MIT's Deshpande Center Announces Fall 2008 Research Grants

Nine Research Teams Receive Over $700,000 to Turn New Ideas into Commercial Innovations

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (October 8, 2008) -- The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT today announced it is awarding $700,000 in grants to nine MIT research teams currently working on early-stage discoveries. These projects have the potential to make a significant impact on our quality of life by revolutionizing disease therapies, allergy diagnosis, HIV care in the developing world, drug discovery, energy efficient displays, energy storage, and nano-scale imaging.

Acting as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship, the Deshpande Center awards both Ignition Grants and Innovation Grants each spring and fall that fund proof-of-concept explorations and validation for emerging technologies. “While most of the world focuses on the current financial and economic crisis, we continue to focus our efforts on new technological innovations,” said Leon Sandler, the center's executive director. “These innovations will be the engines of future economic growth providing new products and services that will improve the quality of peoples' lives.”

The fall 2008 grant recipients are:

CD-4 T Lymphocyte-Counting Microchip: Utkan Demirci and Martha Gray
A disposable CD-4 T lymphocyte-counting microchip providing fast, cost-effective on-site HIV virus monitoring to improve patient care in the developing world. (Renewal from 2007)

Compound to Enhance Immune Stimulation: Gerald Fink
A compound to stimulate a more powerful immune response to specific monoclonal antibodies, potentially enabling development of effective new disease therapies. (Renewal from 2007)

Stable Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Light Emitting Diodes: Karen Gleason
Long-lived LEDs on flexible substrates providing energy efficient portable displays.

A Novel Device for Label-free Cell Rolling Separation: Rohit Karnik and Jeffrey Karp
A device for separating cells that could be used for the monitoring and diagnosis of a wide variety of diseases.

Developing Novel Strategies to Arrest Biofilms: Susan Lindquist
The development of novel therapeutic strategies to combat difficult-to-treat bacterial biofilm infections. (Renewal from 2008)

Quantitative Diagnostic for Allergies Using Single-cell Technology: J. Christopher Love
An in-vitro test that will improve the accuracy of assessing responses to allergens, and will enable long-term monitoring of allergies and desensitizing therapies.

Supervalent Battery: Donald Sadoway
A proof-of-concept for a novel battery utilizing a supervalent technology to move energy density beyond the limitations of Li-ion batteries.

High throughput Nanoscale Imaging: Henry Smith and Rajesh Menon
An absorbance modulation technique enabling economical high-resolution, high-throughput, nanoscale imaging for faster, more flexible analysis of nano-structures. (Renewal from 2007)


New Antibiotic Target: Graham WalkerA project to attempt to isolate lead compounds to develop a new antibiotic.

The Ignition and Innovation grants help recipients assess and reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations. In addition to financial support, the Deshpande Center 's network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and academic and legal experts helps recipients assess the commercial potential of their innovations and make decisions that accelerate progress toward the development of business plans or licensing strategies.

About the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation

The Deshpande Center is part of the MIT School of Engineering and was established through an initial $20 million gift from Jaishree Deshpande and Desh Deshpande, the co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks. It is supported by gifts from alumni, friends and sponsors. The center serves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting leading-edge research and bridging the gap between the laboratory and marketplace.