Auburn researchers receive LAUNCH funding to move ideas into the marketplace

Published: April 06, 2018
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Auburn University researchers are working to transform their best ideas into products and services that benefit society and impact the economy of the state and nation—and three new projects have been awarded special funding to help move them into the marketplace.

Auburn’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development recognized their potential April 4 during a competition for funding from the university’s LAUNCH: The Fund for Research and Innovation.

The researchers will receive cash stipends from a pool of approximately $100,000 toward the commercialization of their work. They are:

  • Barry Yeh and Tareq Anani, recent doctoral graduates in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, along with Professor Allan David. Project: “Gadolinium free MRI and MRA contrast agents,” a new technology they developed that could provide increased patient safety. Contrast MRI and MRA are powerful, non-invasive biomedical imaging techniques for diagnosis of disease. Initially, they were thought to be safe, but this has come into question by the FDA.

  • Peter Panizzi, associate professor in the Department of Drug Discovery and Development, Harrison School of Pharmacy. Project: “Clot-in-a-Can,” a new class of hemostatic agents that can be used to stop bleeding in patients after acute trauma or severe burns. It also could be used to stop bleeding in cattle during dehorning. His research indicates an agent produced by staph bacteria will cause immediate blood clotting.

  • Michael Knotts, graduate research assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. Project: “Induction Extrusion/Pultrusion 3D Printer,” which uses induction heating to create heat in a magnetic nozzle and melt metal fed into it. The printer would be used in additive manufacturing to allow metals other than aluminum to be printed and at a lower cost.

“LAUNCH is an excellent mechanism for helping move research into the marketplace and for developing products that will help move our nation’s economy forward,” said John Mason, vice president for research and economic development. “Auburn researchers are developing real-world solutions to complex issues.”

The endowed fund was conceived in 2015 by the Auburn University Research Advisory Board with support from Mason. The goal is to fund an endowment of $10 million that will generate $400,000 annually for research grants. Until it is fully funded, the research office is providing the awards.

As LAUNCH award recipients, the researchers will have the opportunity to meet with experts in entrepreneurship from Auburn’s Harbert College of Business and with the members of the Innovation Advancement and Commercialization Office to develop the plans for commercial success. Teams of MBA students will be assigned to the projects to carry out market research, providing opportunities and a real-world learning experience.

Researchers may also be partnered with Auburn alumni and friends with extensive experience in industries related to the projects. More information on LAUNCH is available online.