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February 16, 2011

Inaugural Technology Development awards go to vaccine, fuel cell projects

Fund aims to help University scientists advance technologies closer to stage where they can be transferred to market

Research in vaccine development and fuel cell production are the first two projects to be funded under the University’s new Technology Development Fund. The fund was created last year to provide grants to University scientists to help them advance a technology closer to the stage where it can be transferred to the market.

Jacob Schlesinger, a professor emeritus in the Department of Medicine, has been awarded $100,000 to continue to design and test a vaccine for dengue fever, a disease primarily found in the developing world and one that has so far eluded efforts to develop a vaccine. Schlesinger’s research in this area has received support from the Gates Foundation and the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative.

Hong Yang, an associate professor of chemical engineering, has been awarded $60,000 to produce and test a novel catalyst for fuel cells. The catalyst, which is constructed of nano-materials, has the potential to increase effectiveness and reduce cost of the hydrogen and methanol fuel cells.

The Technology Development Fund solicits proposals twice a year. Qualified applicants include University faculty, students, or staff who have submitted an invention disclosure to one of the University’s Offices of Technology Transfer.

Proposals are reviewed by a screening committee of external professionals, including members of the commercial sector, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, scientists, and angel investors, who will identify scientific objectives that, with additional support, have a strong commercial potential. Awards range from $40,000 to $100,000.

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