Three Purdue researchers receive almost $150,000 from Trask Innovation Fund

June 4, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue researchers in the College of Agriculture, College of Engineering and College of Veterinary Medicine received almost $150,000 from the Trask Innovation Fund to develop their work.

The Purdue Research Foundation-managed Trask Innovation Fund is a development program to assist faculty and staff whose discoveries are being commercialized through the Office of Technology Commercialization.

Steve Weller, professor of horticulture, College of Agriculture, and his collaborators Michael Gribskov of biology and Burkhard Schulz of botany received $50,000 to support "Diagnostic Tools for Detection of Glyphosate Resistance in Giant Ragweed." The technology could provide information to farmers and growers to improve their herbicide selection for weed management of glyphosate-resistant weeds in glyphosate-resistant cropping systems during the planting season.

"Our research is seeking to develop a quick diagnostic tool that will inform a farmer whether glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed exists in their fields, and allows them to design and apply the proper herbicide mixtures so these weeds do not cause major crop yield losses," he said. "Our tool will not require prior application of glyphosate before the test is completed. This is a great improvement compared to other current diagnostic tools in development. We hope to expand this technology to other glyphosate-resistant weeds."

Ag Alumni Seed Improvement Association Inc., a 501(c)5 not-for-profit corporation, will award an additional $10,000 to Weller and his team to develop their diagnostic tool. Projects from the College of Agriculture that receive Trask awards have had the opportunity to receive funding from the Romney, Indiana-based organization since fall 2013.

"The Ag Alumni Seed Improvement Association was founded in 1938 as an offshoot of the Purdue Ag Alumni Association because state agricultural leaders and Purdue alumni wanted to ensure new and improved seeds released by universities would be readily available to farmers. Our mission is to provide value to agriculture and Purdue University through seed," said Jay Hulbert, president and CEO. "Over the past 10 years we have sent Purdue more than $2 million in the form of royalties and direct, unrestricted donations to various research programs. We are working with the College of Agriculture and Purdue Research Foundation on providing additional direct support to assist in commercializing ag research."

The other researchers, projects and award amounts for the spring 2014 round of funding are:

* "Disease-on-a-chip for Improving the Design and Screening of Anticancer Therapies," Sophie Lelièvre, associate professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, $48,563. This technology could provide a better prediction for how a drug will behave in the body prior to being used in other costly models.

* "Prototyping Compact and Automated Mesoscopic Imager for Clinical Studies," Young Kim, associate professor, College of Engineering, $50,000. The technology could predict where skin cancer will develop on a patient and outlines the corresponding tumor margins in real time for treatment.

The next Trask Innovation Fund proposal submissions from Purdue faculty and staff will be due this autumn. Information about submissions is available at

About Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year by the National Business Incubator Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342,

Source: Brooke Beier, 765-588-3464,

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