Seed funding to accelerate technology commercialization
Five projects led by College of Engineering faculty were recently chosen for funding via The Ohio State University Accelerator Awards: David Dean, Emre Ertin, Sanjay Krishna, Mrinal Kumar and Tanya Nocera.
The Accelerator Awards program provides grants of up to $150,000 to help develop technologies to the point that they are either ready to be licensed by an Ohio-based startup company or are determined to be unfeasible for commercialization. The program is funded by the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Startup Fund (TVSF) and Ohio State, and administered through the university’s Corporate Engagement Office.
“Many discoveries are early stage and need additional funding to help advance the technology,” said Cheryl Turnbull, senior director of the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio State. “If we can help bridge that gap, the technologies are better positioned for becoming a successful startup and ultimately improve lives.”
Since the 2015 inception of the program, $3 million has been provided to Ohio State researchers to develop their innovations. Forty-six projects have been completed; 19 of those technologies are currently licensed or in the option phase, 12 projects are actively pursuing marketing and eight projects remain in development.
In this most recent award cycle, Ohio State researchers submitted 30 pre-proposals resulting in nine funded projects, five of which are led by engineering faculty.
David Dean | Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Chaotic Printing for Cell Expansion and Tissue Regeneration
Cell-based therapies, such as bone marrow replacement, novel cancer drug screening techniques, and many regenerative medicine technologies, require donor cells to be expanded from millions to hundreds of millions or billions to treat a single patient. Currently, donor cells are sent to expensive centralized facilities located far from patients for expansion in whole room incubators. The current procedure for cell-based therapies negatively impacts the affordability and the pace of treatment as well as the number of patients who can be treated. A solution is to use a bioreactor system fabricated using chaotic printing—the use of chaotic flows for the rapid generation of complex, high-resolution microstructures. This new bioreactor will allow local, rapid and less expensive expansion of cells to the numbers needed for treatment. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to finalize the design and set up of a chaotic-printed bioreactor, demonstrate the cell expansion capabilities of the device, and to validate the commercial viability of this technology.
Emre Ertin | Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
HFGuard: Noninvasive Sensing of Thoracic Fluid Levels for the Management of Congestive Heart Failure Patients
Heart failure is a leading causes of hospital admissions and death in the United States, and also one of the costliest disease syndromes. Current practice requires management of heart failure episodes in the hospital, and identifiers of worsening heart failure often develop too late to proactively manage. Earlier identification and treatment of worsening symptoms would help prevent development of heart failure exacerbations. Thoracic fluid accumulation develops prior to symptoms and presents a new early identifier. This project will develop a noninvasive sensor that can provide real time assessment of fluid levels, allowing early detection of worsening symptoms and trigger adjustments to medical therapy, preventing costly readmissions and avoiding life threatening complications. Accelerator Awards funding will enable refinement of the sensor design and user interface, as well as validate the accuracy of HFGuard in a clinical cohort of patients diagnosed with acute decompensated heart failure.
Sanjay Krishna | Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Lateral Interband Type-II Engineered Detectors (LITE Detectors)
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) applications are used for defense, space and autonomous vehicles. Current LiDAR technologies lack high-performance sensors and affordable price points. Additionally, LiDAR needs to be more sensitive with better response times. This novel technology, Lateral Interband Type-II Engineered (LITE) detectors, will solve these issues by enabling LiDAR systems to see farther and respond faster using an innovative detector architecture. If LiDAR are the eyes of the driverless car, then the proposed LITE detectors are the photoreceptors. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to develop and test the detectors.
Mrinal Kumar | Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Data Security Measures and User-Layer Development for a Prognostics Use Case
Currently, jet engine prognostics rely on a preventative schedule of maintenance. Unforeseen breakdowns are costly. The technology under development is a scalable computational platform that performs accurate computer simulations to predict failure of aircraft jet engines in less time. The goals of the project are to demonstrate that the front-end controllable accuracy of the platform can overhaul the existing preventative decision-making cycle for optimization of engine performance and prediction of engine failure. Accelerator Awards funds will allow for development of a minimally viable product and user interface for pilot testing in jet engine prognostics.
Tanya Nocera | Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Junctional Tourniquet for Control of Bleeding from Areas not Accessible to Standard Extremity Tourniquets
Exsanguination, or “bleeding to death,” is a leading cause of preventable deaths worldwide, and accounts for up to 90% of preventable combat fatalities—17.5% of which are due to hemorrhage from the torso-appendage junction. Nocera’s research team has identified a need for a tourniquet that effectively and efficiently treats junctional wounds in a tactical or civilian setting, is compact for carrying, and cost accessible to various agencies. They are developing a new junctional tourniquet device that: tightly conforms to the wound; can be quickly and effectively applied in high-pressure combat environments; and has a size/weight profile compatible with tactical medic bags. Additional applications of this technology can include law enforcement, EMS and other first responders. Accelerator Award funds will enable the team to further refine and de-risk the design, resulting in a technical data package ready for either licensing to a company or the creation of a start-up.