Purdue researchers receive funding for diabetes treatment, explosives sensors, erasable ink

August 31, 2015  

Rhoads sensor

The portable, integrated, microscale sensor developed by Purdue mechanical engineering professors Jeffrey Rhoads and George Chiu detects compounds and allows users to set the threshold required to signal a detection. The sensor project is one of three by Purdue researchers that received funding from the Purdue Research Foundation-managed Trask Innovation Fund. (Photo provided)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University researchers in the College of Agriculture and College of Engineering received almost $135,000 from the Trask Innovation Fund to develop their work for commercialization.

Bryan Boudouris, assistant professor of chemical engineering, received $40,149 for his project "Engineering a time-dependent erasable ink and delivery vessel for high-value testing." The technology could ensure that answers made on bubble sheet, or Scantron-brand, test forms are recorded properly and not changed after the test concludes.

"We have a solvent, graphite and a polymer in the vessel, which feels similar to a No. 2 pencil. The graphite marks the test form and the polymer slowly starts to harden over time and creates a coating around the mark. Once it hardens, erasers cannot remove the mark," he said. "Since the Trask funding was awarded, the design of the delivery device has been modified to make it user friendly. The funding allows us to have proof of manufacturability and to make inroads with companies that will decide whether to purchase it."

Jeffrey Rhoads, associate professor of mechanical engineering, received $50,000 for the project "Portable, integrated, microscale sensors (PIMS) for explosives detection." George Chiu, professor of mechanical engineering, is the co-principal investigator. The technology could be used in security, industrial hygiene, food safety and medical applications.

"We've simplified the detection of compounds by focusing only on whether a compound is detected, rather than also detecting how much is present. We also can minimize false positive readings by setting the threshold of what makes the signal," Rhoads said. "The Trask funding is helping us make the case that the sensors can work in operational environments as well as in laboratories. We've made a mock baggage screening center to run luggage, sometimes with explosives inside, to test if the sensors can detect them. This moves the technology farther down the transition pathway so someone else can commercialize it."

A video about the PIMS technology is available at http://youtu.be/sqkFYZR8D6s.

Jenna Rickus, professor of agricultural and biological engineering and biomedical engineering, and Sherry Harbin, professor of biomedical engineering, received $43,629 for their project "Biosilica-islets 2.0: Biosilification of therapeutic stem cells to treat type I diabetes." The technology could enable cell transplants as a treatment for patients affected by Type 1 diabetes.

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

The next deadline for Purdue faculty and staff to submit proposals for Trask Innovation Fund awards is 5 p.m. Sept. 25. Information about submissions is available at http://otc-prf.org/trask-innovation-fund.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation 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 from the National Business Incubation 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 foundry@prf.org. 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org

Source: Brooke Beier, 765-588-3464, blbeier@prf.org 

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