MIT's Deshpande Center Announces Spring 2008 Research Grants

Seven Research Teams Receive Over $500,000 to Turn New Ideas into Commercial Innovations

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (March 19, 2008) -- The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT today announced it is awarding $500,000 in grants to seven MIT research teams currently working on early-stage discoveries. These projects have the potential to revolutionize disease therapies, micro-manufacturing, wireless communications, web searching, semiconductors, drug discovery and hearing for the impaired.

"We continue to see new and interesting projects from the MIT faculty and students," said Leon Sandler, executive director of the Deshpande Center. "Providing them with funding and support will accelerate their transition from the MIT labs to the marketplace. We also appreciate all the help and support we receive from members of the 'innovation ecosystem' in Boston and beyond."

Each spring and fall, the Deshpande Center awards Ignition Grants and Innovation Grants, which fund proof-of-concept explorations and validation. Since 2002, it has funded 75 MIT research projects with approximately $8,800,000 in grants, acting as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship and allowing MIT technologies to benefit the quality of life. Fourteen projects have spun out of the center as independent startups, having collectively raised over $100 million in outside financing from investors.

The spring 2008 grant recipients are:


A New Architecture for Highly Efficient, Broadband RF Transceivers: Joel DawsonVery energy efficient, high data rate transmitters for broadband wireless communications, which will increase battery life in handsets and reduce heat generation in base stations.

Rapid Multiplexed Analysis for Molecular Diagnostics: Patrick Doyle
A new method to perform multi-target bioassays using microparticles that may enable clinical bedside diagnostics and easier, less-costly diagnosis of disease. (Renewal from 2007)

Digital Ear Canal Scanner: Douglas Hart
An in-ear, 3D digital scanner for custom fitting hearing aids, resulting in better hearing for hearing aid users.

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

Gallium Nitride High Electron Mobility Transistors: Tomás Palacios
A new approach to the fabrication technology of Gallium Nitride semiconductors to reduce the cost and improve the performance of electronic products. (Renewal from 2007)

A 3 Dimensional Lithographic Microfabrication System: Peter So
A 3D two-photon microfabrication system to rapidly build high-resolution micro-scale structures.

Integrating the Deep Web with the Shallow Web: Michael Stonebraker

This project will provide sophisticated search capability for the “deep web” of pages dynamically generated from data entered into forms.

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 serves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting leading-edge research and bridging the gap between the laboratory and marketplace.