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Three start-ups receive BRAG grants to commercialize new inventions and antibiotics


iNur Technologies LLC is creating an artificial intelligence communication assistant to aid stroke survivors with communication difficulties, enhancing their ability to engage in meaningful conversations through advanced natural language processing. This innovation aims to reduce social isolation and holds potential for broader applications.

An AI-driven technology that can improve communication abilities for individuals with speech or language impairments, including stroke victims’ speech, a new surface coating that reduces heat retention to cool surfaces during hot weather and a novel medicine to combat antibiotic resistance are the products of three start-up companies that have recently received Foundation Bull Ring Accelerator Grants (BRAG). These $25,000 grants, funded jointly by the USF Foundation and the USF Research Foundation, have been awarded to iNur Technologies, Climate Correct Engineers and AAPEP Pharmaceuticals.

“The USF Research Foundation is proud to join with the USF Foundation in supporting these innovative entrepreneurs as they move their technologies from lab to market,” said Sylvia Wilson Thomas, CEO of the USF Research Foundation and vice president for USF Research & Innovation. “We look forward to reviewing the next round of BRAG applications due March 29.”

BRAG is designed to support early-stage Tampa Bay Technology Incubator-affiliated start‐up companies that were formed based on licensed University of South Florida technologies. 

The grants support the entrepreneurial ecosystem at USF and help start-ups bridge the “valley of death” – the period between when the availability of academic research funding runs out and when a team is credible enough (with enough customer and market knowledge) to raise private capital or license and partner with existing companies.

"It’s both exciting and inspiring to see how USF research leads to the development of products that can be life-altering for many," said USF Foundation CEO Jay Stroman. “These grants play an important role in supporting innovation and serve as a reminder of how philanthropy can power incredible change on a global scale.”

The personalized aphasia communications assistant is a creation of iNur Technologies, co-founded by CEO & President Scott Burgin, a professor and division director of vascular neurology at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine; Chief Science Officer Hana Kim, an assistant professor in the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders at USF; Chief Financial Officer & Vice President KK Quah, a technology teacher at Tampa Preparatory School; and Chief Technology Officer Yasin Yilmaz, an associate professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at USF.

David Young

David Young is the CEO of Climate Correct Engineers, which created a rooftop coating that cools surface temperatures below outdoor temperatures.

Climate Correct Engineers, led by CEO David Young, a doctoral graduate of USF’s College of Engineering, has created a rooftop coating using nanocrystals that reflect solar radiation and cool surfaces below outdoor temperatures. This passive radiating cooling technology is less expensive, more effective and more durable than the silicon-based coatings currently on the market.

AAPEP Pharmaceuticals CEO Jianfeng Cai, a USF Preeminent Professor of Chemistry, led the development of MS-65-2, a novel antibiotic to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The drug is more effective than the leading antibiotics Nitrofurantoin and Vancomycin in fighting hard-to-treat bacterial infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), VREF (vancomycin-resistant enterococcus faecium), and E. Coli.

Applications for the next round of BRAG funding are due March 29, 2024. More information is available on the BRAG website.

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Learn more about USF research by viewing articles from past years (2010-2019).

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