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Two Engineering Professors Among Those Selected for Proof of Concept Fund Awards

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas continues to move research discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. As part of this effort, four inventions that are near the commercialization stage have been awarded up to $50,000 each through the university’s Proof of Concept (POC) Fund.

This is the third year for the fund, which is administered by KU Innovation and Collaboration, the university’s bicampus technology commercialization office. Awards support research and development for up to one year in any area of innovation and technology, including electronics, software, communications, life sciences and engineering. 

During that time, the inventor works to make the technology more attractive for licensing. Funded projects require patent protection and a clearly identified commercial product or method.

“Our goal is to identify technologies with commercial potential and translate them to companies to create products,” said Julie Nagel, interim associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship. “We have a number of highly promising technologies in our portfolio, so it’s a highly competitive process. The Proof of Concept Fund provides funds to develop these technologies further to attract attention of companies.”

The four KU technologies and inventors receiving awards for 2015-16:

  • “Low Impedance Piezoelectric Composites for Long Bone Reconstruction Implants"

Lisa Friis, mechanical engineering, and Paul Arnold, neurosurgery, KU Medical Center. The invention uses direct current electrical stimulation to accelerate bone fusion and healing. A recent pilot study using sheep was successful. The POC award will be used to improve manufacturing methods and help identify other targeted orthopedic applications.

  • “NanoTor”

Laird Forrest, pharmaceutical chemistry. The invention, nano-hyaluronan rapamycin (NanoTor), targets breast cancer stem cells and delivers an anticancer agent with unique efficacy. These cells resist conventional chemotherapy and radiation, which causes recurrence after treatment. NanoTor treats tumors and also prevents metastasis. The POC award will support additional research and development.

  • “Multichannel Sense-and-Avoid Radar for Small UAVs”

Christopher Allen, electrical engineering and computer science. The invention is a miniature radar-based device for use in unmanned aerial vehicles and designed to prevent airborne collisions. The POC award will be used to overcome hardware limitations, such as processing power and detection range, and support continuing commercialization development.

  • “Wound Closure Device for High-Tension Wounds”

Stephen Waller, infectious diseases, KU Medical Center. The invention uses anchored, adjustable wires attached adhesively to the skin to close large wounds. This reduces the risk of the wound re-opening. It also promotes healing and reduces surgical scarring. The POC award will support the development of research and pre-production prototypes and testing.

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