Professor recognized for innovative research in treatments for retinal diseases

Professor recognized for innovative research in treatments for retinal diseases IMG 1509

An artist’s rendering of the capsule depicting the drug, bevacizumab, passing through the fibrous meshwork in the center of the tube into the eye. Credit: Courtesy of Katelyn Swindle-Reilly

Katelyn Swindle-Reilly’s journey to winning Innovator of the Year in her early career was anything but conventional. She said that she always wanted to help humanity, but she didn’t expect that opportunity to come from the academy.

Swindle-Reilly, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, was named Early Career Innovator of the Year, recognizing early-career Ohio State researchers advancing the commercialization of university intellectual property, at the Research Showcase and innovation on April 13. Swindle-Reilly said the award validated her efforts to put her research to practical use.

“It made me feel like the hard work paid off,” Swindle-Reilly said. “My ultimate goal is to help patients and bring things from my lab to the clinic.”

Before becoming a professor in 2013 and joining Ohio State in 2016, Swindle-Reilly said her ambitions were in the private sector, working at companies like biomedical technology company Rochal Industries. He said it was this experience that demonstrated the impact his research could have on people’s lives.

Samir Ghadiali, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, said Swindle-Reilly’s industry experience has been an asset to his research at Ohio State.

“She represents our discipline very, very well,” Ghadiali said. “She is translating her technologies into clinically viable and impactful products. Not just doing the engineering, but translating it into the clinic. That is our basic mission as biomedical engineers.”

See also  CAC showcases the work of college students from Cincinnati and Miami

Swindle-Reilly was honored for her work on treatments for conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and other retinal diseases, according to an engineering college. Press release.

Recently, Swindle-Reilly worked for develop a bilayer capsule that can be injected into the eye as a substitute for current treatment for macular degeneration. He said that this technology is the basis for Vitranu Inc. — a Columbus-based startup that aims to bring the capsule to market for clinical use and where Swindle-Reilly is the chief technology officer.

from the state of ohio REACH for Marketing program — aimed at mentoring women faculty in STEMM disciplines to amplify the impact of their research with commercialization and entrepreneurship — played a critical role in encouraging her to pursue research commercialization, Swindle-Reilly said. She said the guidance she received from her REACH mentors for her commercialization convinced her to license her research with Vitranu Inc.

“I wasn’t originally planning on doing any of this,” Swindle-Reilly said. “I had all these ideas, and REACH for commercialization basically taught me how to file invention disclosures, and it just took off from there.”

Caroline Crisafulli, director of entrepreneurship education at the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship and a Swindle-Reilly REACH mentor, said her role as a Swindle-Reilly mentor primarily involved building a support system.

“I think it’s particularly important for women to have someone to advocate for them,” Crisafulli said. “Having that sounding board and having someone who’s been through similar situations to be able to ask questions like, ‘What should I expect?’ ”

Crisafulli said that Swindle-Reilly’s industry experience has not only been an invaluable asset to his research, but also to his students. He said it’s powerful in helping students by exposing them to research opportunities, and Swindle-Reilly has done just that.

See also  Message from the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education

Crisafulli said the award could not have gone to a more deserving recipient.

“She is simply a phenomenal scientist who seeks to improve the quality of life for patients and improve the quality of education for her students,” Crisafulli said. “She is the complete package.”