First grants to ‘LIFT’ tech businesses being awarded

Twenty-one LSU faculty members share the university’s first $500,000 in LIFT technology grants across five campuses, officials announced Tuesday.

The 15 grants are the first since LIFT was created by the LSU Board of Supervisors in January. LIFT stands for Leverage Innovation for Technology Transfer, and the grants are for developing proof for advancements that could lead to viable products or businesses.

“The results of the pilot phase of the program indicate a tremendous interest … and show that there was a need for such proof of concept funding to support innovation and commercialization,” said LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander. “This program will help to see many of these projects advance from basic research to market.”

Work supported by the first round of grants includes development of a real-time, automated video analytics system. Other prospective innovations include a chewing gum to prevent certain cancers and a system to manage irrigation at container plant nurseries.

“Every day, we see the impact that LSU research is having on our state in addressing a number of areas like health care, the coast, workforce development, energy, agriculture and more,” said Bobby Yarborough, LSU’s board chairman.

LIFT grants — which can be for as much as $50,000 — will be awarded twice annually, officials said. The next round of grant applications will open in November.

The program was begun with $2 million in funds from previously licensed LSU inventions, officials said earlier this year. The LIFT Fund is to be replenished with 5 percent of LSU’s future intellectual property licensing income.

Seven of the first LIFT grants were awarded for research at LSU’s main campus in Baton Rouge. The recipients are:

Guang Jia, Kenneth Matthews and Wei-Hsung Wang, $22,145, for development of an X-ray purifier to reduce pollutants emitted from industrial chimneys.

Jin-Woo Choi, $27,457 for development of a miniature, implantable, wireless neural stimulation device.

Konstantin Kousolas and Vladimir Choulienko, $47,161 for development and testing of a vaccine for prevention and treatment of genital herpes.

Michael Khonsari, $43,700 for a prototype to determine the breaking point and remaining life of certain metallic components of rotating machines.

Shengimin Guo, $27,510 for recycling of waste materials to produce high-quality, low-cost components of composite materials for use in commercial, military and industrial applications.

Supratik Mukhopadhyay, $21,888 for developing an automated system for video analysis and tracking to detect activities of interest and generate real-time alerts.

Varshni Singh, $49,516 for a prototype of microfabricated gratings to refine CT imaging and reduce patient radiation exposure.

Three grants went to researchers at the LSU AgCenter:

Jeffrey Beasley, $20,504 for enhancing an irrigation and leaching-control system for container plant nurseries.

Julie Anderson, $13,619 for developing a new, cost-effective blue crab bait from local seafood industry waste.

Todd Shupe, Richard Vlosky and Jim Richardson, $39,844 for reclaiming preservatives and recycling treated wood to produce raw materials for spray-foam insulation.

A grant of $49,500 went to Leanne Redman and Corby Martin at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge for software development to enhance a smartphone app for weight-loss and weight-management programs.

Three grants were awarded for research at LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans:

Aaron Martin, $30,000 for a prototype and testing of a biodegradable urethral scaffold to treat children with urinary conditions.

Daniel Kapusta, $30,000 for testing of compounds to protect, prevent and treat kidney injury.

Xiaoming Xu, $42,754 for developing antimicrobial materials to reduce the chance of hospital infections from invasive medical devices.

A grant of $50,000 was awarded to Cherie-Ann Nathan at LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport for developing and testing of a chewing gum to prevent certain cancers.