Commercialization Grants Boost Economy

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Breakthroughs in cancer detection and synthetic fuels helped UT Arlington earn the most awards for Texas Ignition Fund (TIF) projects of any UT System institution. UT Arlington has received $475,000 for 10 projects, the latest being mechanical and aerospace engineering Assistant Professor Huang Haiying’s work on unpowered, wireless ultrasound sensing systems.

Dr. Haiying’s grant was awarded in the last of five rounds of TIF support. The UT System Board of Regents created the $2 million TIF grant program in December 2007. The initiative is designed to stimulate commercialization of research discoveries at the 15 UT System institutions by providing early-stage funding for the development and maturation of such discoveries into marketable intellectual property, particularly to help bridge the gap between discovery and invention.

It’s extremely difficult to get money for proof-of-concept work in today’s economic environment,” says Ron Elsenbaumer, UT Arlington’s vice president for research and federal relations. “It’s a huge leap forward for the UT System to do this. It shows tremendous forward thinking on the System’s part.”

Another UT Arlington recipient, bioengineering Professor Hanli Liu, is developing a low-cost, real-time, optically guided needle biopsy system that improves prostate cancer diagnosis. In a third project, mechanical and aerospace engineering Assistant Professor Brian Dennis and industrial engineering Professor John Priest are building a microreactor that converts North Texas Barnett Shale natural gas to synthetic gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Other UT Arlington-awarded TIF projects involve research on drug development, solar cells, prosthetic skin, sensors, energy conversion, and a blood oxygenator.

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