From Lab to Marketplace
How do discoveries in university labs turn into commercially available—and potentially lifesaving—products?
This Wednesday, May 25, teams of Michigan Tech scientists and engineers will present their innovative technologies to a state funding review committee. The reviewers, officially designated an Oversight Committee, will be making decisions on grants from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) program, a $6 million state-funded program developed and managed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to help commercialize university translational research.
Five teams from Michigan Tech will make presentations to the committee, describing technologies as diverse as noise suppression for military vehicles, synthetic enzymes for medical diagnostic tools, engineered tissue to improve wound care and a more energy efficient way to process vermiculite. The Departments of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering are all represented in the proposals under consideration for support in the 2016 MTRAC cycle.
Michigan Tech's MTRAC program is focused on applied advanced materials. The Oversight Committee consists of 11 members who represent successful business leaders with technology transfer experience and venture capital fund managers.
An example of a team that will present on Wednesday afternoon is Professor Jarek Drelich (MSE) and Associate Professor Jeremy Goldman (BME). They are working on developing a metal alloy that would perform well as a biodegradable stent for heart surgery and other uses where a biodegradable material is desirable. They have been working for some time to find a material with all the necessary properties that will biodegrade harmlessly in the body over a set period of time.
Their recent work has been carried out in collaboration with the University of Michigan Medical School and a commercial partner active in the industry. Their research has identified the need for an additional processing step to enhance the mechanical characteristics of the alloy before stents are cut.
They are hoping to get MTRAC funding to prototype stent material treated with an additional process to improve the desired mechanical characteristics.