President Marty Meehan today announced $215,000 in funding for a program that over the past 13 years has seen UMass invest $2,355,000 in faculty R&D projects, leading to $15 million in follow-on investment, generating numerous commercial licenses and patents and resulting in startup companies locating in Massachusetts.
“With these awards, we are investing in today and are seeding tomorrow,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “This program pays enormous scientific and economic dividends and demonstrates the critical role that public research universities play in our world.”
Eight UMass technology projects will receive $25,000 each via Tech Development Fund awards announced by President Meehan.
The projects, born out of federally funded research, are receiving the grants to assist with the development/prototype phase of activity. Two other projects received Discretionary Awards — smaller grants aimed at helping the inventors identify potential commercial markets.
The Tech Development Fund is overseen by the Office of Technology Commercialization and Venture (OTCV), based at the UMass President’s Office in Boston.
This year’s recipients, selected from a field of 35 applicants, were chosen for their project’s commercial viability, with the hopes that the development of the technology will lead to a startup company or licensing, according to Abigail Barrow, interim executive director of OTCV.
The recipients come from all five of the UMass campuses and their technology and inventions include:
- A potentially more effective class of cancer-fighting drugs
- Antibiotics created from marine organisms
- A low-noise amplifier for quantum computers
- A natural-materials solution capable of preventing fogging on windshields, eyewear, mirrors, windows and display screens
“I am extremely proud of the invention and discovery going on at our campuses. Our researchers are advancing in so many diverse fields and are spurring entrepreneurship – and new startups — throughout the state,” President Meehan noted.
Funding of these annual awards comes from commercial licensing income on earlier faculty discoveries along with a grant from the President’s Office. The University has a strong record of generating income from the commercialization of its academic research and typically places in the top 15 universities in a national survey of income generated by technology transfer.
Previous awards have led to numerous commercial licenses and patents as well as the creation of startup companies like Felsuma, LLC, in Somerville, Cyta Therapeutics in Lowell, and Corsair Innovations in Dartmouth. Previously, OTVC was known as the office of the Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP).
This year’s recipients of the $25,000 OTCV Tech Development Fund Awards are:
- Matthew Bell, Ph.D., Engineering Department, UMass Boston
“Practical Quantum Limited Amplifiers for Secure Communications and Quantum Information Processing”
This team will prototype and commercialize a new type of low-noise amplifier to be used in a quantum computer, a revolutionary new approach to computing.
- Sivappa Rasapalli, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UMass Dartmouth
“Developing Novel Antibiotics: Biomimetic Optimization of Marine Natural Product Inspired Leads for Dual Efflux pump-Biofilm Inhibition (DEBI)”
This team at UMass Dartmouth has developed anti-bacterial marine compounds and will collaborate with local pharmaceutical companies toward drug discovery.
- Alfred Crosby, Ph.D., Department of Polymer Science & Engineering, UMass Amherst
“CR Diagnostics: Measuring In Vivo, Soft Tissue Mechanics”
This technology, which involves the measurement of pressure in synthetic materials or biological tissue, in vivo, addresses a critical need in medical research and may be able to significantly decrease the time and cost of many clinical procedures and trials.
- Beth A. McCormick, Ph.D.; Regino Mercado-Lubo, MD, Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems, UMass Medical School
“Development of SipA Adjuvant Chemotherapy Targeted to Multidrug Resistant Tumors”
The technology will develop and utilize a bacterial pathogen to assist in cancer therapeutics, with the aim of reducing the amount of chemotherapeutics needed for effective cancer cell killing, lessening side effects and reducing the incidences of drug resistance. This technology could lead to the development of a new and robust class of multidrug resistance therapeutics targeted to certain cancers.
- Akshay Kokil, Ph.D.; Daniel Schmidt, Ph.D., Department of Plastics Engineering, UMass Lowell
“Vinyl hydroxyl Ether Resins (VHER): A New Family of Resins”
Vinyl hydroxyl ether resins are designed to display superior chemical and thermal resistance. Potential commercial applications include coatings for chemical storage tanks, pipes and ducting.
- Joey Mead, Ph.D., Carol Barry D. Eng., Artee Panwar, Ph.D., Tehila Nahum, Ph.D. student, Department of Plastics Engineering, UMass Lowell (with Hanna Dodiuk and Samuel Kenig from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Israel)
“Commercialization of Corrosion Resistant Coatings with Improved Durability”
The team will develop corrosion resistant coatings based on their superhydrophobic surface coatings that repel both water and even reduce ice accumulation. The coating can be applied using a commercial (HVLP) spray gun and has proven to be highly durable under a variety of abrasion tests. Corrosion is a costly problem for both commercial and defense related industries.
- Jie Song, Ph.D., Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation, UMass Medical School
“Injectable temporary surgical adhesion barriers”
This technology features injectable hydrogels with precisely controlled degradation over a broad timeframe to prevent scarring and internal tissue adhesions following surgical procedures.
- Gang Han, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, UMass Medical School
“The Development of Near-infrared Persistent Luminescence Nanocrystals for Biomedical Applications”
Han’s lab has developed new bioluminescence-like nanoparticles. The successful development of these long-lasting, light-emitting nanocrystals would provide much improved, noninvasive imaging technology for evaluating structural and functional biological processes in living animals and patients.
- Alexey Tonyushkin, Ph.D., Physics Department, UMass Boston
“Novel Design of FFL-based Magnetic Particle Imaging Devices,” $5,000 award
Magnetic Particle Imaging or MPI is an emerging biomedical imaging that is more advanced than Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MPI is capable of real time diagnostic with high spatial resolution in applications such as vascular imaging and intervention, cellular and targeted imaging.
- Kenneth Carter Ph.D. and Yinyong Li, Ph.D. student, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, UMass Amherst
“FogKicker,” $10,000 award
The FogKicker is a new, patent-pending anti-fog solution made from natural materials. The major raw material, nanocellulose, can be easily made from recycled materials such as waste paper, wood, or plants, and excels at absorbing water or moisture. FogKicker is a biodegradable, non-toxic compound that can be coated on nearly any surface and, after drying, creates an invisible layer that prevents the formation of fog. Uses include protection of vehicle windshields, eyewear, mirrors, windows and display screens.