UT Research Foundation Announces Maturation Fund Recipients for 2018

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UTHSC affiliates were among the recipients of The University of Tennessee Research Foundation’s 2018 Maturation Funding (Photo provided by The University of Tennessee Research Foundation)

Improved poultry feeders, treatments for ophthalmic and renal diseases, human and veterinary diagnostic tests, and a novel treatment for canine infections are among the recipients of this year’s maturation funding from the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF).

Four teams affiliated with  the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) received funding. They are:

• Monica Jablonski, PhD, UTHSC professor of Ophthalmology; and Mohamed Moustafa, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Ophthalmology, for “Extended Release Formulation of a New Glaucoma Therapy”
• Hao Chen, PhD, assistant professor in the UTHSC Department of Pharmacology, for “YoRodents: Applying Artificial Intelligence to Analyze Rodent Social Behavior”
• L. Darryl Quarles, MD, professor and division chief of Medicine-Nephrology and Zhousheng Xiao PhD, associate priofessor in the division of Medicine-Nephrology at UTHSC, for “Novel FGF-23 Inhibitors to Treat Disorders of FGF-23 Excess”
• Mark Lister, student, UT Martin, Engineering and Robert LeMaster, PhD, PE, professor of Engineering at UT Martin, for “Supplemental Tube Feeder”

Technologies invented at the University of Tennessee, like the majority of university discoveries, typically require additional development to attract commercial interest. UTRF awards grants each year through its annual Maturation Funding Program to help researchers advance new technologies on the path to market.

This year, UTRF was fortunate to receive 34 strong applications and is awarding eight groups of faculty inventors. Each team received up to $15,000 to further develop their technology and answer important commercialization questions.

“Every year, UTRF looks forward to awarding maturation grants to University of Tennessee researchers from across the state so they can further advance new technologies and bring those innovations closer to the commercial marketplace,” said Stacey Patterson, UTRF president and UT vice president of Research, Outreach, and Economic Development. “This year’s eight awards represent the many ways in which the University of Tennessee research enterprise can improve the quality of our lives and create economic opportunity.”
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Other recipients included:
• Ky Pohler, PhD, assistant professor, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA), Animal Science; Jayne Wu, associate professor , Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UT-Knoxville and Shigetoshi Eda, PhD, UTIA, professor in Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, for “Development of On-Site Diagnostic Devices for Early Pregnancy Detection in Cattle Using Micro RNA”
• Emily Martin, PhD, assistant professor at the UT Graduate School of Medicine (UTGSM), Department of Medicine, and Jonathan Wall, PhD, UTGSM professor in the Department of Medicine, for “Amyloid Risk Assessment to Determine Patient Management”
• Theresa Abrams, assistant professor in the College of Social Work, UT- Knoxville for “Burn Victim Application”
• Stephen Kania, PhD, professor of Genome Science and Technology at UTIA,  David A. Bemis, PhD, professor and director of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences at UTIA; and Linda A. Frank MS, DVM, DACVD, professor of Dermatology UTIA , Small Animal Clinical Sciences, for “Clinical Trial of Virulence Factor Vaccine for Staphylococcus pseudintermedius Canine Pyoderma”

The UTRF Maturation Funding Program is open to all University of Tennessee campuses and institutes. The selection process included evaluation of three key areas: demonstration of a path for commercial development, market potential, and stage of development. As part of the award process, UTRF will receive interim and final reports from the researchers that will describe increased knowledge and improvements in the subject technology. This information is expected to assist UTRF in better positioning the technologies for licensing. Since its inception in 2007, the program has awarded nearly $1.2M to 78 UT technologies. Of those technologies, 30 have resulted in at least one commercial license.

UTRF is a not-for-profit organization responsible for commercializing and licensing technology discovered by faculty, staff, and students across the UT System. In FY2017, UTRF executed 16 commercial licenses, established start two startup companies and received 166 invention disclosures.
A call for submissions for next year’s Maturation Funding Program will be announced in the fall of 2018. For more details on the program and past winners, visit http://utrf.tennessee.edu.

For more information, please contact UTRF Marketing at utrf@tennessee.edu.