Accelerator Awardees Announced
In its mission to advance UC innovation towards a commercialization outcome, UCTAC issues a call for proposals three times per annum to fund 12-month research projects aiming to translate basic research into commercially viable products. The last round began in January, and the awardees were selected in March. Of the eight original applicants, the proposals submitted by Drs. Nira Ben-Jonathan, College of Medicine, and Noe Alvarez, College of Engineering, met the selection criteria of being technically advanced enough and having a reasonably clear path toward commercialization.
The selection process, both the initial review and the pitch competition, occurred under the purview of an outside committee of local business leaders. After two rounds of vetting, the committee made the final determination on which projects should be awarded funding. Both awardees from this round had applied for Phase I funding, and they will be eligible for Phase II funding from UCTAC after the successful completion of this first phase.
Noe Alvarez will receive $40,000 to fund his proposal, Nanomaterials based Energy-Efficient Electric Heating-Elements. Dr. Alvarez studies synthesis characterization and application of carbon nanotube materials. Dr. Nira Ben-Jonathan received the second award for her proposal Small Molecule Inhibitor of the Prolactin Receptor for the Treatment of Drug-Resistant Breast Cancer, and she will have $40,000 to further advance that technology. Dr. Ben-Jonathan’s current research focus is on determining how endocrine derangement underlies certain forms of cancer.
The next call for proposals is coming up in May. To ensure that the next round of applicants have a sound understanding of the process and expectations, as well as to help all proposals be as competitive as possible, UCTAC will give a one hour instructional presentation on Accelerator projects before the submission deadline.