2022: UMass Program announces $250,000 in Technologies Enhancement Fund awards

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New technologies aimed at decreasing patients’ and wellbeing-treatment workers’ publicity to drug-resistant micro organism, detecting significant ocean details, and pinpointing genetic ailments linked to autism and other professional medical conditions could get nearer to market many thanks to $250,000 in seed funding declared today by College of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan.

Ten school research tasks will every single get up to $25,000 from the Technological innovation Advancement Fund, which can help to commercialize scientific breakthroughs throughout the 5-campus University of Massachusetts. The fund is overseen by the Office environment of Engineering Commercialization and Ventures (OTCV) at the UMass President’s Business office in Boston.

“As a public analysis university, UMass has a responsibility to travel innovation that strengthens the socio-financial cloth of our communities, nation, and planet,” mentioned President Meehan. “With these grants, we’re investing in environment course faculty who are carrying out our mission by way of their cutting-edge discoveries, attracting the best good quality collaborators, and bringing the effects of exploration to the market.”

The Know-how Progress Fund awards deliver supplemental funding to enable near the hole involving UMass investigation discoveries and tested know-how that handle the most pressing problems facing the area, the country, and the planet, often laying the groundwork for key breakthroughs.

“These faculty projects showcase how UMass continues to notice long-term advancement and accomplishment in its commercialization company,” stated Carl Rust, Govt Director of Business Engagement and Business Improvement, who oversees the OTCV initiative.

The UMass technique drives discovery and financial progress through the point out, conducting $752 million in annual exploration and progress in fields critical to the Commonwealth’s overall economy. Pre-pandemic, the college generated $7.5 billion in statewide economic activity – a 10-to-1 return on expenditure by the Commonwealth.  UMass supports near to 50,000 employment in Massachusetts, including virtually 18,000 college and team associates and additional than 30,000 non-public sector positions. 

Due to the fact 2004, UMass has invested almost $3 million in faculty R&D jobs by means of the Technological innovation Improvement Fund. Initiatives are picked for their business viability, in hopes that enhancement of the engineering will guide to a startup business or licensing arrangement. Funding for the once-a-year awards will come from commercial licensing earnings on preceding school discoveries.

UMass carries on to have a strong file of making income from the commercialization of its educational research – $257 million about the very last five a long time – and normally destinations among the the top 25 universities in a countrywide study of cash flow created by engineering transfer.

This year’s recipients of the $25,000 Engineering Enhancement Fund awards are as follows:

Carlos Gradil, DVM, MS, PhD, DACT, Division of Veterinary & Animal Sciences – UMass Amherst 

This venture is advancing a new ‘frameless’ magnetic contraceptive intrauterine system (IUD) primarily based on physics and specifically built to conform to a female’s system. The extensive-acting magnetic system features the exact same efficacy as existing IUDs, but with increased safety, easy insertion and removing, and decreased ache hazards without having the need for strings. The modified gadgets will involve traditional copper coatings to make these IUDs able of giving a dependable, nonhormonal contraception option.

Alexander Suvorov, PhD, & Richard J. Pilsner, PhD, Department of Environmental Wellness Sciences – UMass Amherst

The workforce is examining how superior paternal age at fertilization is a hazard issue for a lot of health and fitness disorders in offspring, which include neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders and diverse varieties of most cancers. Researchers have designed a therapeutic intervention that resets encoded epigenetic information of sperm into a younger condition. Sizeable need is predicted for these therapies that will restore “young” epigenetic software in sperm of older guys to ensure healthy offspring.

Adam Grabell, PhD, and Tauhidur Rahman, PhD, Section of Psychological and Mind Sciences – UMass Amherst

The crew has developed EarlyScreen, a lab-centered match and algorithm that detects the existence of psychological disorders in preschool little ones with a large diploma of accuracy compared to frequently employed diagnosis resources. Psychological issues rising in the initially couple of several years of life often persist throughout later developmental levels and into adulthood, resulting in sizeable impairment and societal fees. The rising indicators of psychological ailments are complicated to differentiate from normative misbehavior in early childhood, generating a “when to worry” challenge for caregivers and vendors. EarlyScreen’s algorithm immediately extracts characteristics this kind of as facial expressions, gaze, and head movement from video footage.

Amit Tandon, PhD, Section of Mechanical Engineering – UMass Dartmouth

There is a growing need for low-cost products that detect vital subsurface ocean information (e.g., temperature, salinity, currents) in the higher ocean. The Aurelia is a unique very simple-to-use lower-expense design advancing the perform finished by a UMass Dartmouth senior layout staff, mentored and guided by Dr. Tandon. Aurelia attributes a lower-value depth manage technique to allow a number of dive/area trips, an Android graphical interface for mission planning in excess of Bluetooth, a cellular radio antenna for retrieval, and a smart charging procedure for rapid re-deployment.

Milana C. Vasudev, PhD, Section of Bioengineering – UMass Dartmouth

The staff is creating a novel higher-throughput screening (HTS) method which will use a photonic crystal area enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrate to detect exosomes drop by ovarian cancer cells. Electromagnetic enhancement making use of photonic crystals can increase the SERS detection as as opposed to conventional techniques.

Mingdi Yan, PhD, Department of Chemistry – UMass Lowell

We identified a new antimicrobial formulation that is powerful towards multidrug-resistant (MDR) microbes. The formulation consists of gold compounds and has quite a few exceptional features, like broad-spectrum antimicrobial routines that are energetic in opposition to the two Gram-damaging and Gram-beneficial pathogens. They are also lively from SARS-CoV-2, making them excellent candidates in the struggle in opposition to “superinfections.” Researchers’ extensive-term aim is to total advancement of this technological know-how to a phase exactly where it can be certified and introduced through closing progress and scientific trials, resulting in a remedy for managing major MDR infections exactly where the present antibiotics are ineffective.

Weile Yan, PhD, Office of Civil and Environmental Engineering – UMass Lowell

The challenge aims to create sustainable answers that meet up with the crucial need to have for far more productive lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) recycling systems amid the growth of the electrical vehicle (EV) market and a surging wave of used batteries awaiting disposal. A lot less than 5 % of squander LIBs in the U.S. are becoming recycled. At the core of the technological know-how is an electrodialysis product equipped with customized Li-selective polymeric electrolyte membranes working on a low-voltage DC that can be quickly supplied by renewable vitality resources. The technique is in a position to change battery waste mixture (i.e., black mass) to salts of cobalt, nickel, and lithium, or mixed-steel substances for efficient battery re-manufacturing.

Yuyu Sunlight, PhD, Section of Chemistry – UMass Lowell

The job staff has invented a new technological know-how applying N-halamine – a biocide with proven germ-killing house – to lower the occupational stress of publicity by safeguarding health and fitness care employees from damaging microorganisms that can cause several infections. This discovery treats medical center garments worn by nurses and other wellness treatment personnel with the particular antimicrobial function that can be very easily monitored and recharged as wanted, blocking really serious difficulties between patients thanks to cross-contamination. The achievement of the proposed challenge will make the new engineering far more eye-catching for healthcare textiles and a large variety of other purposes and much more mature for commercialization.

Jie Tune, PhD, Division of Orthopedics and Bodily Rehabilitation – UMass Chan Clinical Faculty

The staff has produced StaphShield, a metallic implant-coating able of on-demand from customers release of antibiotics to avert biofilm development and bone infection caused by S. aureus, a sort of germs discovered on human skin. The technological know-how presents well timed launch of antibiotics to eliminate the microbes in advance of they have a prospect to colonize the implant or invade surrounding bone. Scientists aim to tailor the StaphShield formulation as off-the-shelf dip-coatings wherever the drug load could be conveniently altered centered on different scientific requirements and the coating could be continuously utilized to commercial implants by health-related staff devoid of altering implant production.

Joel D. Richter, PhD, Department of Molecular Medication – UMass Chan Health-related University

The Richter Lab team is investigating Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), a genetic ailment that is the most common inherited type of mental impairment and most frequent single gene bring about of autism worldwide. FXS is triggered by a CGG triplet repeat enlargement in the gene FMR1, resulting in the absence of the RNA binding FMRP. Kids with FXS and an FMR1 mutation could have speech and progress delays, hyperactivity, aggression, epilepsy, and other health and fitness troubles. The team’s technology has uncovered that white blood cells from FXS people 1 have altered RNA splicing, which serves as a statistically robust blood biomarker for the problem that could aid the progress of new therapeutic inventions to address the sickness.

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