SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

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Innovation Fund Boosts Commercialization of Purdue Technologies

Purdue University innovations in research areas including personal health monitoring, advanced diabetes treatment and energy-efficient metal sheet processing, received more than $260,000 in the most recent round of awards through the Trask Innovation Fund.

The Purdue Research Foundation-managed Trask Innovation Fund is a technology development program to assist faculty who have disclosed a discovery to the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.

"The Trask Innovation Fund provides critical financial support to Purdue researchers who have patented a technology but need to develop a prototype or finalize research data that supports the discovery’s move to the public," said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation.

The 10-member Trask Innovation Advisory Council is composed of external business executives and representatives from the Purdue Research Foundation, Purdue University Office of the Vice President for Research and Purdue faculty researchers.

"The process is competitive and the recipients must demonstrate how the discovery will meet a public need, how soon the technology can be commercialized, and how the Trask funds will help the researcher advance its development," said Richard O. Buckius, Purdue's vice president for research and co-director of the Trask Advisory Council.

Project managers from the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization collaborate with Purdue researchers to move their discoveries through the patent and commercialization process.

"One of our primary goals is to encourage and support the development of new products that have commercial potential," said Elizabeth Hart-Wells, assistant vice president of the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization and co-director of the Trask Advisory Council. "Each of our project managers is specialized in a specific discipline, and they work directly with researchers to protect Purdue’s intellectual property, and to translate and ultimately license a new technology to appropriate industry partners."

The researchers, projects and award amounts for this round of Trask funding are:

* Paul Collodi, professor, and Ten-Tsao Wong, research associate, both in the Purdue Department of Animal Sciences, "Large-scale Production of Infertile Fish for Aquaculture and the Pet Industry," $44,233. The innovation could improve production of large aquaculture operations by preventing the release of farmed fish into the environment and the spread of invasive species. The funding will focus on how well the innovation can be applied to large-scale commercial hatchery operations.

* Edward J. Delp, professor in the Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Carol Boushey, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, "TADA Commercialization," $32,944. The product could help individuals collect nutritional consumption data through the mobile phone tool "Technology Assisted Dietary Assessment" or TADA. The innovation enables users to take photos of food and receive estimates of the nutrient content through their mobile phone.

* Alyssa Panitch, associate head and professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, "Development of Proteoglycans for Treatment of Osteoarthritis," $45,203. The project is designed to suppress arthritic cartilage loss as a treatment for osteoarthritis.

* Y. Charlie Hu, professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, "Critical Prototype Development of Eprof: Fine-Grained Smartphone," $50,000. The innovation could enable the development of energy-efficient apps for energy-constrained mobile devices such as smartphones.

* Jenna L. Rickus, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, "In Vivo Assessment of Biosilica Coated Cells," $50,000. The innovation could improve therapies for diseases such as Type 1 diabetes by improving the outcomes of islet transplantation and providing new methods for testing drug therapies for use by the pharmaceutical industry.

* Kevin P. Trumble, professor in the School of Materials Engineering; Srinivasan Chandrasekar, professor, School of Industrial Engineering; and Mert Efe, post-doctoral fellow, School of Materials Engineering. "Scale-up of LSEM: A Low-cost and Energy-efficient Manufacturing Process for Metal Sheets and Strips," $37,950. Large Strain Extrusion Machining (LSEM) is a patented manufacturing process capable of producing metal strips of industry standard thicknesses and lengths in a single step that reduces initial capital investments by up to 60 percent and reduces production costs by 20 percent over current technologies. The project will develop a prototype of the innovation and collect commercially relevant data.

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