The Southern California Biomedical Council (SCBC) will host its 36th SoCalBio Networking Forum at the Keck School of Medicine’s Edmondson Faculty Center on Feb. 19 between 5 and 9 p.m.
The forum will address “Biomimetics: Scientific Advances, Commercial Opportunities,” and will showcase the research being done by USC scientists working in the new Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems Center (BMES), which was created recently through a $17 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
The BMES is devoted to research into devices that can mimic and replace diseased systems in the human body.
It is led by Mark Humayun, professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School. Humayun will give a presentation on his work to develop a retinal implant, which has received wide attention for its potential to restore sight.
“The SCBC supported the USC grant proposal to the National Science Foundation to get funding for the Biomimetic Center,” said Ahmed Enany, SCBC president and CEO.
“Some of our member companies signed in as corporate partners. It is our hope that the Biomimetic Center becomes one of the focal points of entrepreneurial activities to help in beefing up the high-end component of the Greater Los Angeles life sciences industry,” he added.
The evening’s other BMES presenters will be Gerald Loeb, director of the Medical Device Development Facility at the Alfred Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering at USC, and John J. Granacki, director of the Advanced Systems Division of the Information Sciences Institute in the USC School of Engineering.
Loeb will discuss about work he is leading to refine a neuromuscular implant called the BION, which is currently in clinical trials to treat disorders ranging from stroke to arthritis. Granacki will discuss progress made toward the development of a cortical prosthesis, which would take over the functions of the brain’s neurons when they are lost to disease or injury.
Their presentations will be followed by a panel discussion on the commercial opportunities inherent in biomimetic research. The panel will feature industry executives and venture capitalists.
The SCBC has been involved in a number of projects with USC, including ongoing planning for a biomedical research park around the Health Sciences Campus. “The SCBC has a special relationship with USC, given the fact that our chairman, Alfred E. Mann, is one of the USC trustees,” Enany said.
Space at the forum is limited, so those interested in attending should register in advance. To do so, call (213) 236-4890 or go to www.socalbio.org and follow links to online registration. Further information is available at that number or by email, scbc@ socalbio.org.