Funding Priority

Activate: Apply the Innovation Mindset and Skillset Across the Journey of an Idea

We support faculty, students and staff who want to put their ideas into practice and thrive in society and the modern innovation economy. Support focuses on three new opportunities: (1) Pathways to Impact Program, (2) Dreamers Who Do Program and (3) Carolina Innovation Passport.

Innovate Carolina

    Hunting down brain tumors

    First, Shawn Hingtgen, Ph.D., and his team figured out how to turn a person’s own skin cells into stem cells that hunt down and mop up the remnants of invasive brain tumors. The breakthrough promises a new and more effective treatment for glioblastoma, the most common form of primary brain cancer and also one of the deadliest.

    Now, Dr. Hingtgen, an assistant professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, has founded a start-up company called Falcon Therapeutics to ensure that this innovative and life-saving treatment reaches patients.

    With the standard treatment for glioblastoma, median survival is less than a year and a half, and the chance of surviving beyond two years is 30 percent. In mouse models, the cancer-hunting stem cells increased time of survival 160 percent to 220 percent, depending on the type of tumor.

    “We’ve gone almost 30 years without a significant improvement in care,” said Dr. Hingtgen, whose work was supported by the Eshelman Institute for Innovation. “Glioblastoma patients desperately need something better.”

    They may very well get it, thanks to him and his fellow Carolina innovators.

     

    Explore Stories

    Research

    A Convergent Code

    Faculty members are converging around the field of epigenetics to treat genetic diseases.

    Global Impact

    Trailblazers in Pandemic Preparedness

    New universal coronavirus vaccine could prevent future pandemics.

    Rahima Benhabbour holds up a medical device.
    Research

    Where 3D Printing Meets Women’s Health

    New medical devices benefit marginalized women around the globe.

    Patients walk into the University of Zambia School of Medicine Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia.
    Global Impact

    A new device for saving lives

    UNC-Chapel Hill and University of Zambia researchers are tackling global maternal and child health issues while providing quality services to women and children in Zambia.

    Windmills in India
    Global Impact

    Global Business Collaboration

    Students design investment strategies to address climate change in India

    Entrepreneurial faculty members
    Faculty Support

    Where Faculty Startups Start Out

    New space on campus will provide faculty with a collaborative place to grow their companies