March/April 2005 Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Latest Deshpande Center Grants Spark Media Attention
  • No Business Plan Required: MIT Researchers Pitch Technologies at Innovation Showcase
  • IdeaStream Sessions-Only Passes Available to MIT Faculty, Students
  • May 9 Pre-proposal Deadline for Fall 2005 Grants
  • Two i-Teams Reach MIT $50K Semi-finals
  • Re-inventing Ice Cream: Project Profile
  • April 5 Faculty Workshop Postponed
  • Belcher, Langer, and Active Joint Brace Team Recognized
  • Meeting of the 'Spotless' Minds: Fredo Durand and Michel Gondry

Latest Deshpande Center Grants Spark Media Attention
Our latest grant round made the cover of the March 28 print edition of the Boston Business Journal and has been mentioned by other media. After broadening the pool of applicants for our spring 2005 round of grants from faculty in the School of Engineering to faculty throughout MIT, we awarded $600,000 in grants to seven faculty research teams in diverse departments. These include Chemistry and Brain and Cognitive Sciences, as well as four departments in the School of Engineering.

The six new projects and one renewal include a revolutionary new way to weave fabric, a technology that will enable the next generation of flat-panel displays, a new way to mass-produce nanotechnology devices, medical implant coatings for "smart" sequential drug delivery, a way to dramatically accelerate discovery of new drugs, a breakthrough in production of fine chemicals, and a new liquid compound with extraordinary medical properties.

No Business Plan Required: MIT Researchers Pitch Technologies at IdeaStream's Innovation Showcase
Eighteen MIT faculty and researchers will present technologies to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists at Innovation Showcase, part of this year's IdeaStream symposium. We congratulate the following researchers for being chosen to present their ideas:

  • Eric Aizian, Tissue Replacement
  • Bruce Anderson, Tambora - Design Tool
  • John Brisson, A Better Way to Make Ice Cream
  • Vladimir Bulovic, Slim Spectrometer
  • Martin Culpepper, HexFlex Nanomanipulator
  • Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, New Compound Stops Bleeding Instantly
  • Andrew Fox, Wound Closure System
  • Paula Hammond, Implant Coatings for Sequential Drug Delivery
  • Tim Jamison, Fine Chemicals in One Step
  • Kurt Keville, WiFi Community Networks
  • Lionel (Kim) Kimerling, Low-Cost Multispectral Infrared Detector Arrays
  • Anmol Madan, Imetrico - Focus Groups
  • Rory O'Connor, Passive RFID
  • Don Sadoway, Cleaner, Cost-Competitive Titanium Production
  • Inder Singh, Kidney Monitoring Device
  • Mike Stonebraker, Column Store - A New DBMS Architecture
  • Santosh Vempala, Clustering Data Tool
  • Conor Walsh, Robopsy

IdeaStream Sessions-Only Passes Available to MIT Faculty, Students
IdeaStream, our annual, must-attend symposium, takes place on April 26 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the west end of campus. The event is invitation-only; however, MIT faculty and students are eligible for a sessions-only pass to attend Ignition Forums and the Innovation Showcase (see above).

May 9 Pre-proposal Deadline for Fall 2005 Grants
Got an innovation that you think could make an impact in the next two to four years? Mark your calendar: the deadline for pre-proposals for the fall 2005 round of grants is May 9. This round, like the spring 2005 round, is open to faculty from the entire Institute. Stay tuned for our request for proposals April 8.

Two i-Teams Reach MIT $50K Semi-finals
We're pleased to announce that business plans based on two projects funded by the Deshpande Center reached the semi-finals of this year's MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition. MicroDiagnostics, Inc. is based on Prof. Todd Thorsen’s Microfluidic platform for high-density multiplexed biological assays. Nanocell Power evolved from Professor Yang Shao-Horn’s Engineered electrode assemblies for PEM fuel cells. Both professors are from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and both projects collaborated with graduate students enrolled in the i-Teams course. Good luck to everyone on these teams!

Re-inventing Ice Cream: Project Profile
The estimated 10.9 million liters of ice cream produced each year are made via a process that hasn't changed much since the invention of the hand-cranked freezer in 1846. Professors John Brisson and Joseph Smith, Jr., of the Department of Mechanical Engineering's Cryogenic Laboratory received a Deshpande Center Ignition Grant in fall 2004 to develop a new process to freeze ice cream using liquid carbon dioxide. This method would save energy and could reduce the capital investment and maintenance costs associated with large-scale ice-cream production. Not only that, it could create a whole new category of dessert: carbonated ice cream frozen right at the point of sale.
"Several visitors to the lab have tasted freshly frozen vanilla ice cream and enjoyed the carbonated fizz and high-quality, creamy texture," said Teresa Baker, a graduate student working on the project.

With the help of the Deshpande Center, particularly the i-Teams course, Brisson, Smith, and their team are exploring avenues for commercializing their technology. Their discussions with major ice-cream companies have uncovered an interest in a unique ice-cream product.
"The Deshpande Center has been a great resource in considering the potential markets," said Baker.

April 5 Faculty Workshop Postponed
The April 5 Faculty Entrepreneurship Workshop featuring MIT Professor of Applied Mathematics and Akamai Technologies co-founder Tom Leighton as guest speaker has been postponed.

Belcher, Langer, and Active Joint Brace Team Recognized
Angela Belcher, a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Division of Biological Engineering who received a Deshpande Center grant in March, is one of 10 New England innovators in fields from biotechnology to software to be honored in Mass High Tech's 2005 Women to Watch program.

Robert Langer, professor of chemical and biomedical engineering and a Deshpande Center grant recipient, received two high honors recently. He was named Institute Professor, the highest honor awarded by the MIT faculty and administration, and he shared the $1 million 2005 Dan David Prize for his pioneering work in tissue engineering and biomaterials.

The Active Joint Brace project, which received a Deshpande Center Innovation Grant in fall 2003 and won the grand prize in last year's $50K Entrepreneurship Competition, was featured in a news clip that aired nationwide in January. The team also recently received a $30,000 CIMIT New Concept grant to further their work on this project. Congratulations!

Meeting of the 'Spotless' Minds: Fredo Durand and Michel Gondry
On April 5, Fredo Durand, a Deshpande Center grant winner and professor in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and film and video director Michel Gondry, who won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for his film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," engage in a public conversation at MIT. For details about the event and its participants, read the MIT News Office article.