New UA Researchers to Showcase Medical Innovations and Inventions, Oct. 16

Monday, October 8, 2018

Medical researchers from the University Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson will gather from 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16, for the 2018 Innovations and Inventions research fair.

The second annual event will spotlight up-and-coming basic scientists and clinicians and their research endeavors and success stories. It will take place at the Walkway of Wellness outside Drachman Hall, 1295 N. Martin Ave.

“We have a plethora of state-of-the-art research being performed in our college and this event serves as a way to showcase innovative research programs and inventions,” said Carol Gregorio, PhD, vice dean of innovation and development at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.

Alongside Anne Cress, PhD, deputy dean of research affairs, Dr. Gregorio founded Innovations and Inventions in 2017. The event was intended to spur multidisciplinary collaborations across the college and the wider UA campus.

“We wanted to start something in which we can maximize opportunities for researchers to hear about each other’s projects and then connect and exchange ideas, expertise and resources,” Dr. Gregorio explained. “We can develop higher-impact innovative research and inventions more quickly if we work together.”

Dr. Gregorio hopes that collaborative research groups that sprout from Innovations and Inventions are more competitive for external funding to support their research.

During Tuesday’s event, 10 to 12 presenters who are new UA faculty members (hired within the last year) will give brief, 2-minute snapshots of the research projects they lead at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. The event also will include a speaker who successfully has transitioned their research findings from “the bench to a startup company.” Presentations will be followed by a networking session for attendees to mix with fellow researchers and learn more about the projects.

This year’s Innovations and Inventions presenters include:

Khadijah Breathett, MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine
African Americans have the nation’s highest rates of heart failure. Dr. Breathett is a physician-scientist who works to reduce racial and gender disparities in advanced heart failure, both in terms of accessing clinical care and preventing heart disease.

Rajesh Khanna, PhD
Professor, Pharmacology and Anesthesiology
Dr. Khanna is the founder of the UA startup company, Regulonix, which focuses on creating non-opioid and non-addictive pain relievers.

Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD
Professor, Medicine
Chief, Gastroenterology
Gastric cancer is the world’s third-most-common type of cancer. Dr. Merchant is on the verge of creating a tool that can detect pre-cancerous lesions in the stomach before they become malignant. 

Justin Wilson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Immunobiology
Dr. Wilson will share how he is harnessing the immune system and the intestinal microbiome to combat colon cancer.

The 2018 Innovations and Inventions research fair is sponsored by a grant from the Arizona Biomedical Research Centre. The event is free and open to the public. Interested attendees are asked to please RSVP at

About the UA College of Medicine – Tucson
The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson is shaping the future of medicine through state-of-the-art medical education programs, groundbreaking research and advancements in patient care in Arizona and beyond. Founded in 1967, the college boasts more than 50 years of innovation, ranking among the top medical schools in the nation for research and primary care. Through the university’s partnership with Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country, the college is leading the way in academic medicine. For more information, please visit

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