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Virginia Bio partners with ODU’s Center for Bioelectrics

By Hannah Kearse

John Newby, chief executive officer from Virginia Bio, recently visited Old Dominion University's Frank Reidy Center for Bioelectrics. He spoke with faculty, staff and students about the Center's leadership in the field of bioelectrics and commitment to growing self-sustaining education, industry and government partnerships in Virginia.

Newby said Virginia Bio's new partnership with the Center for Bioelectrics will generate and bring great solutions to the Commonwealth to save lives, as well as spread the word about the innovative, life-changing research happening in Hampton Roads. Virginia Bio's mission is to generate growth in bioscience by providing sources of funding as well as excellent connections to academia and the industry.

The ODU Center for Bioelectrics, headed by Executive Director Gymama Slaughter, is committed to cultivating interdisciplinary collaboration in efforts to address some of the world's greatest environmental and health challenges such as cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, obesity, chronic wound healing and environmental decontamination.

Newby visited several research laboratories to discuss the broad impacts of the research conducted at the Center.

Stephen Beebe, one of the original cancer clinicians in the Center, and Siqi Guo, an associate research professor who focuses on immuno-oncology, offered their perspectives on the Center's cancer research portfolio, beyond the conversation's focus on cancer immunotherapy for breast and pancreatic cancer using nanosecond pulse electric fields (nsPEF). Andrei Pakhomov, leading principal investigator of the multi-university MURI project aimed at comprehensive understanding of nsPEF effects at the cellular and subcellular levels, and John Catravas, Sentara Endowed Chair of Bioelectrics and cardiopulmonary and vascular injury expert, discussed the health challenges associated with tumor cell removal, defibrillation, deep neural tissue stimulation, and the prevention and repair of endothelial cell barrier dysfunction associated with various diseases such as pulmonary edema and sepsis. Michael Kong, Batten Endowed Chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering and a leading cold plasma engineer, offered his perspective on the importance of healing chronic wounds and preventing bacterial film build up on wounds.

The ODU Center for Bioelectrics provides numerous opportunities and novel drug-free therapies to fight cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and cardiovascular disease. Novel diagnostics tools for early detection of cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders are being developed in the Center.

"The new partnership between Virginia Bio and the ODU Center for Bioelectrics will help create collaborations between multiple universities in the Commonwealth to unleash the potential of the research to tackle health and environmental challenges," Slaughter said. "This strategic partnership will help shed light on the innovative research conducted at the ODU Center for Bioelectrics and bring about awareness of the value of the impacts of bioelectrics research."

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