BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo’s Catalyst
Fund has awarded $213,762 to five UB inventors or research teams
developing promising technologies in the life sciences.
The financial support will enable the researchers to conduct
efficacy studies and other projects that demonstrate the commercial
value of potential products. The goal is to move promising
technologies closer to the market.
The new round of funding brings the total number of awards
distributed by the UB Catalyst Fund to 10, with nearly $450,000
disbursed since the fund's establishment in 2011.
Since its inception, the fund has supported the development of
UB inventions ranging from sensors to surgical tools. The current
round of funding will support a number of potential advancements in
medicine, including a novel bone replacement material and
self-seeding blood vessel grafts.
“The UB Catalyst Fund helps faculty members move beyond
government-sponsored basic research to explore the market potential
of their inventions,” said Robert Genco, the UB vice provost
who heads UB's Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic
Outreach (STOR). “This kind of gap funding is critical to
spurring the creation of new high-tech businesses and
Alexander N. Cartwright, PhD, UB vice president for research and
economic development, described the Catalyst Fund as an important
tool that will help commercialize discoveries by UB
“By providing for the translation of UB research that
could lead to new therapies, new products, new company start-ups,
these funds demonstrate that UB research can directly and
positively impact the local economy,” he said.
Money for the UB Catalyst Fund comes from a variety of sources.
For the initial round of awards, in 2012, the John R. Oishei
Foundation provided $236,000 to the fund to help develop five UB
The money for the current round of UB Catalyst Fund awards came
from the Bruce
Holm Memorial Catalyst Fund, which was established anonymously
by a UB faculty member with a commitment to match up to $1 million
in contributions to the memorial fund by other donors. The memorial
fund is named for the late UB senior vice provost Bruce Holm, who
worked diligently to attract high-profile researchers and inventors
The researchers who received the new awards are:
- Rosemary Dziak, professor of oral biology. Dziak is studying
the use of a novel, nanosized calcium sulfate material for its
beneficial effects in replacing lost bone in patients who have
conditions such as osteoporosis, periodontal disease or
- Mark Ehrensberger, assistant professor of biomedical
engineering and director of the Kenneth A. Krackow Orthopaedic
Research Lab, and Anthony Campagnari, professor of microbiology and
immunology. The research team is testing and optimizing a novel
electrochemical technique for eradicating biofilm infections on
metallic medical implants.
- Venkat Krovi, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace
engineering, Pankaj Singhal, associate professor of
gynecology-obstetrics, division chief of gynecologic oncology,
minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery at UB, and Jason
Corso, assistant professor of computer science and engineering. The
research team is studying how to repurpose video-based micromotion
analysis, used traditionally to evaluate industrial manipulative
skills and efficacy, in evaluating proficiency and improving
training of doctors performing robotic surgeries.
- Daniel Swartz, assistant professor of pediatrics, chemical and
biological engineering and physiology and biophysics. Swartz and
collaborators are developing specialized vascular grafts that, if
successful, when implanted, would be stimulated to become
functional as a native tissue when placed into a patient’s
body. This would alleviate the need for donor blood vessels from
- Janet Morrow, professor of chemistry. Morrow is developing a
series of “smart” contrast agents for magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI). These contrast agents hold promise to be
developed as tools for monitoring the progress of cancer treatments
and deciding which treatments to implement, including for patients
who can’t tolerate current MRI contrast agents.