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Muscling in

Postdoctoral fellow Rafaela Andrade (PhD’15) is bridging the gap between science and society. With help from the Lab2Market and Ready2Launch programs, she’s getting closer to turning lab discoveries into tools that will benefit public health.

Innovation: Dr. Andrade, Department of Pharmacology, and co-founder Dylan Deska-Gauthier, Department of Medical Neuroscience, are getting ready to put their molecular detection test into the hands of the people who need it. Myomar Molecular aims to improve quality of life for the aging population with an accessible, non-invasive test that can objectively detect muscle atrophy.

Foundation: “We believe that through the understanding of basic science, we can provide ways to improve and innovate health care. The test identifies molecules that are related to muscle atrophy. It works both as a painkiller and as a vitamin. As a painkiller because it gives a tool to health-care providers to improve therapy and better understand the patient’s progress. And as a vitamin because it enables preventative measures that mitigate risk
of injury.”

“Through Lab2Market, we learned that physiotherapists were most in need of accessible, non-invasive technology to monitor muscle atrophy, so they became our beachhead market. Now, we’re working with a mentor in the Ready2Launch program to navigate the business challenges and soon we’ll be looking to expand the team.”

Inspiration: “My own life experiences made me curious about that plateau you reach when losing weight that could be because of muscle gain, or not. It made me more interested in muscle research and inspired me to translate my research in a way that would benefit the community. Muscle health can contribute so much to your life and well-being by preventing injuries, helping you to be an active contributor to society and living longer. When I realized there aren’t any tools to help us understand muscle development and health in a simple and objective way, the idea clicked into place.”

Why it Matters: “With our aging population, everyone knows a senior who suffered a fall or injury and then saw their life quality deteriorate. We believe that we can orchestrate a healthy living process with the tools we’re going to provide, so people at risk of a fall can better understand that risk and prevent it to ensure a longer, healthy life instead of spending a long time in bed or at the hospital recovering from a fall injury.”