Around Cornell

News directly from Cornell's colleges and centers

Center for Technology Licensing program continues to fund early-stage Cornell lab innovations

Cornell's Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) has announced the Ignite Innovation Acceleration grant recipients for the Fall 2023 application cycle.

The eight projects range from advanced healthcare solutions and sustainable engineering to agriculture products and digital hiring solutions. Recipients were selected based on their potential to reach a critical inflection point towards commercialization and to positively impact society.

Each of the selected projects has received a grant of up to $50,000. CTL’s Ignite Innovation Acceleration program is designed to de-risk lab projects during a 12-month period with the goal of helping project teams generate interest in licensing and form startups or industry partnerships.

 “The Ignite Innovation Acceleration program represents an initial step in de-risking early-stage translational research conducted at Cornell,” said Lynda Inséqué, director of technology and venture initiatives and engagement. “We are thrilled to have recipients spanning four colleges in this cycle. At CTL, we aim to expand our efforts to include a wider range of participation, encouraging researchers with discoveries across the Ithaca, Cornell Tech and Cornell AgriTech campuses who are engaging with our office for the first time. We continue to support innovators with the goal of cultivating and growing Cornell’s thriving innovation ecosystem.”

The eight awarded projects from the Fall 2023 application cycle are:

  • Production and Delivery of a Diffusible Signal Factor That Inhibits Salmonella Carriage by Poultry. Craig Altier, professor of population medicine and diagnostic sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has developed a novel product that aims to reduce Salmonella carriage in poultry. The long-chain fatty acid cis-2-hexadecenoic acid (c2-HDA) suppresses certain biological functions that Salmonella bacteria need to colonize poultry intestines. The project has the potential to improve food safety and reduce the incidence of Salmonella-related illnesses.
  • Compact Highly Efficient Wide Range Power Conversion Using Impedance Control Network and Piezoelectric-based Solutions. Firehiwot Gurara, a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the research group of Khurram Afridi, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in Cornell Engineering, has developed a compact, highly efficient power converter using an impedance control network and piezoelectric-based solutions. The converter is designed to maintain high efficiency across wide input/output voltages and power levels, enabling bidirectional power conversion and grid-forming capabilities. The technology has potential applications in electric vehicles, residential energy storage, off-grid hybrid energy markets, data centers and power adapters. The project seeks to address the limitations of conventional power converters and magnetic components by utilizing piezoelectric devices for energy storage, resulting in smaller, lighter and more cost-effective power electronic converters.
  • Low-Cost, High-Performance Ultrafast Lasers for Microscopy. Frank Wise, M.S. ’86, Ph.D. ’88, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Engineering in Cornell Engineering, and Henry Haig, a doctoral candidate in the Wise research group, have developed a low-cost, high-performance ultrafast laser for microscopy. Using novel technologies, the laser achieves high-energy pulses with broad spectra. The laser relies on the Mamyshev mechanism for stable, high-power operation. The team aims to disrupt the ultrafast laser market by offering a cost-effective solution with superior performance compared to existing products. The project has potential applications in science, healthcare and manufacturing.
  • Advancing Genome Engineering: Programmable Transposon Systems for Precise DNA Integration. Joe Peters, professor of microbiology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and members of his lab have developed programmable transposon systems for precise and efficient DNA integration in genome engineering. This technology addresses the need for tools that can integrate large DNA segments accurately without relying on traditional recombinational repair methods. The project aims to enhance the efficiency of systems for therapeutic genome editing and microbiome modification with potential applications in human and animal health.
  • Commercializing Rosé Cabbage Hybrids. Phillip Griffiths, associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science Horticulture Section, Cornell AgriTech, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and members of his research team seek to commercialize a new market class of Rosé Cabbage Hybrids. The hybrids offer intermediate aesthetics and textural qualities between green and red cabbage, with a striking rosé pink color. The project will engage with culinary, retail and commercial seed company partners and growers. This new product is expected to drive sales of a nutritious and affordable storage vegetable, tapping into growing consumer interest in novel vegetable products.
  • Polymer Micron-Sized Hydrogels as Therapeutic Delivery Vehicles for Osteoarthritis Treatment. This project, led by doctoral candidate Ruben Trujillo in the research group of David A. Putnam, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor in Engineering in Cornell Engineering, is developing polymer micron-sized hydrogels as therapeutic delivery vehicles for osteoarthritis treatment. The goal is to provide a long-lasting delivery mechanism for various therapeutics and address the challenge of rapid clearance from the joint space. The project involves scaling up manufacturing, testing the delivery of clinically relevant therapeutics and assessing the efficacy of the hydrogels in vitro.
  • Restorative Record: Democratizing Access to Employment and Economic Empowerment through Justice Technology and Innovation. Timothy McNutt, director of Cornell ILR’s Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative, seeks to democratize access to employment and economic empowerment. Through this project, McNutt and members of his research team are addressing hiring practices that exclude nontraditional candidates, such as applicants with criminal records. The Restorative Record is a digital solution that provides employers and job seekers with tools that use evidence-based predictors of job success and look beyond traditional resumes and background checks.
  • Thiol-Norbornene Photo Elastomers for Additive Manufacturing. Warrick Ma, a doctoral candidate in the research group of Yadong Wang, the McAdam Family Foundation Professor of Heart Assist Technology in Cornell Engineering, has developed DegradEne, a novel photopolymer for additive manufacturing. DegradEne creates durable or degradable products with silicone-like elasticity, biocompatibility and potential for further click-chemistry modification. The technology aims to revolutionize the microfabrication of advanced microfluidic devices and macrofabrication of wearable devices and to contribute to a sustainable circular economy.

“One highlight of this cycle’s awardees is the strength of our applicant teams,” said Aaron Delahanty, manager of technology acceleration and venture at CTL. “We see strong entrepreneurial partnerships forming between graduate students, principal investigators and other engaged stakeholders who believe in the value of their innovations and are committed to bringing it to market. Excitingly, we see projects that mirror the Cornell’s breadth of research expertise. This program cycle supports a wonderful variety of commercialization efforts related to chickens, cabbages, lasers, and digital tools for equitable hiring, just to name a few.”

Ignite Innovation Acceleration is one of the four signature Ignite programs. CTL conducts two application cycles annually. The gap funding series is supported by the Provost’s Office and a generous donation from Peggy J. Koenig ’78.

The Spring 2024 application cycle for Ignite Innovation Acceleration opens April 1. The deadline is May 17 at 12 PM Eastern time. Cornell innovators who are searching for funding to bring their ideas to the next inflection point are strongly encouraged to apply.

Catherine Yingzi Lin is a writing intern at the Center for Technology Licensing at Cornell University.

Media Contact

Media Relations Office