From Bench to Bedside: Understanding Translational Research

This blog written by: Dr. Anantha Shekhar, Director of the Indiana CTSI.

The term “bench to bedside” has received considerable attention in the biomedical community over the last few years. When researchers mention the phrase, “bench to bedside” they are referencing the concept of ‘translational medical research’. Many in the biomedical community see translational research as a new way of thinking about and conducting life sciences research to accelerate healthcare outcomes. Scientists are mindful that the bench-to-bedside approach to translational research is a two-way street. Basic scientists provide clinicians with new tools for use in patients and for assessment of their impact, and clinical researchers make novel observations about the nature and progression of disease that often stimulate basic investigations. Defined, translational research is “the process by which basic scientific discoveries are transformed through clinical application into new medical treatments and products to enhance the diagnosis, treatments, and prevention of diseases”.  Translational research is also concerned with how the process can be more efficient and accelerate the research process so discoveries can make more of an impact in the lives of patients. To further this cause the NIH has set up the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) program. The CTSA program creates Translational Science institutes in universities and schools of medicine across the country.  CTSA institutions work to transform the local, regional, and national environment to increase the efficiency and speed of clinical and translational research across the country. Indiana is fortunate to have received one of these awards, used to establish the Indiana Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (ICTSI). In the next post in this series, we will discover exactly what Indiana is doing in the area of translational medical research.

 Find out more about CTSI at

Contact Dr. Shekhar at

The Enactment of Bayh-Dole, An Inside Perspective

By Tony Armstrong

I came across this interesting article on how the Bayh-Dole Act came about and thought I would share it. You can read the full article on the link below.

The Enactment of Bayh-Dole, An Inside Perspective | | Patents & Patent Law.


Basics of Patent Protection 2

By Tony Armstrong

The other day I posted information on patents and trademarks. Following up, here are 2 more ways (and their legal definitions)  to protect intellectual property;


Copyrights Copyright laws protect written or artistic expressions fixed in a tangible medium – novels, poems, songs or movies. A copyright protects the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself. The owner of a copyrighted work has the right to reproduce it, to make derivative works from it (such as a movie based on a book), or to sell, perform or display the work to the public. You don’t need to register your material to hold a copyright, but registration is a prerequisite if you decide to sue for copyright infringement. A copyright lasts for the life of the author plus another 50 years.

Trade secrets A formula, pattern, device or compilation of data that grants the user an advantage over competitors is a trade secret. It is covered by state, rather than federal, law. To protect the secret, a business must prove that it adds value to the company – that it is, in fact, a secret – and that appropriate measures have been taken within the company to safeguard the secret, such as restricting knowledge to a select handful of executives


IU Scientist Featured in 2010 AUTM Better World Report

By Bill Brizzard, Director of Technology Transfer, IURTC Bloomington Campus

A new technology invented by Dr. Ann Elsner and her coworkers in the IU School of Optometry is featured in the 2010 edition of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Better World Report. The new technology is a digital camera for imaging the human eye. Unlike the currently available devices, the new camera will be a low cost device that will be affordable   in underserved regions of the world. A primary application of the new camera will be the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy, a condition affecting diabetics that is the leading cause of blindness in adults.

 The camera is the subject of two issued US patents and foreign patent applications owned by Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation (IURTC). IURTC is a nonprofit corporation that manages and commercializes intellectual property for Indiana University. IURTC has granted an exclusive license under the patent rights to Aeon Imaging, LLC , a start-up company founded by Dr. Elsner that is working to commercialize the device. Aeon has successfully attracted federal grant funding including phase I SBIR funding that was matched by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and a phase II SBIR award in August of 2010.

AUTM is a nonprofit professional organization of technology managers from both the academic and commercial sectors. The Better World Report is produced by the AUTM Better World Project to enhance public understanding of the positive benefits  of academic research and technology transfer for quality of life worldwide. The Better World Report has been produced since 2005 and new technologies are solicited for possible inclusion in the report on an annual basis. The inclusion of Dr. Elsner’s technology in the 2010 edition of the report speaks to its significant potential for improving human health.

Bill Brizzard can be reached at:

Phone: (812) 855-3597


Basics of Patent Protection 1

By Tony Armstrong

People often ask me “how do I protect my idea?” There are many ways to do so – the important thing is to do it. Probably best to consult your attorney but here are two of the more ‘popular’ categories of intellectual property:

  1. Patents When you register your invention with the government—a process that can take more than a year—you gain the legal right to exclude anyone else from manufacturing or marketing it. Patents cover tangible things. They can also be registered in foreign countries, to help keep international competitors from finding out what your company is doing. Once you hold a patent, others can apply to license your product. Patents can last for 20 years.
  2. Trademarks A trademark is a name, phrase, sound or symbol used in association with services or products. It often connects a brand with a level of quality on which companies build a reputation. Trademark protection lasts for 10 years after registration and can be renewed “in perpetuity”. But trademarks don’t have to be registered. If a company creates a symbol or name it wishes to use exclusively, it can simply attach the TM symbol. This effectively marks the territory and gives the company room to prosecute if other companies attempt to use the same symbol for their own purposes.

Case Studies in Cooperation

By Bill Stephan

Read this great article in Site Selection Magazine.

University, business, and economic-development teams have a long history of collaboration that ranges from soft investment, such as co-development of curriculum, to hard investment, including construction of commercial research parks. Often these initiatives target start-up companies (spun from technologies developed on campus) and are consequently of great interest on campus but of only marginal interest to established companies in the region.

However, in today’s tough economic climate an emerging synergy is developing between companies desperate to explore new channels to profitability and universities seeking to replace lost state aid and reduced public research dollars.

Read the entire case study from Site Selection Magazine


Assessing the University’s Role in Economic Development

By David Gard

Over the past year, the IU Office of Engagement has become increasingly involved in economic development-focused initiatives of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).  I am fortunate to have been appointed to serve on APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP).  CICEP is focused on: 1) understanding and defining the expanding university role in local and regional innovation; 2) expanding the tools and metrics for universities to measure and explain their role to a wide range of audiences; and 3) gaining a better understanding of the innovation ecologies in which public institutions operate.

This group has developed an internal self-assessment tool that institutions can use to evaluate their particular engagement attributes and activities in regional economic development.  These include traits relating to cultural aspects of public universities and those focused on structural elements, the existence of specific positions, programs or offices to facilitate increased partnerships with the external community.

The Office of Engagement implemented use of the tool to augment our strategic planning activities, assessing our role in facilitating regional economic development and engagement at IU and across the state of Indiana.  We developed a unique reporting format to summarize the results of the internal assessment and provided this along with feedback to APLU, enabling IU to become one of the first members to implement the tool in this detailed manner.  As a result, I recently had the opportunity to present how IU applied the tool in this manner at APLU’s annual meeting in Dallas.

We recognize the value of this assessment process and are in the process of extending use of the tool across IU’s regional campuses through the IU Council on Regional Engagement and Economic Development (CREED).


The Diverse Roles of University Research

By Bill Stephan

University research has formed the foundation of many of the most significant U.S. technological advancements; entire industries such as biotechnology and the Internet can be traced back to fundamental discoveries at universities.  By playing an increasingly vital role in the nation’s innovation pipeline, university research and technology commercialization will continue to shape the world of tomorrow.  As a research institution of the highest order, Indiana University and its faculty are addressing some of the most complex problems facing the health care industry by (1) conducting leading edge research across the life sciences and health information spheres and (2) accelerating the commercialization of research with market potential.


RealClearPolitics – Learning From Japan’s Mistakes

By Bill Stephan                                                                                               

 Interesting piece by Robert Samuelson that underscores the importance of establishing polices that support entrepreneurs and new business start-up activities.                                 

RealClearPolitics – Learning From Japan’s Mistakes.

Indiana universities nearly double research spending in last 10 year – Indiana Economic Digest – Indiana

By Bill Stephan

According to the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ), it became clear to state leaders about 10 years ago—when Indiana was hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs—that universities, not factories, would have to be the engines of the state’s economy going forward. Since then, Indiana’s major research universities—Indiana and Purdue—have nearly doubled their science-based research budgets, to a total of $895 million. This “research enterprise” likely employs more than 5,000 workers, according to an IBJ estimate based on data from IU and Purdue. And it has helped fill research parks and incubation centers with fledgling companies, such as Endocyte, Therametric Technologies and Marcadia Biotech.

Indiana universities nearly double research spending in last 10 year – Indiana Economic Digest – Indiana.