USF Research & Innovation and the Florida High Tech Corridor are partnering to provide $75,000 to support the advancement of technologies developed by USF researchers.
USF Research & Innovation and the Florida High Tech Corridor are partnering to provide $75,000 to support the advancement of technologies developed by USF researchers. The second round of seed funding will support three projects from across the university:
- An advanced atomic clock with critical applications in defense, navigation, automotive, and other key sectors
- A novel process to transform food and gas waste to the building blocks of plastics and rubber
- A promising therapeutic to prevent early risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
The awarded projects below are led by faculty from the College of Engineering, College of Arts & Science, and Morsani College of Medicine.
Denis Karaiskaj: Silicon Based Chip Size Atomic Clocks
College of Arts & Sciences, Dept. of Physics
Atomic clock devices are very precise time keeping units that far exceed the accuracy of conventional clocks. They have critical applications in defense, navigation, automotive, and other key sectors. Current atomic clocks utilize the properties of atomic gases to function. The goal of this project is to refine and build a prototype clock based on impurity atoms that naturally occur in silicon. A silicon-based clock would lead to much smaller and lighter clock devices, which consume less power and are more easily integrated in existing electronics. This technology would have the potential to replace the existing technology for chip-scale atomic clocks.
John Kuhn: Low Cost Heterogeneous Catalysts for Light Olefin Production via Waste
College of Engineering, Dept. of Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering
Light olefins, like ethylene and propylene, are the building blocks to many common materials in today’s world including plastics and rubber. These building blocks are currently produced almost exclusively from fossils fuels like natural gas and crude oil resulting in a high CO2 footprint. As the US moves toward its long-term carbon reduction goals, decarbonizing the industrial and manufacturing sectors is key. In this project, the team aims to produce these building blocks from waste materials such as food waste and effluent waste gases rather than fossil fuels. This project will build on promising preliminary results to redesign currently established industrial reactions making them climate-sustainable while maintaining the necessary quality of the output materials.
Niketa A. Patel: RNA-targeting Therapeutic in Neurodegenerative Diseases
Morsani College of Medicine, Dept. of Molecular Medicine
Collaborator - Jianfeng Cai, College of Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Chemistry
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) affect more than 6 million people in US and nearly 40% of individuals aged 85 and older. It is now recognized that targeting modifiable early risk factors could prevent about one-third of new cases by 2050. The team has identified an early determinant gene that is reduced in aging brains and Alzheimer’s patients. This gene is a viable target to prevent or halt the ascent of ADRD. In turn, the team has developed a targeted therapeutic that stabilizes the level of this gene. This project will support crucial, pre-clinical research to better understand and validate the proposed therapeutic. This data will lay the groundwork for industry collaboration and promote development of this therapeutic to potentially disrupt ADRD advent.
This funding is part of the Corridor Early-Stage Innovation Fund, a program first launched in fall 2022 to support early-stage, applied research with significant commercial potential. Awards made through the inaugural round in February 2023 focused on AI-based tools for stroke patients and aging populations and new engineering methods to improve the safety critical infrastructure like aircraft, military equipment and bridges. To date, past recipients have leveraged funding to launch a start-up company and apply for additional federal funding.
Details on previous awards can be found at: USF Research & Innovation and the Florida High Tech Corridor partner to fund Early-Stage Innovation Awards.
Timing for future rounds of the Corridor Early-Stage Innovation Fund will be announced in Fall 2023. For more information, visit www.usf.edu/corridor.