Barth Appointed to Dartmouth SYNERGY Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship

Dartmouth SYNERGY Clinical and Translational Science Institute has appointed Richard J. Barth, Jr., MD, as the first recipient of its SYNERGY Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship (S-CEF). The S-CEF will provide Dr. Barth with resources and dedicated time to develop and study the commercial potential of a new system to improve certain types of breast cancer surgery.

Dr. Barth, a Professor of Surgery at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and Chief of the Section of General Surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), is collaborating with colleagues from the departments of Radiology and Pathology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) and Geisel, as well as Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering to develop a system that uses MRI guidance, optical scanning and 3-D printing to improve the accuracy of surgery for non-palpable breast cancers. Their goal is to markedly reduce the chance that cancer cells are present at the edge of the lumpectomy specimen, thereby avoiding the expense and discomfort of repeat surgery to ensure that the tumor has been completely removed.

The one-year fellowship program is central to efforts at Dartmouth to create an environment which nurtures and facilitates translating innovative ideas into routine clinical practice.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity to plan how to bring our conceptual ideas into widespread clinical use,” stated Dr. Barth.

The S-CEF was developed by Aaron V. Kaplan, MD, a professor of medicine at Geisel, who leads the Academic-Industry Core for Dartmouth SYNERGY. The goals of this unique and innovative fellowship program are three-fold: 1) to cultivate entrepreneurial skills among Dartmouth clinical faculty; 2) to develop and evaluate ideas and inventions designed to address specific patient care needs; and 3) to facilitate institutional processes that foster commercialization of faculty ideas.

“We are pleased to offer this Fellowship to Dr. Barth to allow him to further develop this important project and to further establish Dartmouth as an institution with a culture which facilitates the translation of ideas into clinically impactful procedures and products” added Dr. Kaplan.

The S-CEF provides the Fellow with one day per week of protected time to develop entrepreneurial skills. At the end of this fellowship, it is expected that the Fellow will have developed an in-depth business plan and have a deep understanding of the challenges involved in becoming a clinician-entrepreneur.

The S-CEF opportunity is offered to clinical faculty at Geisel and D-H. Candidates were invited to give presentations to a review panel consisting of successful entrepreneurs. Review criteria included level of innovation, approach, significance/patient care impact, translational character and investigator qualifications.

The success of the S-CEF program will be measured not by funding success or out-licensing of a technology, but rather by the development of the Fellow’s entrepreneurial skills and his dissemination of lessons learned to the broader community through presentations and institutional resource development.

Through the Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship, SYNERGY promotes direct benefit to society from Dartmouth discoveries while also bringing benefits to faculty and the Geisel/D-H community.

“This important SYNERGY Fellowship will leverage the entrepreneurial ideas and creativity of our clinical faculty to directly benefit patients,” noted Alan I. Green, MD, Principal Investigator and Director of Dartmouth SYNERGY.  “We look forward to the outcome of Dr. Barth’s exciting project.”

Dartmouth SYNERGY’s key mission is to foster discovery and innovation in translational and clinical research. SYNERGY helps scientific researchers at Dartmouth find the tools they need to advance their research and to translate their discoveries into clinical practice and improved population health. SYNERGY also takes ideas from advances in public health and develops them further in basic science research, moving ideas from the community back to the laboratory.

SYNERGY offers a wealth of resources from across Dartmouth (including Geisel and Thayer) and Dartmouth-Hitchcock to scientists focused on clinical and translational research. These include support with biostatistics methods to help design studies and plan data collection; bioinformatics tools to help with data integration and management; services of the Clinical Research Unit; tools at Dartmouth to help with recruitment and retention in clinical studies; and advice from research ethics faculty who can consult on ethical issues such as outreach to vulnerable populations, end-of-life research, and genetic testing.

S-CEF is supported by The Dartmouth Clinical and Translational Science Institute, under award number UL1TR001086 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).