June 21, 2018
Dr. Russell Pesavento, a University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry MOST (Multidisciplinary Oral Science Training) postdoctoral fellow and a researcher in the Center for Biomolecular Sciences at the UIC College of Pharmacy, received the UIC Chancellor’s Translational Research Initiative (CTRI) award for 2018-2019.
The CTRI is offered to UIC faculty innovators by the UIC Office of Technology Management (OTM), in partnership with the UIC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and provides funding up to $25,000.
“I am working on a series of compounds that limit biofilm growth on surfaces—specifically, the plaque you clean from your teeth that facilitate decay,” Pesavento explained.
His research is directed toward developing chemical agents that adhere to the enamel surface and limit the degree to which bacteria can attach—the agents do not kill bacteria, but prevent growth on the surface. Overall, this method of prevention would result in less of an effect on “healthy” bacteria of the mouth, as opposed to using traditional topically applied bactericidal agents.
“To apply, the principal investigator [PI] has to have a patent application in place with OTM,” Pesavento explained. “I filed a patent application in March of 2018, so I was eligible.
“The award of $25,000 is meant to help develop early phase technology so it becomes more commercially relevant,” he continued. “The goal is to accelerate early phase research to the next stage of development, which is referred to as a proof of concept, or POC, study. At the POC stage, additional funds are available as the research more closely approaches commercialization.”
Pesavento noted that “the award is extremely useful as it helps move the research forward quickly, as well as answer questions that I have about how useful the compounds will be in a more advanced model.”
Pesavento thanked Dr. Michael Johnson, his research mentor in the UIC Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy; and from the College of Dentistry, Dr. Lyndon Cooper, associate dean for research and head of oral biology, and Dr. Ana Bedran-Russo, associate professor, restorative dentistry, and head of the MOST program, “for helpful discussions in guiding the research.”
Photo caption: Dr. Russell Pesavento (right) received the CTRI Award. Dean Clark Stanford is at left.