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Breakthroughs

Research Roundup

DOE Grant Supports Fuel Cell Innovations

Researchers at Rensselaer have won a $1.6 million federal grant to develop new methods for manufacturing a key fuel cell component. The multi-year grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, aims to create new technology and processes for faster, more cost-effective manufacturing of fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs). According to Ray Puffer, program director for industrial automation at Rensselaer’s Center for Automation Technologies and Systems, “If successful, we anticipate this project will yield a major reduction in the time it takes to make MEAs, as well as improved uniformity, less defects, and lower manufacturing costs. The end result will be cheaper, more reliable fuel cells for everyone.”

Rensselaer Receives Funding for Stem Cell Research

Two groups of Rensselaer researchers each have received a $1.08 million grant from New York through the state’s stem cell research initiative. Both grants will fund research on the growth and development of stem cells and will provide some of the first insights available into the role specific genes and biological molecules play in stem cell function in the human body. The lead researchers for the grants are Robert Linhardt, the Ann and John H. Broadbent Jr. ’59 Senior Constellation Professor of Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering, and Russell Ferland, assistant professor of biology.

Novel Opioid Receptor Compound in Phase I Clinical Trials

Mark Wentland, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, led a Rensselaer team in the discovery of a family of novel opioid receptor compounds with the potential to treat nervous system disorders and addiction. The family of compounds was licensed to Alkermes Inc., and the company identified a lead product candidate from the library. Clinical trials with the candidate, known as ALKS 33, began in December 2008. ALKS 33 is now in Phase I clinical development. According to Alkermes, the library represents an opportunity for the company to develop numerous products as important therapeutics for the treatment of a broad range of diseases and medical conditions, including addiction, pain, and other nervous system disorders.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.