas will focus on two areas: Peripheral cancer detection, including the capture, isolation and genetic analysis of cancer-associated mutations; and novel applications for the Ion Torrent sequencing system, including clinical workflow automation/simplification, signal enhancement, non-genomic applications and haplotyping.
Prior to his work with Connect, Roth founded Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp, where he served as CEO and Chairman of the Board, and later became a very active member of the biotech community. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, BIOCOM, the California Healthcare Institute, and SAIC-Frederick, Inc. He also served on several boards at UC San Diego, including the President’s Board on Science and Innovation, the UC San Diego Foundation Board of Directors, and the UC San Diego Heath Sciences Advisory Board.
Roth died on Aug. 3, 2013 after sustaining injuries from a bicycle accident while training for Pedal the Cause, an annual event that raises money for San Diego’s NCI-designated cancer research institutes – UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, The Salk Institute, and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.
Roth’s passion for biotech and contributing where he could to encourage its success in San Diego is what drove him during his tenure at Connect, says his brother, Ted Roth.
“Having led his own biotech company, he knew the importance for young companies to have access to the right scientists and sources of capital,” Roth says. “He saw his role at Connect as the key to make those critical introductions.
“This grant is certainly fitting to honor his legacy, particularly because it represents a combined effort between a major company and an academic institution to promote the advancement of innovation and science.”
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