Inside UMass reports that three research projects at UMass Amherst, all awarded to engineering researchers, are among 13 at colleges and universities across the state sharing $195,000 in seed funding from the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) Acorn Innovation Fund. The seed grants are for $15,000 apiece. See entire article: Faculty Receive Seed Funding as Part of MTTC Acorn Innovation Fund.
The Acorn-funded engineering professors were Byung H. Kim and Yubing Sun from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, Blair Perot from the MIE department, and Caitlyn S. Butler and Symeon Gerasimidis from the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department.
MIE researchers Kim and Sun received a grant for a project titled “A SERS-based immunoassay for cancer biomarkers detection.” Kim and Sun have developed a novel SERS-based antigen detection system that can quantify the concentration of biomarker with ultra-high sensitivity, reproducibility, and low cost. With Acorn funding, Kim and Sun hope to improve the technology so that it can be used to detect cancers in their early stage and thus increase the survival rate of patients. The funding allows them to test their technique to detect four different type of cancers: lung, liver, ovarian, and pancreatic.
MIE’s Blair Perot has received a grant for a project called “Wind turbine power augmenter.” This device increases the power of wind turbines, especially when they are located near each other. The Acorn seed grant will be used to perform wind tunnel demonstrations of the effectiveness of the technology.
CEE collaborators Butler and Gerasimidis received funding for “3D printed biomimetic biofilm supports for treatment systems.” Adoption of large-scale biofilm treatment systems is increasing because they are physiologically robust and intensify conventional suspended growth treatment. With the support of the ACORN funds, the team will design 3D-printed microtrusses to emulate the mechanical properties of biofilm, creating a low-density, high-strength biofilm support that could retrofit and improve existing infrastructure by increasing longevity, promoting diffusion through biofilms, and resisting the predation of those biofilms.
The MTTC Acorn Awards are funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, overseen by MTTC, and hosted at the UMass President’s Office.
“These awards help bring promising research to market for the benefit of the Commonwealth, which is central to our economic development mission,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. (February 2019)