Technology development

Clemson faculty win funding for technology development Clemson News

CLEMSON – The Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) announced that seven researchers will be awarded FY2020 Technology Maturation Fund grants to support them as they embark on the crucial last step needed to take their technology from innovation to commercialization.

“The Technology Maturation Fund initiative helps shape a path to innovation and provides Clemson faculty with the unique opportunity to further their technology development,” said Chris Gesswein, Executive Director of CURF. “The program has repeatedly demonstrated that targeted strategic investments can have a significant impact on the likelihood of commercial licensing, industry collaboration or follow-on research. Congratulations to the recipients for their dedication to academic research and for the innovative contributions they have made to the research enterprise of Clemson University.

Since the launch of the Technology Maturation Fund program in 2014, CURF has awarded more than $870,000 in maturation funds to Clemson researchers.

This year’s scholarships range from approximately $6,000 to $39,000 and have been awarded to:

  • Jeremy Mercuri, Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, to further develop a novel biomimetic osteochondral construct for use in the repair of critically sized focal osteochondral defects through assays. This method does not suffer from the traditional drawbacks of many other treatments which can lead to substandard repair tissue, donor site complications, higher costs, and the inability to integrate repair tissue with surrounding healthy tissue. .
  • Mark Roberts, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, to pursue the development of a new type of electrode material for energy storage – carbon nanotubes with confined redox-active iron nanoparticles – that allow faster charge transfer rates and more than five times increase in power density compared to redox flow batteries. This new material offers a more efficient and inexpensive process with less voltage loss and the ability to use more abundant metals.
  • Christopher Saski, associate professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, to advance a new biotechnology involving extra-chromosomal circular DNA in the Amaranth palmeri plant species, which contains and expresses genes and biochemical pathways that can facilitate increased gene copy number and mitotic stability. This technology enables targeted gene amplification and gene expression engineering of complex crops to exhibit agronomically beneficial traits while simultaneously reducing engineering constraints, such as silencing, low copy number and non-target effects.
  • Erica Walker, assistant professor in the department of graphic communications, in collaboration with Hudson Smith, research associate in analytical systems and applications, to continue the development of ColorNet, a color management system based on neural networks, which takes into account color incorrect images and automatically produces color correct images when displaying brand colors on Jumbotrons. This fix only changes brand-specific sections of the image, as incorrectly displayed brand colors can negatively impact the brand and fan experience.
  • Daniel Whitehead, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, to pursue the development of a new method for the synthesis of diazacyclobutene molecules. This technology produces an effective concentration of drug capable of killing 50% of blood parasites in the cultures observed. This molecular scaffold has the potential to manage human African trypanosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease with only a handful of effective drug therapies, most of which cause significant, even fatal, adverse side effects.
  • Dan Simionescu, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering, to further develop a technology that efficiently seeds cells into scaffolds or tissues in multiple locations with high efficiency. Current cell seeding methods are limited to static or injection seeding, which do not guarantee uniform cell distribution or cell penetration into scaffolds. This technology can seed millions of cells in a controlled pattern via a roller, which can improve regenerative medicine and cell therapy techniques. *This project was funded in collaboration with the bioengineering department.
  • Victor Zordan, Professor in the School of Computing, to further explore computer-controlled embroidery design and sewing, which covers making targeted and precise changes to the material properties of a base textile. This technique can increase the local tensile strength of a 4-way stretch fabric, up to 10 times the original amount, to create tailored distributions of mechanical properties in the resulting embroidered materials.

Clemson University Research Foundation
The Clemson University Research Foundation manages technology transfer for Clemson’s thriving innovation environment. Founded in 1981, CURF is a 501(c)(3) corporation founded exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. CURF operates for the benefit of, to perform the functions of, and to achieve the purposes of Clemson University. CURF is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of leaders from the public and private sectors.

CURF will be accepting applications for the FY 2021 Technology Maturation Fund this spring, the release of the RFP and proposal deadlines will be announced. For more information, visit or contact the CURF office at [email protected]

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