OCAST awards nearly $2.2 million for 12 Applied Research projects
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Board members who oversee the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) awarded nearly $ 2.2 million to 12 research applicants November 15. The awards are the first in the Oklahoma Applied Research program for FY 2012. All research projects will be completed within three years.
The latest OCAST research projects range from a special heat exchanger to a sensor designed to detect peroxide-based explosives. Applied research funds are used for accelerated and proof-of-concept technology. Successful proposals have significant potential for producing a commercially successful product, process or service likely to benefit the state’s economy.
Independent external peer reviewers evaluate the applied research applications which are ranked before being presented to the OCAST governing board. Since the program’s inception in 1987, OCAST applied research projects have attracted $16.50 of outside investment for each dollar made available from the state of Oklahoma.
The applied research award winners include the following:
- Khalid Hossain, investigator, Amethyst Research Inc., “Hydrogen assisted surface cleaning and passivation of semiconductor substrates for heteroepitaxy” – Both compound semiconductors and silicon are needed to produce “smart” sensors for Department of Defense applications. Amethyst Research has devised a method of surface cleaning that makes the silicon surfaces free of contamination prior to thin-film growth. The technology assists in fabrication of high-performance infrared sensors and focal plane arrays. $300,000 for two years
- Mark Nash, investigator, Pelco Products Inc., “Pelco Products Symbolite Project” – Pelco is developing a new form of LED traffic signals that incorporate symbols and color in the directional display. The system, called a Symbolite, will have the capability of informing drivers of approaching emergency vehicles in addition to the other signals it provides. $197,000 for two years
- Sean Bauman, investigator, Immuno-Mycologics Inc. (IMMY), “Discovering biomarkers for histoplasma POC diagnostic” – The researchers propose to develop a point-of-care testsystem that will aid in the diagnosis of histoplasmosis, a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma, found worldwide and particularly harmful to HIV/AIDS patients. The diagnostics will be designed to be used at all points-of-care including remote rural areas. The Norman firm has experience in delivering other diagnostics in the same market. $90.000 for two years
- Danyang Chen, investigator, Charlesson LLC, “A therapeutic antibody for diabetic retinopathy” – This project is seeking therapies for treating diabetic retinopathy. The expectation is the research team will establish the efficacy and safety profiles of a selected drug therapy that will support an investigational new drug application. $299,823 for three years
- Mariko Kudo, investigator, Siwa Biotech Corporation, “Developing Novel Entry Inhibitors for Treatment of HIV” – HIV/Aids has become manageable due to some 20 antiretroviral drugs approved for treatment of the affliction. New complications occur however, due to the emergence of resistance to current drugs, toxicity and newly identified HIV strains. Siwa Biotech Corporation has identified tyrosylprotein sulfotransferases as novel enzyme targets for development of a new class of HIV-1 therapy. Through research, Siwa plans to optimize the potency and permeability of the compounds and eventually select eight to 10 of them for further development. $300,000 for two years
- Muna Naash, investigator, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, “Nanoparticle-mediated gene transfer” – Nanotechnology provides a delivery system for DNA to the ocular tissues. The end result of this research could be a vehicle for delivery of therapeutic genes to treat and prevent different forms of retinal diseases. $90,000 for two years
- Kelvin Self, investigator, The Charles Machine Works Inc., “GeoFold, a folded coaxial ground coupled heat exchanger” – The project is designed to determine the commercial potential of the GeoFold system. Parts of the system will be installed in the ground in a randomized pattern using a concept Ditch Witch vertical drill rig and other equipment. The heat exchanger system will be installed at various depths and testing will be done in different seasons. Expected findings include easier installation, less than five percent grout volume and as much as 500 percent greater heat exchange potential between the ground and heat pump. $90,000 for two years
- Peter Muriana, investigator, Oklahoma State University, “Antimicrobial peptides produced by lactic acid bacteria for inhibition of pathogens” – The proposed research is an extension of work by Stan Gilliland whereby miocrobial cultures were identified that are currently widely fed to feedlot cattle, helping to reduce acidosis and the incidence of E. coli. The bacteriocin-producing cultures, or the bacteriocins themselves, will be used in food applications to control Listeria monocytogenes, salmonella and staphylococcus aureaus. $90,000 for two years
- Daniel Fisher, investigator, Oklahoma State University, “Optimally controlled air-conditioning equipment for sustainable building systems” – The objective of this project is to develop and deploy optimal supervisory and process control algorithms for modern cooling systems. The effort requires developing control boards that will accommodate new control schemes. $294,063 for three years
- Evgueni Kadossov, investigator, XploSafe LLC, “Explosive-containing porous materials as non-detonable training and testing aids” – Training dogs to detect explosives is costly and manpower-intensive. Use of actual explosive material also requires humans with special qualifications. XploSafe has developed a way to make certain explosives safer by using mesoporous ceramic materials that eliminate the danger while maintaining realistic materials for training purposes. The investigator proposes to test improvements to develop a comprehensive portfolio of non-detonable, non-hazardous training aids that ensure safety for trainers and the dogs they train. $299,998 for two years
- Nick Materer, investigator, XploSafe LLC, “Sensor for hydrogen peroxide and peroxide-based explosives” – The goal of this project is to develop explosive sensors that are highly selective and sensitive for peroxide-based improvised explosives and the hydrogen peroxide used to manufacture them. $90,000 for two years
- Jay Hanan, investigator, MetCel LLC, “Design and development of hybrid composite armor” – The research team is credited with designing and testing current ballistic vest standards in development of hybrid composite armor. This research is investigating improvements in current technology to increase standards for the hybrid composite armor with the hope of expanding armor protection beyond current limitations. $44,000 for one year