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MIT teams rewarded for innovation

The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation has awarded $500,000 in grants to seven MIT research teams working on discoveries that could revolutionize drug development and delivery, surgical procedures and trauma care, safety products in sports, and water purification processes, among others.

"The real-world implications of MIT research are critical to improving life worldwide. We look forward to working with this list of grant recipients to bring their research to fruition," said Charles Cooney, faculty director of the Deshpande Center.

The spring 2006 Deshpande grant recipients are:

  • Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, a research scientist in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, is working to develop a new transparent compound that stops bleeding instantly.
  • Angela Belcher, professor of biological engineering and materials science and engineering, and David Clapham, professor of neurobiology and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, are working on a nanotechnology-based approach to monitoring key proteins that could open up new drug markets.
  • Paula Hammond, associate professor of chemical engineering, focuses her research on "smart" drug coatings that can conform to medical devices of any shape and allow the release of multiple drugs at varied times.
  • Michael Cima, professor of materials science and engineering, is developing a device to deliver medicine that treats bladder disorders from incontinence to interstitial cystitis to cancer.
  • Amy Smith, an instructor in the Edgerton Center, is designing a new incubator to test for bacterial contamination in water.
  • Michael Stonebraker, an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, plans to develop a next-generation data transformation tool.
  • Laurence Young, the Apollo Program Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and professor of history of science and technology, is developing designs for improved safety helmets.

In addition to financial support, the Deshpande Center offers a network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and academic and legal experts who help recipients assess the commercial potential of their innovations and make decisions that accelerate progress toward the development of a business plan or licensing strategy.

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.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 10, 2006 (download PDF).

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