Awards brings research closer to commercialization

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Illustration: Anna Dworzecka/UIC News

Six research projects with potential for commercialization are the first selected for a new fund to encourage startup companies based on university-developed technology.

The first 2013 Proof-of-Concept Awards Program winners, funded by the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund, were selected from 47 proposals and 10 finalists.

The winning projects, which receive over $400,000 in total funding, were selected by a panel of venture capitalists and business leaders, including IllinoisVENTURES, ARCH Venture Partners, Baird Capital, Hyde Park Angels and Mercury Fund.

“The response from the UIC inventor community re-affirms the importance and relevance of the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund,” said Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, who announced the fund in April.

“This round of funding will go a long way to encourage the type of innovative thinking that UIC needs to continue its tradition as one of the top research institutions in the nation.”

The winners and their projects are:

• Venkat Venkatakrishnan, associate professor of computer science, “Security Analysis of Online Enterprise Websites”

• Amin Salehi-Khojin, assistant professor, and Bijandra Kumar, visiting research scholar, mechanical and industrial engineering, “Novel Catalysts for Syngas Production by CO2 Reduction”

• Ying Liu, assistant professor of chemical engineering, “Scalable Process for Manufacturing Nanoparticles Encapsulating Hydrophobic Compounds”

• Nadim Mahmud, associate professor of hematology/oncology and director of the Clinical Stem Cell Laboratory, and Shrihari Kadkol, associate professor of pathology, “Expanded Cord Blood as an Off-the-Shelf Bridge Graft to Augment Blood Cell Numbers”

John Hetling, associate professor of bioengineering, and Jason McAnany, assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, “Detecting Glaucoma Where it Starts”

• Sandeep Jain, assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, “New Drug for Treating Dry Eye Disease – Phase I/II Human Trial.”

Oct. 3 is the deadline for pre-proposal applications for the second round of Proof of Concept Awards.

The UIC Chancellor’s Innovation Fund is supported by the Office of the Chancellor, IllinoisVENTURES, the Office of Technology Management and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

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