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Four professors receive $150,000 to help bring their inventions to market

Martin Safo, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy, presents his proposal for the synthesis, formulation and PK/PD studies of novel synthetic antisickling agents. (Photos by Brian McNeill)
Martin Safo, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy, presents his proposal for the synthesis, formulation and PK/PD studies of novel synthetic antisickling agents. (Photos by Brian McNeill)

Four Virginia Commonwealth University faculty members received a total of $150,000 in funding Thursday for translational research and innovations they have created that have the potential to come to market, where they can benefit society.

The awards came from VCU’s Commercialization Fund, which is intended to advance VCU inventions to a more mature stage and thus improve their chances of being brought to market. A total of $300,000 in two rounds of funding have been awarded in the 2017-18 academic year.

“This fund provides vital proof-of-concept funding that is critical for validating and maturing early stage faculty inventions and bringing them closer to commercialization," said Ivelina Metcheva, Ph.D., senior executive director of the VCU Innovation Gateway, which is charged with facilitating the commercialization of university inventions for the benefit of the public, fostering a culture of innovation at VCU and promoting new venture creation.

Christopher Ehrhardt, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Forensic Science in the College of Humanities and Sciences, has developed a new analytical platform for rapidly identifying the source tissue of individual cells.
Christopher Ehrhardt, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Forensic Science in the College of Humanities and Sciences, has developed a new analytical platform for rapidly identifying the source tissue of individual cells.
  • On May 3, eight faculty members from across VCU pitched their concepts to the committee that oversees the Commercialization Fund. The four receiving funds were:
  • Christopher Ehrhardt, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Forensic Science in the College of Humanities and Sciences, who has developed a new analytical platform for rapidly identifying the source tissue of individual cells.
  • Martin Safo, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy, in support of synthesis, formulation and PK/PD studies of novel synthetic antisickling agents.
  • Yan Zhang, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy, for development of nanoparticle conjugated NAP as novel treatment for opioid induced constipation.
  • Everett Carpenter, Ph.D., director of the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Program and professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Humanities and Sciences, in support of his innovation for optimization of metal oxides for enhanced magnetic refrigeration.

 

VCU’s Commercialization Fund is part of the university’s innovation ecosystem. More than 3,300 full- and part-time faculty at VCU have a total sponsored research portfolio of $275 million. Additionally, VCU has more than 31,000 students, over half of whom are interested in starting their own company. With this level of activity, VCU represents a significant pipeline of innovation and entrepreneurial talent for Richmond.