Main content
New Emory program aims to foster innovation in diabetes research through startups
Media Contact
Myra Patrick
Researchers study a lab sample

The Emory Global Diabetes Research Center (EGDRC) is announcing the launch of the Diabetes Translational Accelerator (DTA), dedicated to advancing research and technologies aimed at addressing the most challenging issues in diabetes and associated complications. With a focus on fostering start-ups and commercialization, the DTA aims to catalyze innovation in the field of diabetes research through mentorship and access to Emory's robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, empowering students to bring their ideas to fruition.

With diabetes affecting 1 in 10 adults globally, including a significant portion in low- and middle-income countries, the need for innovative approaches is more pressing than ever. The DTA supports entrepreneurs' new and modified products/technologies into viable business concepts focused on the prevention, diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of diabetes and related comorbidities. Emory University will facilitate licensing agreements, ensuring that breakthrough technologies reach those who need them most.

“We are thrilled to have such a pioneering program here at Emory,” says Ravi I. Thadhani, MD, executive vice president for health affairs at Emory University.“This initiative represents a crucial step forward in our collective efforts to combat diabetes and its complications through innovation and entrepreneurship.”  

Supported by the Lakshan Foundation Inc., central to the DTA is the Lakshmi and Subramonian Shankar Fellowship, which provides Emory PhD students in the DTA program with stipends and insurance coverage, enabling them to embark on entrepreneurial endeavors rooted in their dissertations. The fellowship also offers access to the Shankar Innovation Fund, facilitating the translation of research into market-ready products and technologies.

“There are programs that invest in late-stage intellectual property of post-docs, but the DTA and Shankar Fellowships are unique because we are targeting PhD students and investing in them from the very beginning, with the goal of solving problems in diabetes specifically,” says Dr. Jithin Sam Varghese, co-director of the DTA and faculty member at the Rollins School of Public Health.

The Lakshan Foundation Inc. also supports the Shankar Center for Diabetes at the premier Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) in India. Facilitating a strategic partnership between EGDRC and IIT Madras, Emory’s Shankar Fellows and their faculty advisors will have the opportunity to engage in learning experiences with IIT Madras, fostering international collaboration and knowledge exchange. 

“Often, individuals require guidance and mentorship,” says Subramonian Shankar, founder of the Lakshan Foundation Inc. “A crucial aspect of the program is facilitating connections with others who possess complementary skills to those of Emory students. This initiative extends beyond borders, with a focus on inclusivity and affordability, ensuring its potential to positively impact humanity.”

For more information about the DTA and how to get involved, please contact

About Emory Global Diabetes Research Center

At the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center (EGDRC), we leverage our extensive global network to develop and advance the abilities of Emory, US, and non-US researchers to engage in world-class research in diabetes and other related non-communicable diseases such as stroke, hypertension, heart disease and co-morbid conditions such as tuberculosis, mental health and HIV. Our research seeks to understand causes and consequences, investigate prevention methods and inform policy by exploring risk factors such as socio-demographics, nutrition, obesity, physiology and physical activity.

Recent News