Harbert Institute funding 11 faculty, staff projects with high commercial potential

Written by 

By Briana Bryant

rep hiie grants 550pxThe Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has invested more than $300,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies program to support proof-of-concept and early-stage product development at UAB.

The Anvil Student Startup Bootcamp has facilitated the launch of 22 new student ventures, which together support 16 local full-time jobs and have generated $2.1 million in sales, raised $1.1 million in capital and garnered an additional $1.29 million from grants and pitch competitions.

Earlier this year, the Harbert Institute solicited applications from faculty, staff and student innovators across campus for funding awards from $10,000 to $50,000. The application process required researchers to submit a proposed product-development or business plan. Applicants seeking more than $10,000 also presented a pitch deck to demonstrate project elements such as clinical readiness, potential for regulatory approval, intellectual property protection and project sustainability.

“We’re working to address a critical period in the development process between research and commercialization. Injecting capital into research projects with commercial potential at this early stage helps bridge the valley of death and advance UAB technologies through the pipeline.”

“We’re working to address a critical period in the development process between research and commercialization,” said Kathy Nugent, Ph.D., executive director of the Harbert Institute. “Injecting capital into research projects with commercial potential at this early stage helps bridge the valley of death” that can swallow projects that fail to attract funding “and advance UAB technologies through the pipeline,” Nugent said.

rep hiie kyle wood 250pxKyle Wood, M.D., is developing an ergonomic assistant for surgeons during endoscopic procedures.The Harbert Institute received applications from investigators across campus and funded 11 early-stage projects with high commercial potential. These projects represent the schools of Medicine, Health Professions and Engineering, the College of Arts and Sciences and UAB Athletics.

Regional Innovation Strategies funding through the Harbert Institute will in most cases be used to develop prototypes or enable further design and testing. Kyle Wood, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Urology, is working with co-inventor Andres Morales, Ph.D., to develop ScopeAssist. The device is designed to protect expensive digital, video or fiberoptic endoscopes while also improving maneuverability and improved ergonomics for surgeons.

“Thanks to the grant support, ScopeAssist can be taken from idea to a fully functional device,” Wood said. “My hope is the device will be the ergonomic assistant that is so greatly needed and allow for improved care for our patients during endoscopic procedures.”

Project award recipients

All Inclusive Sport Event Application
Principal investigator: Kris Hazard, assistant men’s soccer coach, UAB Athletics

Optimization of Vaccine Adjuvant Production
Principal investigator: Pengfei Wang, Ph.D., professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences

Research Macro: A Research and Research Participant Journey
Principal investigator: Mohanraj Thirumalai, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Health Services Administration, School of Health Professions

Principal investigator: Kyle Wood, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Urology, School of Medicine

Therapeutics Targeting COVID-19
Principal investigator: G.M. Anantharamaiah, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Department of Medicine

Portable Nitric Oxide Generating Drug Device to Treat Pulmonary Hypertension
Principal investigator: Nagababu Enika, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, School of Medicine

Coil Wire for Intravascular Navigation
Principal investigator: Jesse Jones, M.D., assistant professor, departments of Neurosurgery and Radiology, School of Medicine

Custom Hierarchical Image Processing Software (CHIPS)
Principal investigator: Massimo Fazio, Ph.D., associate professor, departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, schools of Medicine and Engineering

Principal investigator: David Askenazi, MD, professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine

Patient Directed Intervention to Decrease Exposure to Aerosolized Particles
Principal investigator: Gregory Kennedy, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Department of Surgery

Offloading Boot: A Better Total Contact Cast
Principal investigator: Kenneth Unger, DPM, clinical assistant professor, Department of Surgery