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New awards from Massachusetts Life Sciences Center support women’s health research

Two UMass Medical School radiology researchers awarded funding to advance breast cancer imaging

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

September 02, 2020
 
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The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has strategically deployed more than $700 million in Massachusetts, including numerous awards to UMass Medical School.

UMass Medical School researchers Gopal Vijayaraghavan, MD, MPH, and Mary Rusckowski, PhD, are among the investigators for 11 projects that have received a total of $8.3 million in capital funding awards from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MSLC). Dr. Vijayaraghavan and Dr. Rusckowski, associate professors of radiology, are collaborating with UMass Lowell and industry partners to advance breast cancer imaging technology with Women’s Health Capital Call grants.

The MLSC Women’s Health Capital Call funds projects that aim to improve the discovery, technical innovation and analysis of datasets to answer pressing life science questions that solely, disproportionately or differently affects women. Awards support data generation and equipment for not-for-profit Massachusetts institutions collaborating with at least one for-profit Massachusetts life science company to solve a pressing life science question.

Rusckowski will conduct the project “Improving Breast Cancer Diagnosis Using Artificial Intelligence in Mammography Screenings” along with industry partner DeepHealth, Inc.

Vijayaraghavan will investigate “Breast Cancer Detection Empowered by Contrast Agents, Spectral CT, and Machine Learning” with Manos Gkikas, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry at UMass Lowell, and industry partner Bowing Medical Technologies Co.

“Now more than ever, the Life Sciences Center must serve as a catalyst to capitalize and incentivize translational projects supporting solutions for challenges facing the life sciences sector and our broader health care system,” said interim MLSC President & CEO Damon Cox. “While these efforts will help ensure that Massachusetts remains at the cutting-edge of life sciences advances and capabilities, most importantly, they will aid in driving forward the potential of delivering higher outcomes and more accessible therapies to patients around the world.”

MLSC is an economic development and investment agency which supports innovation, research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities in the fields of biopharma, medical device, diagnostics and digital health. Their portfolio of programs has strategically deployed more than $700 million in Massachusetts, including numerous awards to UMass Medical School.

Related stories on UMassMed News:
Massachusetts Life Sciences Center capital funding to support three programs at Medical School
Gov. Baker signs Life Science Bond Bill, continuing state’s investment in biomedical research