Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

May 25, 2022

Two UMass Chan teams receive $50K for bacteria, autism research

Photo | Grant Welker UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester

Two teams of researchers at the UMass Chan Medical School have received $25,000 apiece to help fund ongoing technology products and bring them closer to the market. 

The two research teams at the Worcester school are led by Jie Song at the Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation, and Joel Richter at the Department of Molecular Medicine, respectively. 

Song’s team is working on developing a product known as StaphShield, a metallic implant-coating capable of on-demand release of antibiotics. It can assist in the prevention of bone infection caused by S. aureus, a bacteria found on skin. 

"We are very excited for the OTCV award, which will allow us to develop a more user friendly formulation for our anti-infective coating technology," said Song in a statement to the WBJ. "We envision that such a dip coating may open door for its convenient application to implants at the point of care, with the drug load safely tailored to patient needs."

The lab led by Richter’s team is researching fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder considered the most common inherited source of intellectual impairment as well as the primary genetic cause of autism worldwide. The team’s technology has discovered altered RNA splicing in affected individuals, which could lead to potential therapeutic treatment. 

"This award is instrumental in funding us as we go forward, eventually for FDA-approval, which is what we are going for," said Richter in a telephone interview with the WBJ.

The funds come from the Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures, part of the UMass Office of the President in Boston.

A total of $250,000 was distributed along 10 different departments in the UMass school system, with each recipient receiving $25,000.

“As a public research university, UMass has a duty to drive innovation that strengthens the socio-economic fabric of our communities, nation, and world,” said UMass President Marty Meehan in a press release. “With these grants, we’re investing in world class faculty who are carrying out our mission through their cutting-edge discoveries, attracting the highest quality collaborators, and bringing the results of research to the marketplace.”

UMass has invested nearly $3 million in faculty research projects through the Technology Development Fund over the past 18 years. Projects are chosen for their commercial viability, in hopes development of the technology will lead to a startup company or licensing agreement. Funding for the annual awards comes from commercial licensing income on previous faculty discoveries.

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF