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A Little Italy in Peachtree Corners
Makes Extending an Olive Branch a
Symbol of Health

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MagisNat
The medical and business participants of the virtual conference stream at Atlanta Tech Park

Conceivably, one day soon, we’ll be driving through Peachtree Corners taking in views reminiscent of the Italian countryside. As our gaze falls upon stretches of olive groves, we may think we’re in Italy for a second — until we realize this phenomenon in our ever-avant-garde metropolis is due to its ideal geographic location, favorable to the cultivation of olive trees, and the ingenious collaboration of forward-thinking Italian and American researchers working to extract from olive oil its most beneficial molecules, a gift as precious as gold for our health.

The newest virtual member of Atlanta Tech Park is the brainchild of Dr. Matteo Bertelli, founder and president of the Italian MAGI Group since 2006. MAGI specializes in the research, diagnosis and treatment of rare genetic diseases. His spin-off at Atlanta Tech Park, MagisNat, unites academics on opposite shores of the Atlantic in a promising mission to combat disease using natural molecules.

Capitalizing on the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Applying molecular genetics and metabolomics in the study of natural substances extracted from foods typical of the Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet), MagisNat is finding ways to zero in on its long-known health benefits and make good use of its disease-preventing properties. The active components of polyphenols and flavonoids found in olives, tomatoes and citrus fruit for example, can be extracted to produce dietary supplements scientifically proven to prevent an array of pathologies.

The fledgling company has already produced two supplements which will be available soon, Garlive Oral Spray and Garlive Recovery tablets with vitamins, both formulated with hydroxytyrosol derived from olive extracts to support a healthy immune system.

The international launch

On June 23, 2022, a MagisNat conference took place in the press room of Palazzo Montecitorio, seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome, Italy. Atlanta Tech Park simultaneously hosted the event stateside. Professors from both sides of the pond spoke at the official launch about this promising collaboration to further investigate the disease-preventing properties of the MedDiet.

Bertelli said he appreciates the staff at our local accelerator whose role he considers invaluable. “Without opportunities like those provided by this business incubator, small companies like ours could never start,” he said. “I cannot express how grateful I am to those who conceived and developed this organization called Atlanta Tech Park in Peachtree Corners.”

We’ve all heard about the health benefits of the MedDiet but what exactly is it?

Let’s begin with what it’s not. It’s not a rigid, calorie-counting, restrictive fad diet, but rather a modo di vita, or a lifestyle approach consisting of more traditional meal preparation using a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods, and the prioritization of physical activity, social gatherings and relaxation.

The MedDiet was actually coined in the 1950s by American physiologist Dr. Ancel Keys. Keys was dedicated to studying the influence of diet on health. After his famous Seven Countries Study, he concluded that replacing dietary saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat reduces cardiovascular heart disease.

In 2013, the MedDiet was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity because of how and what the diverse populations along the Mediterranean Sea Basin eat. In turn, the World Health Organization has classified it as a diet that protects against cardiovascular disease.

Apparently, coming together with a network of family and friends to enjoy meals consisting of fresh, seasonal and local food, mostly fruits, herbs, whole grains, nuts, vegetables, legumes, fish and seafood and olive oil with moderate amounts of milk and wine — mainly red, with meals — improves heart health, body mass index and cognitive function, while decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and even certain cancers. It’s also important that sugar, red meat and processed meat are consumed sparingly.

Perhaps the old adage needs a little tweak: “You are what and how you eat.”

Natural molecule-based treatments show promise across a variety of diseases

In Rome, Italy, Dr. Pietro Chiurazzi, affiliated with the University Polyclinic Foundation A. Gemelli, discussed how olive mill wastewater (OMW) could be used to create supplements containing powerful antioxidants. Instead of the idiomatic expression, ‘Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater,’ think: ‘Don’t throw out the hydroxytyrosol with the OMW.’ Chiurazzi studies the treatment of the rare, late-onset neurodegenerative disease FXTAS, characterized by tremors and an ataxic (uncoordinated) gait.

At the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart) Institute of Ophthalmology, Dr. Benedetto Falsini has a pilot study underway to rescue retinal cells before they succumb to inherited degeneration.

In Sacro Cuore’s Department of Internal Medicine, Dr. Amerigo Iaconelli aids patients with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, osteoporosis and obesity.

Dr. Sandro Michelini of San Giovanni Battista Hospital scrutinizes pathologies that cause lymphedema, a blockage in the lymph system causing swelling of the arms or legs.

The President of the Macula & Genoma Foundation in New York, Dr. Andrea Cusumano, employs this new and unusual approach to rescue photoreceptors in a pursuit to prevent and reverse blindness. Cusumano advances the field of ophthalmology in Italy, Germany and the U.S.

Bertelli credits Dr. Stephen T. Connelly with getting this venture off the ground, “He devoted an enormous amount of time to the birth of this spin-off,” Bertelli said of Connelly, Associate Clinical professor at the University of California San Francisco, who is eager to embark on the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Emory University Dr. Peng Jin chairs the Department of Human Genetics, School of Medicine in Atlanta. He too examines neurodegenerative disorder treatment, especially Fragile X syndrome with tremor/ataxia. “Professor Peng Jin agreed to test the effects of olive tree polyphenols on fruit fly models in preventing FXTAS,” Bertelli shared, extending a personal message of thanks to Jin.

Dr. John Paul SanGiovanni of U. Arizona’s BIO5 Institute explores chemistry of Mediterranean foods linking this information to receptors in the body that keep cells working optimally, showing promise for those afflicted with blinding age-macular degeneration (AMD). He’s identified links between the AMD-related MMP-9 protein and ferulic acid, a chemical found in fennel, oregano, olives and chickpeas.

With locations in Tucson, Arizona and Beverly Hills, California, Medical and Research Director
Dr. Karen L. Herbst of Total Lipedema Care, is passionate about helping patients with connective tissue disorders. Lipedema is an inflammatory disease resulting in the deposition of fibrotic subcutaneous adipose tissue characterized by excess fat accumulation in the lower part of the body.

As varied as their areas of expertise and as geographically dispersed as all the participating researchers may be, they’re linked in the intent to employ the science behind MagisNat, the application of natural molecules to cure maladies and improve patient health.

Under the Georgia sun

There’s much yet to be discovered about the beneficial effects of using these natural molecules in living organisms, but the stage is set and conditions are promising for fascinating developments in science and research at MagisNat in Peachtree Corners.

Consider the MagisNat spin-off, yet another component of la dolce vita in our innovative city. Mangiate bene (eat well) and let’s toast to medical breakthroughs that once seemed like science fiction becoming a reality on our own turf.

Salute! (Cheers!)

Patrizia hails from Toronto, Canada where she earned an Honors B.A. in French and Italian studies at York University, and a B.Ed. at the University of Toronto. This trilingual former French teacher has called Georgia home since 1998. She and her family have enjoyed living, working and playing in Peachtree Corners since 2013.

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Kimberly Beaudin, CEO of the College Football Hall of Fame, Guest at SWGC [Photos]

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Beaudin was the Speaker at Southwest Gwinnett Chamber’s “First Friday” Meeting at the Norcross Crowne Plaza Hotel

Kimberly Beaudin (CEO of the College Football Hall of Fame was the guest speaker.
Coach Mark Richt and Matt Stinchcomb (GA Bulldog player and college football HOF inductee) were also in attendance

Kimberly Beaudin is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the College Football Hall of Fame, a national nonprofit organization and top-rated experience based in Atlanta, Georgia.  Beaudin joined college football’s mecca in June 2015 as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications.  With over 20 years of experience in leading brand development and marketing strategy, she was promoted to oversee the sales operations of the business in March 2016.
 
Beaudin was named President & CEO of the Hall of Fame in March 2020, making her the first female leader of the storied institution.  In her role, Beaudin’s primary focus is on philanthropic development and she leverages her vast experience in partnership sales, strategic marketing, community and public relations and event and group sales to ensure a sustainable future for the Hall.

Photos by Bruce Johnson

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Peachtree Corners Business Association Donates to Neighborhood Cooperative Ministry

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L to r, Michael Pugh, Ryan Jones, Director of Community Development for NCM, Lisa Proctor, Donna Linden and Toby Anderson (Photos courtesy of Peachtree Corners Business Association)

The Peachtree Corners Business Association (PCBA) awarded a check for $500 to Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries at our August PCBA Business After Hours Networking event.  The PCBA was able to combine our “No Pressure Networking” event with doing good in the community!

The Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries provides physical (food & clothing, health), financial (rent & utility assistance, temporary hotel stay, job ministry) or spiritual assistance (counseling, prayer and church connections) to those in need.  Helping those in crisis by collaborating with the community to offer programs and services that transform lives through the love of Christ, Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries serves at-risk Gwinnett County residents from Doraville, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, and Tucker as well as Greater Gwinnett through community partner referrals and various funding cycles.

“The PCBA is pleased to award a check for $500 to the Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries to contribute to their ongoing need of restocking their pantry and providing financial assistance as part of our Community Outreach,” says Lisa Proctor, PCBA President.  Our Outreach Committee and Board are committed to supporting our community as our businesses continue to grow.


For more information about the association call 678-969-3385, email membership@peachtreeba.com  or visit https://www.peachtreecornersba.com

Source: About Peachtree Corners Business Association

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The Secrets to Israel’s Start-up Ecosystems Success Through the Eyes of a PTC Local

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The group in Masada National Park and near the Dead Sea.

UGA entrepreneurship students seek the secrets to Tel Aviv’s startup success.

Contribution by Stevie Bramble

About 6,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean, perched on the easternmost part of the Mediterranean Sea, lies Tel Aviv, Israel, a seemingly small entrepreneurial society that has transformed the start-up ecosystem worldwide. Israel has attracted large multinational companies such as Google, IBM, Apple and Fujitsu to their nation due to their start-up success, and it’s continuing to grow today.

“I’m Tirzu, Ein Zo Agadah”
translates into English as,
“If you will it, it is no dream.”

An Israeli Saying

The successful start-up nation attracted University of Georgia’s first study abroad group of Entrepreneurial students to spend time and learn about the ecosystem of entrepreneurship. They spent weeks studying the social and institutional infrastructure that supports one of the world’s busiest start-up hubs. By visiting companies such as Monday.com and Overwolf, the students received an abundance of entrepreneurial knowledge from CEOs and employees in the tech sector.

The first night in Tel Aviv with the whole group and the professors.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect in Israel. However, I was so overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge I was able to grasp in three weeks,” said Stevie Bramble, a rising UGA fourth-year student studying marketing and entrepreneurship. “Everyone in the cohort was excited to learn about this unique business environment, and the community was willing to teach us about it.”

Room mates Nina Boone and Stevie Bramble on the first night in Tel Aviv.

Bramble was one of 28 students who participated in the study abroad Maymester in Tel Aviv, partaking in two courses: The Study of Diverse Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystems. Although the majority of students are pursuing a degree through the Terry College of Business, the trip included all majors.

Some other students are majoring in engineering, fashion merchandising, communications and international affairs. The program ensured a mix of people from all over UGA’s campus to embrace differences.

Ayobami Olubadewo and Stevie Bramble in Jerusalem.

Survivalist engine

According to Shahar Sorek, Israel is a “survivalist engine.” Sorek is the CMO of Overwolf, one of the businesses the students visited, and he spoke on Israel’s ecosystem. He mentioned that the Israeli people have persevered through hardship and furthermore, have produced a community of assertive and risk-taking individuals motivated to work hard and survive for the future.

Right: At the Overwolf Office in Tel Aviv. Top row: Lindsay Mangum, Alex Boulogne, Kaleb Thibodeaux, Laura Neely, Ben Brown and Nina Boone; bottom: Stevie Bramble.
Left, Shahar Sorek, CMO at Overwolf

Adding on to this, Bramble learned that Israel has a military service that all Jewish men and women are required to partake in, called the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). After their 18th birthdays, they must serve for two to three years before pursuing any secondary schooling or leaping into the workforce. While Americans cringe at the words ‘mandatory military time,’ Israeli’s embrace it.

“The army brings people together because everyone in Israel has to do it,” said Hannah Laskow, the influencer marketing manager of Overwolf. “ Israel is only 74 years old so it is pretty small, creating a tight community that is willing to lean on one another.”
Laskow met with Bramble one-on-one during the trip to discuss Israel’s ecosystem in depth. She mentioned that the IDF has different sectors, including, but not limited to, a tech sector and a combat sector.

The tech sector is where most of the multinational companies such as Google and IBM recruit. It’s imperative to Israel’s ecosystem to require the IDF due to the massive amount of talent being injected into society constantly.

In the Study of Diverse Entrepreneurship course, the students had the opportunity to create a plan to maintain Israel as a major hub for start-ups. One of the groups came up with a plan to create technology boot camps for individuals coming out of the IDF who participated in non-tech sectors to gain tech knowledge and fix the lack of talent issue. The students were able to solve some real-world issues happening around them, and it was reported to be one of their favorite projects.

In Israel, to be risk-tolerant is to survive. That’s why the majority of individuals are able to go anywhere and meet others who share an entrepreneurial mindset with ideas and thoughts like their own.

Bramble and the rest of the group met with creators of start-ups, ranging from small local incubators to larger global companies, including Monday.com and Overwolf. Some of the speakers had taken multiple businesses public and now run large tech incubators. The group took away key points toward understanding the ‘survivalist engine’ they call Israel.

The key to success: failure

According to the students, there was one standout speaker. Yuval Tal, founder and president of Payoneer and BorderFree, made time in his busy schedule to talk to the UGA students about his new tech incubator, Team8, and how to survive in a fast-paced start-up nation like Israel.

The student’s key take-away from his speech was the acceptance of failure. Tal mentioned that start-ups take risks, and with risks comes failure. He drove home the point that success doesn’t come without many failures.

“Having the drive to keep going is what matters the most,” said Tal. The students presented him with questions about Israel’s ecosystem, teamwork and his own personal failures.

Tal mentioned his biggest failure was letting go of people and regretting it down the line. Tal hinted that one person he let go went on to start their own business and become successful in the sector he was working in himself. The lesson for the students was that it takes courage to work with and hire people who are smarter and better than yourself. However, it is imperative to do it because it will make your business better.

He also stated that “courage is over intelligence,” meaning that it takes a person to become bigger than their ego to keep going forward even when it seems difficult. The take-aways from Tal were the importance of believing in yourself, having courage and accepting failure.
After considering Laskow’s insights about the IDF, it is clear how Israel has become a high-demand place for multinational companies to set up research and development centers. The riskiness ingrained into the Israeli people from birth is beneficial in their workplace life, especially after their experiences in the IDF.

The IDF fosters a place where people must fail and learn from their mistakes to survive. It seems that Israel has mastered its survivalist engine perfectly. As many say “I’m Tirzu, Ein Zo Agadah” which translates into English as, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Future trip planned

The University of Georgia plans to host another trip to Tel Aviv, Israel in 2023 through the Entrepreneurship Program. For more information, please visit terry.uga.edu/entreprenuership.

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