Dr. Michael A. Schmidt Named to VR Laboratories Board of Directors
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla., Dec. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — VR Laboratories LLC today announced the appointment of Michael A. Schmidt, Ph.D. to its board of directors. Schmidt will take the lead in driving select scientific collaborations for VR Laboratories with leading academic institutions nationwide aimed at advancing VR Laboratories’ products to commercialization. Schmidt will also support VR Laboratories in business development, negotiations, discovery and screening, clinical trials, medical food development and botanical drug development. In addition to his role with VR Laboratories, Schmidt is one of three scientists teaming up for an inaugural science expedition aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. The first commercial spaceflight agreement was recently announced by the Southwest Research Institute and the first flights will launch in 2013. The scientists will study radiation and other exposure in the suborbital space environment.
“Dr. Schmidt brings a wealth of knowledge, and skills to VR Laboratories from academia and the private sector,” says Jeff Kottkamp, CEO for VR Laboratories. “Research is a collaborative process, and Dr. Schmidt’s background in both product and business development, will be instrumental in bringing new partnerships and opportunities to VR Laboratories. His experience will help us develop first-in-class performance enhancement beverages and foods.”
From 1996 to the present, Schmidt has advised biotechnology companies on product development rooted in biochemistry, metabolomics, functional genomics, and systems biology. This work includes in vitro discovery design, in vivo pre-clinical study design, clinical trial design and follow through, technical manual development, brand development, marketing strategy development, sales training, physician training and marketing presentations.
In this capacity, he has advised both large companies, small companies, and emerging companies through reassessment of their strategic positioning. Among the large companies are Roche Diagnostics, one of the world’s largest in vitro diagnostic companies and a division of the Roche Group.
Schmidt has spent the past 20 years studying human performance under extreme conditions and developing analytics, small molecule therapeutics and neuroplasticity-based training solutions to optimize performance in these environments. He completed his Ph.D. research in molecular medicine and biochemistry within the Life Sciences Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center. This work also involved a fellowship at NASA’s Psychophysiology Research Laboratory, which explored countermeasures aimed at modification of neuroplasticity as a means to raise tolerance to extended microgravity, hypergravity, sleep deprivation, night vision operations, Pararescue, high altitude flight, and other stressors encountered in extreme environments.
He has also trained in metabolomics and neuroscience at Lancaster University (UK), and mass spectrometry based metabolomics at the University of Colorado. This work is centered on systems biology, which merges metabolomics, proteomics, and functional genomics, generally coupled with multivariate statistics and pattern recognition.
Schmidt is a founding co-developer of the Brain Fitness program developed in 2011 for the University of South Florida College of Medicine. This CME-accredited program was designed to bring advances in neuroplasticity research into medical practice and provide tools to practicing physicians to help their patients (and communities) optimize brain performance throughout the lifespan. For the past 20 years, Schmidt has been studying neuroplasticity and solutions, as they apply to elite performers and as a means to optimize brain fitness in healthy and aging populations. As an extension of this neuroplasticity and performance work, Schmidt is the chief scientist for the Corvette Racing driver science program. Along with the exceptional Corvette Racing organization, the Driver Science program was part of the support effort that helped Corvette Racing win the 24-hour Le Mans race in 2011.
Schmidt is the founder of Sovaris Aerospace, LLC, specializing in space biomedicine and space biotechnology, with an aim to earthbound applications. Sovaris is focused on development of methods to maintain musculoskeletal, cardiac, and brain fitness, as well as optimum host defenses and immune surveillance in long duration space missions. Sovaris is also involved in neurophysiologic monitoring and training systems for the commercial and NASA space flight initiatives, using novel algorithms, signal processing tools, instrumentation, and training methods, based on EMG, EEG, ECG, cardiac output, oximetry, and other metrics. These have applications in human medicine, as well as human space flight.
Schmidt is the author of Beyond Antibiotics: Strategies for Living in a World of Emerging Infections and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, released by Random House in 2009. This book offers strategies to manage the problem of emerging infections, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and the declining antibiotic pipeline. He also authored Brain-Building Nutrition: How Dietary Fats and Oils Affect Mental, Physical, and Emotional Intelligence, which is considered among the foundational works in this field of using lipid agents to modify the brain’s plasticity and function. It is based on the premise that the human brain is roughly 60 percent fat, and that the brain is highly dependent upon specific fatty acids to maintain its integrity and function. In this work, he has been instrumental in advancing the use of fatty acids and phospholipids in infant formula, total parenteral nutrition, enteral feeding formulas, general human nutrition, and disease state management.
Schmidt uses his training in mediation and conflict resolution to build strong organizations, develop successful teams, create collaborative systems, and foster strong partnerships. He also provides leadership training for various groups in the U.S. and abroad.
About VR Laboratories
VR Laboratories is positioned to be the leading global formulator and producer of FDA-approved botanical pharmaceuticals and medicines and proprietary ingredients for medicinal and functional foods and beverages. The company utilizes the proprietary HerbalScience technology platform, which has fully developed more than 600 medicinal and functional ingredients. Medicinal and functional foods and beverages are the fastest growing segments of the global food market. FDA-approved botanical pharmaceuticals, the newest segment of the global pharmaceutical industry, are estimated to achieve a Combined Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 600+ percent.
The Lee County Board of County Commissioners approved financial incentives of $5 million for VR Laboratories in February 2011 based on the recommendation of The Fort Myers Regional Partnership, Lee County’s Economic Development Office, and the company’s commitment to creating 208 new, full-time jobs in Lee County over the next five years with average salaries of $66,850 plus benefits. The $5 million in county incentives is awarded from Lee County’s Financial Incentives for Recruiting Strategic Targets (FIRST) initiative, a county fund created with $25 million in reserves to build Lee County’s economy through diversification. VR Laboratories’ anticipated economic impact in Lee County is in excess of $40 million per year upon project completion.
For more information, call 239-597-9878.
SOURCE VR Laboratories LLC