OTC News Archive

UT System awards new round of commercialization grants

UT System News Release
January 12, 2010

The University of Texas System today announced awards totaling $394,000 to commercialize technologies developed at eight UT System institutions.

Among the discoveries is a wireless device produced by researchers at UT San Antonio that monitors breathing, which could be used for SIDS, epilepsy, and sleep apnea patients. Another discovery, made by researchers at the UT Health Science Center at Houston, could lead to the development of a test using salivary biomarkers for the early detection of breast cancer. A complete list of the awards may be found below:

Round 5 Grant Awardees

Institution Title Principal Investigator(s) Synopsis
UT Arlington Unpowered wireless ultrasound sensing system Huang, Haiying Researchers at UT Arlington have developed a wireless sensor system that transmits ultrasonic waves using unpowered microwave components. The sensor could replace existing wired ultrasound sensors used in the aerospace industry, chemical plants, and manufacturing facilities for monitoring and inspection purposes.
UT Austin Computer-Aided Detection of Breast Cancer Markey, M.K.;
Bovik, A. C.
Researchers at UT Austin have developed a computer-aided system to improve the accuracy of breast cancer detection on mammograms. The technology could lead to earlier diagnosis of breast cancer, improving treatment options and increasing the survival rate.
UT Dallas Improved SPECT Medical Imaging Chaney, Roy C. Researchers at UT Dallas have developed a patented method of improving gamma ray medical imaging, a cost-effective and widely adopted functional imaging technology.
UT El Paso Bio-Inspired Heavy Petroleum Upgrading Process Chianelli, R.R. Researchers at UT El Paso have developed a novel process to upgrade heavy petroleum materials to clean transportation fuels at low temperatures and at atmospheric pressure. The result substantially increases available transportation fuels in the United States at a lower cost.
UT Pan American 3D Photonic Crystal Phase Mask Fabrication Lin, Y. Researchers at UT Pan American have developed a more precise, simpler, and cheaper fabrication method for photonic crystals used in semiconductors.
UT San Antonio SIDS Baby Guardian Ayon, A.A. Researchers at UT San Antonio have developed a device to detect, monitor, and display breathing rates wirelessly. The device has applications for medical conditions such as SIDS, epilepsy, and sleep apnea.
UT Medical Branch Galveston Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Godley, B. F. Researchers at UT Medical Branch have developed a technology that provides a non-invasive method using light and drug reservoir devices to introduce drugs into the eye without the use of needles. The system is safer and less expensive than ocular drug administration by needle injection.
UT Health Science Center–Houston Salivary Breast Cancer Detection Platform Streckfus, C. Researchers at UT Health Science Center at Houston have discovered salivary biomarkers for the early detection of breast cancer. The test could assist in clinical decision making and reduce incorrect conclusions based on mammographic imaging.

The discoveries were among six developed at academic institutions and two at health institutions within the UT System, and represent the fifth round of projects that received funding from the System’s $2 million Texas Ignition Fund (TIF). The fund was created by the UT System Board of Regents in 2007 to help speed the commercialization of discoveries made at campus laboratories and move them into the marketplace.

Grants awarded in the latest round ranged from $44,000 to $50,000.

“The TIF program is outstanding not only because it hastens discovery and invention, but because it leads to the creation of products that enhance the quality of life for humanity, as clearly evidenced by the many proposals that have merited grant funding over the past two years,” said Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarria, M.D.

The TIF fund was authorized to address the challenge that research discoveries and inventions at UT institutions often require additional funding to develop product applications that can attract investor capital to achieve their commercial potential. TIF funds are used primarily for personnel, equipment, supplies, instrument use fees, market analyses, and business plans.

Including the most recent awards, the UT System’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer (RTT) and the Ignition Fund Advisory Board (IFAB) have approved nearly $2 million in TIF program funds for 45 projects at 13 System institutions.

“In less than two years the TIF has had a dramatic impact all over Texas, as UT institutions from El Paso, Tyler, Edinburg, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin are launching new companies with breakthrough innovations,” said Cathy Swain, UT System’s assistant vice chancellor for commercial development. “Furthermore, Proof of Concept funding nationally over the past five years tells a compelling success story of accelerating commercialization of university research. We at UT System are delighted to contribute to these outcomes.”

The TIF program is administered by the UT System’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer, whose charge is to develop and implement strategies to expand and enhance research and commercialization activities at UT System institutions.