Last week was a busy week on Roanoke’s Innovation Corridor.  In case you missed something, here are a few of the top happenings taking place along the Corridor the week of  January 11, 2021 – January 17, 2021 (#roanokeinnovates):

Virginia Tech’s COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, located at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, has processed more than 70,000 samples to support health districts across Virginia and the university community since its launch in April.  With students returning to campus this week for the spring semester, the lab will begin processing samples from approximately 7,400 students who are anticipated to move into on-campus housing. These student tests will be processed over a nine-day period.  LEARN MORE.

The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) hub partnership between Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Carilion Clinic, and Inova Health System has awarded $200,000 in funding to five research projects through the Pilot Translational and Clinical Studies Program. Multi-institutional teams of scientists, physicians, and engineers will study Parkinson’s disease, celiac disease, pediatric heart transplant, pediatric telemedicine, and epilepsy.  A special congratulations to research recipients from the Roanoke Blacksburg Region.  Della Williams, a neurologist at Carilion Clinic and an assistant professor of internal medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and Sujith Vijayan, an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech College of Science’s School of Neuroscience, who are studying if patients with Parkinson’s disease can benefit from background noise during sleep.  Additionally, Elham Morshedzadeh, an assistant professor of industrial design in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies; Andre Muelenaer, a professor of practice in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, a professor of pediatrics for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and a pediatric pulmonologist at Carilion Clinic; and Melinda Schriver, Carilion’s director of digital health, who are designing a robust and affordable training program to help improve telemedicine encounters for infants and pre-school children.  And, Aashit Shah, Carilion’s chief of neurology and a professor of internal medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and Sujith Vijayan, an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech College of Science’s School of Neuroscience, will analyze intracranial electrical signals in epilepsy patients to help identify which brain regions are affected by certain neuroactive drugs.  LEARN MORE.

Children’s National Hospital and Virginia Tech have awarded two $50,000 one-year pilot grants to multi-institutional teams of scientists for pediatric brain cancer research.  This pilot research program represents a growing academic research partnership between Children’s National and Virginia Tech. Last year, the two institutions announced that Virginia Tech will establish a biomedical research facility on the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus. It will be the first research and innovation campus in the nation focused on pediatrics when it opens later this year, and will house newly recruited teams of pediatric brain cancer researchers.  LEARN MORE.

A team of Virginia Tech scientists led by Yuchin Albert Pan, an associate professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, have identified a new link between seizures and connexin 36 deficiency. The discovery, published Monday, Jan. 11 in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, found this interaction may make the brain more prone to having seizures.  Alyssa Brunal, a recent graduate of Virginia Tech’s translational biology, medicine, and health doctoral program, working with her mentor Pan, developed new models for studying the relationship between connexin 36 and seizures and confirmed the relationship.  LEARN MORE.

Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology announced a Request for Proposals for the newly formed Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF). The CCF aims to foster innovative and collaborative commercialization efforts in Virginia and is offering competitive matching grants up to $100,000 to support companies’ commercialization and market entry goals through product or service development, market research, intellectual property protection, marketing, pilots, and more. High-potential projects are sought in seven strategically important sectors: agricultural and environmental technologies, autonomous systems, clean energy, cybersecurity, data science and analytics, life and health sciences, and space and satellites.The RFP will remain open until noon on February 8, 2021, the deadline for submitting executive summaries. Between now and early February, the CCF team will host virtual briefings to introduce CCF, the RFP, and answer questions. To view the schedule and register for a session, visit Anyone interested in seeking funding for this round is encouraged to attend a briefing.  LEARN MORE.