The 2019 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund at North Carolina State University is awarding grants to researchers tackling everything from blood-clotting nanomaterials and canine cancer vaccines to more efficient electric vehicle chargers.

Established in 2010, the Fund is intended to help fill the gap between public and private funding. In the past eight years, it has awarded $2.6 million to 40 projects that have attracted more than $33 million in follow-on research funding. The awards help researchers invest in proof -of-concept testing and prototyping.

“The Chancellor’s Innovation Fund has proven one of NC State’s most successful mechanisms to enable and catalyze researchers who are thinking about commercializing their research,” said Wade Fulghum, interim executive director of NC State’s Office of Technology Commercialization and New Ventures, which helps researchers get their discoveries and technologies into the right hands. “The selection process is ultra-competitive.”

Recipients for 2019:

  • Ashley Brown working in her lab. NCSU photo.

    Ashley Brown, assistant professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, has developed microgel-based materials that mimic blood platelets in her Advanced Wound Healing Lab at NC State. They mimic the body’s natural clotting abilities and may help regenerate tissue and deliver targeted antimicrobial agents. The Fund award will enable studies to evaluate its safety and efficacy.

  • Jose Bruno-Barcena, associate professor of microbiology in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology has developed a new method for the production of the prebiotic N-Acetyllactosamine that is cost-effective. This prebiotic has applications in the burgeoning baby-formula market as an additive. Such compounds can normally be expensive, increasing the cost of food that contains them.
  • Michael Daniele, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and in Biomedical Engineering, has developed microneedle patches for biofluid extraction. While many diagnostic tests use blood, interstitial fluid, or ISF, has many of the same compound. Current ISF sampling methods are painful and risk infection. Daniele developed microneedles made with nanomaterials that make drawing ISF painless and easy –processes that may lead to do-it-yourself diagnostics.
  • NCSU photo.

    Paul Hess, associate professor of oncology and immunology in the Department of Clinical Sciences, has developed a potentially groundbreaking cancer vaccine for dogs. Cancer is the leading disease-cause of death in dogs in the U.S, with 4 million diagnosed annually. The vaccine Hess developed would be a cheaper and less toxic treatment than chemotherapy. The Fund will support a clinical trial of the vaccine in dogs with canine lymphoma.

  • Srdjan Lukic and Srdjan Srdic, associate and research assistant professors, respectively, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have developed a prototype fast charger for electric vehicles that is cheaper to install and operate than existing charger stations. It also has a smaller footprint and higher charging efficiency. The Fund will support developing a prototype for industry testing.

Based on the reporting of Elizabeth Beal of NCSU.