Current POC Awards Program Winners

Project Summaries

Spring 2013

Security Analysis of Online Enterprise Websites Venkat Venjatakrishnan, PhD
College of Engineering Cyber security is at the forefront of both national and personal security concerns as was detailed in the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection in February 2015. Dr. Venjatakrishnan has developed a software solution to identify security holes and weakness, known as Parameter Tampering Vulnerabilities, for online enterprise websites such as banks and other financial institutions. The POC project will create a commercial-ready prototype that can be delivered as a Software as a Service model and provide user feedback on the solution to help better protect institutions and individuals.
Novel Catalysts for Syngas Production by CO2 Reduction Amin Salehi-Khojin, PhD
College of Engineering Dr. Salehi-Khojin has discovered a novel catalysts that improves the efficiency of syngas production from carbon dioxide. This project will test the catalyst in continuous flow conditions to provide proof of concept data for future industrial scale implementations of the process.
Expanded Cord Blood as an Off-the-Shelf Bridge Graft to Augment Blood Cell Numbers Nadim Mahmud, MD, PhD and Sri Hari S. Kadkol, MD, PhD
College of Medicine Dr. Mahmud has discovered a method for creating a human umbilical cord blood graft that can be used to augment blood cell formation in situations where a patient’s own blood cells have been damaged or depleted. The project will provide large primate study data on the use of the graft to support human clinical trials in the future.
Detecting Glaucoma Where it Starts John R. Hetling, PhD and Jason McAnany, PhD

College of Medicine & College of Engineering

Dr. Hetling has developed a new diagnostic tool, Peri-Stim, that provides the ability to stimulate the peripheral retina and detect earlier stages of disease such as glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. The project will build upon this work to develop a prototype that will be tested in the clinic and provide user feedback data from opthamologists as well.
New Drug for Treating Dry Eye Disease - Phase I/II Human Trial Sandeep Jain, MD
College of Medicine Dr. Jain has discovered a novel treatment for dry eye disease. This project is an open-label Phase I/II clinical study to develop safety, tolerability, and efficacy data related to the treatment in human patients at UIC. This information will help to bring this treatment closer to the marketplace and answer crucial questions along the commercialization pathway.
Scalable Process for Manufacturing Nanoparticles Encapsulating Hydrophobic Compounds Ying Liu, PhD
College of Medicine Dr. Liu has developed a continuous and scalable process to push the limitations of current drug delivery to allow for higher-loading, long-term stability and more precise physical- and chemical- particle properties. The project will utilize her novel process with known hydrophobic drugs that have not been able to be delivered effectively and provide data to show enhanced bioavailability.


Fall 2013

Design and Optimization of Gait Performance Enhancing Innersole Alexander Aruin, PhD, DPT
College of Applied Health Sciences Dr. Aruin has identified a new approach to restore gait symmetry more efficiently in patients undergoing rehabilitation. This project will design and develop specific prototype insoles for improved gait symmetry specifically in those recovering from a stroke. The results will improve the current standard-of-care and recovery time for stroke rehabilitation patients suffering from gait asymmetry.
Proof of Concept for Real-Time Prediction of Driving Performance and Safety David W. Carley, PhD
Center of Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research Dr. Carley has developed a method for predicting drowsy driving events that can be used to alert drivers of impending danger due to falling asleep at the wheel. The project will test a real-time prototype system that utilizes novel, wireless sensors using a neural network in driving simulations of people that have been sleep deprived. The prototype system will be compared alongside other industry-standards to test its market feasibility.
Bench Testing of SecureTube Girish G. Deshpande, MD
College of Medicine at Peoria, Pediatrics Dr. Deshpande has conceived a unique mechanism to secure endotracheal tubes at a single anchor point that reduces the number of unplanned extubations from patients in a healthcare setting. The scope of this project encompasses the design and development of the prototype through human subject testing. This information will help this potential medical device on its pathway towards commercialization.
Two Dimensional J-Resolved LASER and semi-LASER Spectroscopy Shaolin Yang, PhD
Department of Psychiatry Dr. Yang has developed a new MRI technique to solve major limitations of Conventional 2D Jresolved Spectroscopy that is used in proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This project will further develop the technique and test it both in vitro and in vivo with human subjects to show improved performance over the existing techniques.

Spring 2014

High-Throughput Antibody Generation by PExSR Brian Kay, PhD
College of Medicine Phage display and Ribosome display are two common techniques used to engineer recombinant antibodies that large pharmaceutical companies practice on a routine basis. Dr. Kay combines both powerful protein display technologies, in a novel way to generate recombinant affinity reagents quicker and more efficiently than each alone in a method called PExSR. This project will provide significant legwork and proof of principle, including head-to-head comparisons to phage- and ribosome- display, necessary for PExSR to become a commercially pertinent procedure.
Obsterical Medical Device for Auto Transfusion in Post Partum Hemorrhage (PPH)  Valerie Dobiesz, MD
Center for Global Health Post-Partum Hemorrhage (PPH) carries a large risk for maternal loss of life in low-resource settings. Dr. Dobiesz and her team from the Center for Global Health will develop a device to help with excessive blood loss due to PPH. This project will prototype and test an obstetrical medical device that allows autotransfusion of safe autologous blood.
Bioenhanced Implant Surfaces for Improved Osteointegration Sriram Ravindran, PhD
College of Dentistry During any bone implant procedure, osteointegration of implants to the surrounding bone is a prerequisite for success. In this project, Dr. Ravindran will perform both in-vitro and in-vivo studies to validate the efficacy of his biomimetic coatings for tooth and bone implants.
Making Cloud Computing Elastic, Cost Effective and Efficient Mark Grechanik, PhD
College of Engineering As more applications move to the cloud, assessment of performance-related issues becomes an important exercise that requires significant resources and complex software programs. Dr. Grechanik is developing an adaptive, feedback-directed learning system capable of providing a solution. This project will develop a high-level software system able to automatically detect performance bottlenecks in applications run on cloud-computing systems.
Evaluation of Soluble OX40L-JAG-1 to Treat Type-1 Diabetes Bellur Prabhakar, PhD
College of Medicine The only accepted treatment for people with Type 1 Diabetes is to take insulin injections several times a day to regulate their blood sugar levels. Dr. Prabhakar has developed a novel process that involves regulatory T cells to control blood sugar levels using bone marrow in-vitro which he will build on throughout this POC project. In this project he will test if this novel process can reverse the development of Type 1 Diabetes in an animal model using hyperglycemic mice.
Validation of In-Vivo SLIM-MRE Dieter Klatt, PhD
College of Engineering Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) is a non-invansive medical imaging technique that measures the stiffness of soft tissues inside the human body using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Dr. Klatt expects to increase the accuracy of conventional Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) through proof that his SLIM-MRE reduces intra-individual error. This project will provide data to support the improvements of Dr. Klatt’s SLIM-MRE Vs. Conventional MRE in the brain and liver of human study participants.

Fall 2014

Wide-Bandgap Optical Emitter Turn-Off (ETO) Thyristor Sudip Mazumder, PhD
College of Engineering Integration of semiconductor technology to the smart grid will have the same profound effect as routers did for communication. Dr. Mazumder plans to develop a Silicon Carbide (SiC) based High-Voltage (HV) Optical Emitter Turn-off (ETO) integrated thyristor switch that will overcome industry-standard limitations of existing Si-based devices with higher-reliability and lower conduction-loss. This project will fabricate and test the SiC ETO switch which will provide a benchmark for clear comparison of its performance with the current state-of-the-art.
High Power Density Power Conversion System Mahshid Amirabadi, PhD
College of Engineering State of the art power converters have high failure rates and large volume and weight constraints which impose high operational costs and several other limitations on many clean energy power generation markets such as Wind and Electric Vehicle. Dr. Amirabadi is developing a low-cost, high-efficiency universal power converter for clean energy power generation systems. In this project, Dr. Amirabadi will construct and test her prototype converter against existing solutions available in the market. This will provide proof that her prototype will offer significantly better reliability and power density as well as a significant reduction in cost as suggested by her simulations.
Novel Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease in Human Plasma Mary Jo LaDu, PhD
College of Medicine Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a rapidly growing epidemic that unfortunately has no known cure, diagnostic or preventative test. Dr. LaDu has developed a unique Monoclonal antibody named MOAB-2. MOAB-2 enables the development of assays (ELISAs) that detect molecules genetically and pathologically demonstrated to play a role in AD. This project will generate supportive data for clinical licensing and commercialization of non-invasive assays to identify Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in plasma.
Peptide Targeted Immunotherapy of Prostate Cancer David Peace, MD
College of Medicine Many investigators are pursuing strategies to develop an effective treatment for Prostate cancer. Dr. Peace has developed a combinatorial immunotherapy melding two strategies for cancer control together, tumor-specific immunotherapy and anti-angiogenesis therapy. This project will test this vaccine in a Prostate Cancer animal model and provide vital tox data to further prepare the drug for human clinical trials.
PF-543, a Novel Drug to Treat Oxidative Lung Injury Anantha Harijith, MD
College of Medicine There is an unmet medical need in the management of hyperoxia-induced lung injuries such as Broncopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Dr. Harijith has identified a novel drug that utilizes a non-toxic cytosolic protein to treat lung injury from diseases such as BPD and COPD. This project will test this new therapeutic in an animal model to provide proof of concept data to move this therapeutic forward towards clinical trials.
Use of 5-HT2c-Agonists in Rett Therapy Alan Kozikowski, PhD
College of Pharmacy Rett Syndrome is a rare, neurological disorder primarily affecting young girls with symptoms similar to autism that has no treatment options. Dr. Kozikowski has identified novel agonists of the 5-HT2C receptor that are likely to reduce repetitive hand motions, control seizures and eliminate sleep apnea in Rett patients. This project will test these compounds in a Rett Syndrome animal model, as well as provide tox data to further the drug development process.