Purdue innovation fund awards nearly $500,000 for research in diabetes, concussions, cancer and 7 other projects

March 15, 2012

 WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue researchers studying diabetes treatments, concussion-mitigation, cancer therapies and seven other discoveries received nearly $500,000 in the most recent rounds of awards through the Trask Innovation Fund.

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

"The Trask Innovation Fund is an important resource for Purdue researchers who are in the final stages of moving a discovery to the market but need short-term funding to finalize the research they have already conducted," said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation. "The Trask fund can be used to develop a prototype or compile data that demonstrates the commercial strength of an invention that makes a technology more marketable."

Elizabeth Hart-Wells, assistant vice president and director of the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, said Trask fund recipients came from various disciplines across the Purdue campus.

"The faculty from the colleges of science, engineering, agriculture, pharmacy and other areas are represented in this round of Trask awards," Hart-Wells said. "Purdue is a recognized international leader for education and research, and we are constantly looking for strong ways to support and commercialize the important discoveries being developed at Purdue."    

The researchers, projects and award amounts are:

* Jenna Rickus, agriculture and biomedical engineering associate professor, "BioShell Islets to Treat Type I Diabetes," $50,000. The project is designed to help reinstate normal glucose control in Type 1 diabetes patients.

* David Nolte, physics professor, "Tissue Dynamics Spectroscopy for Drug Discovery," $46,669. Nolte's research is to develop a technology to enhance the pharmaceutical industry's early drug discovery capabilities. Funding will support a low-cost prototype and technology testing.

* Eric Nauman, mechanical engineering associate professor, "Evaluation of a Multiscale Polymer-based Armor for the Dissipation of Blast Waves," $50,000. Nauman's research goal is to mitigate concussion injuries for soldiers, athletes and others. The funding will be used to expand mechanical testing costs and blast testing supplies.

* Douglas Adams, Kenninger Professor of Renewable Energy and Power Systems, "Minimal Sensing Impact Identification for Helmet Load Monitoring," $50,000. The project's goals are to create an integrated system that would monitor an individual's helmet for impact and estimate the location and magnitude of those impacts. Funding will be applied for a prototype helmet transmitting acceleration device that signals wirelessly to a laptop computer.

* Catherine Hill, associate professor of entomology, "New Chemical Entities for Novel Insecticides," $45,000. Project's goals are to develop insecticides to address the need for new public health pesticides directed against mosquitoes and tick vectors of diseases such as malaria and Lyme.

* Paul Collodi, animal sciences professor, "Large-scale Production of Non-fertile Fish for Aquaculture and the Pet Industry," $46,870. Project's goal is to increase populations of non-fertile fish.

* Kevin Trumble, materials engineering professor, "Reducing to Practice the Proposed Invention, Copper-based Casting Alloys and Process for Producing the Same," $26,533. The project's goal is to further develop a class of lead-free, copper-based metals for plumbing castings.

* Yoon Yeo, industrial and physical pharmacy assistant professor, "Development of Membrane Filters for Endotoxin Removal," $45,000. Project's goal is to develop a cellulose filter paper that removes endotoxin from protein solution or blood. Endotoxin in blood circulation can cause a strong immune response, which can result in fatal outcomes.

* Richard Borch, Lilly Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, "Immune Response Enhancement Using Linker-Modified Proteins," $44,829. Project's goal is improved cancer treatment and prevention.

* Riyi Shi, professor of neurosciences and biomedical engineering, "Acrolein-mediated Neuropathic Pain and its Treatment in Spinal Cord Injury," $36,779. Project's goal is to develop a pain therapy for spinal cord injuries.

"Recipients of the Trask fund are faculty researchers who have submitted a proposal to the Trask Innovation Fund Advisory Council," said Richard O. Buckius, Purdue's vice president for research and a member of the Trask advisory council. "There were many outstanding faculty proposals and the selection process is competitive. The council awards Trask funding twice a year."

The 10-member Trask Advisory Council is comprised of representatives from Purdue Research Foundation, Purdue University Office of the Vice President for Research, Purdue faculty and the local business community.  

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 United States. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities.

Contact: Cynthia Sequin, Purdue Research Foundation, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org

Sources: Joseph B. Hornett, 765-588-1040, jbhornett@prf.org

                  Richard Buckius, 765-494-3342, rbuckius@purdue.edu

                  Elizabeth Hart-Wells, 765-588-3473, eahart-wells@prf.org