Oklahoma Innovations - OCAST's Official Newsletter
STATE CHAMBER OF OKLAHOMA SURVEY
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OCAST AWARDS NEARLY $2.2 MILLION FOR 12 APPLIED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Board members who oversee the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) awarded nearly $ 2.2 million to 12 research applicants November 15. The awards are the first in the Oklahoma Applied Research program for FY 2012. All research projects will be completed within three years.
The latest OCAST research projects range from a special heat exchanger to a sensor designed to detect peroxide-based explosives. Applied research funds are used for accelerated and proof-of-concept technology. Successful proposals have significant potential for producing a commercially successful product, process or service likely to benefit the state’s economy.
Independent external peer reviewers evaluate the applied research applications which are ranked before being presented to the OCAST governing board. Since the program’s inception in 1987, OCAST applied research projects have attracted $16.50 of outside investment for each dollar made available from the state of Oklahoma.
The applied research award winners include the following:
- Khalid Hossain, investigator, Amethyst Research Inc., “Hydrogen assisted surface cleaning and passivation of semiconductor substrates for heteroepitaxy” – Both compound semiconductors and silicon are needed to produce “smart” sensors for Department of Defense applications. Amethyst Research has devised a method of surface cleaning that makes the silicon surfaces free of contamination prior to thin-film growth. The technology assists in fabrication of high-performance infrared sensors and focal plane arrays. $300,000 for two years
- Mark Nash, investigator, Pelco Products Inc., “Pelco Products Symbolite Project” – Pelco is developing a new form of LED traffic signals that incorporate symbols and color in the directional display. The system, called a Symbolite, will have the capability of informing drivers of approaching emergency vehicles in addition to the other signals it provides. $197,000 for two years
- Sean Bauman, investigator, Immuno-Mycologics Inc. (IMMY), “Discovering biomarkers for histoplasma POC diagnostic” – The researchers propose to develop a point-of-care test system that will aid in the diagnosis of histoplasmosis, a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma, found worldwide and particularly harmful to HIV/AIDS patients. The diagnostics will be designed to be used at all points-of-care including remote rural areas. The Norman firm has experience in delivering other diagnostics in the same market. $90,000 for two years
- Danyang Chen, investigator, Charlesson LLC, “A therapeutic antibody for diabetic retinopathy” – This project is seeking therapies for treating diabetic retinopathy. The expectation is the research team will establish the efficacy and safety profiles of a selected drug therapy that will support an investigational new drug application. $299,823 for three years
- Mariko Kudo, investigator, Siwa Biotech Corporation, “Developing Novel Entry Inhibitors for Treatment of HIV” – HIV/Aids has become manageable due to some 20 antiretroviral drugs approved for treatment of the affliction. New complications occur however, due to the emergence of resistance to current drugs, toxicity and newly identified HIV strains. Siwa Biotech Corporation has identified tyrosylprotein sulfotransferases as novel enzyme targets for development of a new class of HIV-1 therapy. Through research, Siwa plans to optimize the potency and permeability of the compounds and eventually select eight to 10 of them for further development. $300,000 for two years
- Muna Naash, investigator, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, “Nanoparticle-mediated gene transfer” – Nanotechnology provides a delivery system for DNA to the ocular tissues. The end result of this research could be a vehicle for delivery of therapeutic genes to treat and prevent different forms of retinal diseases. $90,000 for two years
- Kelvin Self, investigator, The Charles Machine Works Inc., “GeoFold, a folded coaxial ground coupled heat exchanger” – The project is designed to determine the commercial potential of the GeoFold system. Parts of the system will be installed in the ground in a randomized pattern using a concept Ditch Witch vertical drill rig and other equipment. The heat exchanger system will be installed at various depths and testing will be done in different seasons. Expected findings include easier installation, less than five percent grout volume and as much as 500 percent greater heat exchange potential between the ground and heat pump. $90,000 for two years
- Peter Muriana, investigator, Oklahoma State University, “Antimicrobial peptides produced by lactic acid bacteria for inhibition of pathogens” – The proposed research is an extension of work by Stan Gilliland whereby miocrobial cultures were identified that are currently widely fed to feedlot cattle, helping to reduce acidosis and the incidence of E. coli. The bacteriocin-producing cultures, or the bacteriocins themselves, will be used in food applications to control Listeria monocytogenes, salmonella and staphylococcus aureaus. $90,000 for two years
- Daniel Fisher, investigator, Oklahoma State University, “Optimally controlled air-conditioning equipment for sustainable building systems” – The objective of this project is to develop and deploy optimal supervisory and process control algorithms for modern cooling systems. The effort requires developing control boards that will accommodate new control schemes. $294,063 for three years
- Evgueni Kadossov, investigator, XploSafe LLC, “Explosive-containing porous materials as non-detonable training and testing aids” – Training dogs to detect explosives is costly and manpower-intensive. Use of actual explosive material also requires humans with special qualifications. XploSafe has developed a way to make certain explosives safer by using mesoporous ceramic materials that eliminate the danger while maintaining realistic materials for training purposes. The investigator proposes to test improvements to develop a comprehensive portfolio of non-detonable, non-hazardous training aids that ensure safety for trainers and the dogs they train. $299,998 for two years
- Nick Materer, investigator, XploSafe LLC, “Sensor for hydrogen peroxide and peroxide-based explosives” – The goal of this project is to develop explosive sensors that are highly selective and sensitive for peroxide-based improvised explosives and the hydrogen peroxide used to manufacture them. $90,000 for two years
- Jay Hanan, investigator, MetCel LLC, “Design and development of hybrid composite armor” – The research team is credited with designing and testing current ballistic vest standards in development of hybrid composite armor. This research is investigating improvements in current technology to increase standards for the hybrid composite armor with the hope of expanding armor protection beyond current limitations. $44,000 for one year
OCAST ADDS THREE NEW STAFF MEMBERS
Three new employees have joined OCAST. Cornell L. Cross II will lead the Tulsa office as associate director of the programs division. The Oklahoma City office gains M. Diane Lewis as the finance and administration director and R. Mark Ballard as programs officer.
Cross previously served at the Oklahoma Insurance Department. He earned his bachelor’s of science in government from Oral Roberts University and master’s of science in biochemistry from the University of Tulsa. Cross will work to increase OCAST’s outreach and the research capacity of companies in Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma.
“The science and technology industry has much potential for economic development in the state, and we want to make sure Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma are positioned for growth,” said Michael Carolina, executive director of OCAST. “Through our Tulsa office, we will increase our outreach to science and technology companies in the area, providing resources and training to potentially double the number of applications coming from the area.”
Lewis, a licensed CPA, comes to OCAST with 30 years of financial business experience. She has held several budgeting and financial positions with the state of Oklahoma. Lewis obtained her bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Oklahoma. Lewis will manage the financial and administrative operations of OCAST.
Ballard was previously employed by the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center as a research assistant and laboratory business manager for the department of cell biology. He worked with OU for 12 years as an instructor and research technician. Ballard is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with degrees in industrial/organizational psychology and zoology, biomedical sciences.
In his role as programs officer, Ballard oversees grants to ensure contractual compliance standards, manages the budget and contract modification approval process and organizes the peer review process by assuring that progress reports for funded projects are evaluated by external reviewers in a timely manner. In addition, he conducts ongoing evaluations to help optimize the programs division’s contracting process and protocols to improve overall efficiency, as well as assists with the design, development and testing of the OCAST e-apps project.
OCAST APPROVES INTERN PARTNERSHIPS IN TULSA, STILLWATER AND NORMAN
Three private firms and the University of Tulsa have been approved for funding totaling $207,276 under the OCAST Intern Partnership program.
University faculty and private business leaders direct the efforts of technology-trained college-level students who participate in the program. The intern partnerships operate two years with student salaries equally shared by OCAST and the private company benefitting from the student participation. Intrusion sensors, lithium batteries, advanced nanotechnology and next-generation bio-sensor research are supported under the four internships approved by OCAST.
The OCAST Intern Partnership program has helped Oklahoma small businesses locate hard-to-find technology trained employees.
The most recent program awards follow:
- University of Tulsa Professor Surendra Singh will oversee work performed by two student interns at Qual-Tron. Directed by two Qual-Tron engineers, the students will work in engineering design, specifications, development, testing and manufacture of intrusion sensors. Such sensors are used in the surveillance industry. Students will be immersed in the industry and will attend trade shows and technical conferences in addition to their work involving mechanical modeling at the Tulsa-based company. $60,000
- Lloyd Salsman of Frontier Electronic Systems Corp. will direct the efforts of one undergraduate intern who will evaluate battery technology research. Lithium batteries are listed as one of 80 critical technologies sought by the Department of Defense. This project will analyze the imagery of stock materials used in the manufacture of nanobatteries. Frontier Electronic Systems considers this technology to be a logical extension of past efforts in satellite power management. The firm plans to use the project to expand its internal capabilities in characterizing nanobattery fabrication processes in order to provide a more decisive response to new areas of space-qualified construction. $27,876
- Tom Jobe of Nomadics Inc. will supervise three interns who will contribute to commercial development in the field of biomolecular interaction analysis. Work on the project will be focused on biochemistry, electrical engineering and software engineering. $59,400
- Ricardo Prada Silvy of SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. will offer seven interns an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to real-world projects including (1) developing functionalized single-wall carbon nanotubes based on SWeNT’s commercial products, (2) developing characterization methods of SWeNT’s applications and (3) process development and scale-up of conductive coatings. Interns will represent the University of Oklahoma School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering and the Department of Chemistry. $60,000
TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE HIGHLIGHTS 10 ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY FIRMS
OCAST’s first Technology Showcase held recently at the Reed Center in Midwest City, highlighted executives from 10 advanced technology firms and the accomplishments of their companies with investment from the state of Oklahoma.
Sponsors included EPSCoR, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, i2E, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, University of Central Oklahoma, MidFirst Bank and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.
The following companies were featured in the showcase:
Amethyst Research, Inc.
Headquartered in Ardmore, Amethyst has developed an array of proprietary manufacturing processes and quality control for high-performance infrared detector arrays and works with both OSU and OU on technology development. The firm in 2009 rolled out its MINTE product coined from the name MEMS infrared nanowire thermo-electric. The technology uses nanoscale materials and partners with OSU on detector development and is developing focal plane array sensors. MINTE operates in the near, mid and far infrared bands empowering quality video in the darkest caves or buildings. The technology has many applications in challenging environments such as Afghanistan.
Biolytx Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Based on the findings of H. Anne Pereira, Ph.D., president and CEO, Biolytx is addressing the challenges of increasing numbers of antibiotic-resistant infections. The firm is developing a novel class of drugs based on CAP37, a cationic antimicrobial protein with potent activity against Gram negative pathogens. Dr. Pereira in 1993 identified a peptide sequence that retains the antimicrobial activity of the CAP 37 protein. With the discovery the CAP37, peptides neutralize endotoxin and prevent endotoxin lethality in animal models. The Biolytix team believes that CAP37-derived therapeutics might be used to successfully treat Gram negative infections.
Charlesson LLC is developing innovative treatments for blinding disease such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and Stargardt’s macular degeneration. The firm has developed several classes of molecules and biologics that target disease pathways upstream from current pharmaceuticals. Through nanotechnology, Charlesson has designed a way to encapsulate its therapeutics thereby reducing the frequency of intraocular injections. Charlesson’s research team has developed ways to better control the size of nanoparticles used in the delivery of its therapeutics, opening several opportunities to be explored with the expectation of having more control over treatments.
DermaMedics is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of novel, non-steroidal dermatologics to address unmet needs for topical therapies to treat a wide-variety of inflammatory skin disorders and skin aging. Led by Bryan Fuller, Ph.D., chief executive office, DermaMedics has developed topical therapies which prevent burns arising from the use of medical treatments and cosmetic procedures. DermaMedics products have none of the immunosuppressive side effects associated with prescription dermatologics and are sold exclusively to physicians, medical spas and cancer centers. The products have been clinically proven to prevent radiation burns in cancer patients and effectively treat psoriasis and rosacea.
Frontier Electronic Systems
Frontier Electronic Systems Corporation has excelled as an award-winning leader in the design and manufacture of innovative, cost-effective electronic systems and equipment for government and commercial customers since it began full time operations in 1981. Frontier is headquartered in Stillwater. The 150 team members innovate, design, manufacture and test electronic products and systems for aerospace, maritime and other commercial customers throughout the world. FES focuses on core competencies grouped into five key technology areas, high-technology radar and video distribution innovative test and simulation systems avionics and electronics for aircraft space flight electronics and research and development innovation, prototype design/manufacture and engineering support. Ongoing IR&D includes high performance nanotechnology battery development/commercialization funded by OCAST in collaboration with the University of Tulsa, development of light weight composite racks, software for recording/distribution of shipboard radar and video information and a state of the art cockpit display for aerospace and ground vehicles.
Impact Technologies LLC
Impact Technologies is a technology research and development company specifically targeting technologies and methods to solve problems in the energy and upstream oil and gas business. It is engaged in the design, patenting, prototyping and commercialization of more than 20 new products and technologies mostly in advanced drilling systems and in gel sealing systems. Impact has the exclusive worldwide rights to 27 patents and patents-pending. SPI gel is a patent pending, environmentally friendly silica-based gel system that seals off inefficient reservoir zones, allowing more trapped oil to be recovered. The advantage their enhanced oil recovery product offers for CO2 floods is the ability to activate the gel using the normally injected CO2, eliminating a major heavy metal (chrome) hazard and 50 percent of the cost associated with our competitors’ products which use chemical initiators. Impact is forming strategic alliances with CO2 flood operators and chemical manufacturers and assembling the necessary field equipment to perform the field treatments.
Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Selexys Pharmaceuticals is a privately held drug development company located in Oklahoma City. The firm is developing a Selectin Inhibition Technology Platform with therapeutics that target both P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSGL-1) and P-selectin. The company has exclusive rights to technologies that block the function of these two key proteins which mediate cell/cell interactions, which are critical for initiating and maintaining inflammation. Selexys has developed fully human and humanized antibodies that bind to the proteins PSGL-1 and P-selectin and block their function. Clinical studies have been conducted to demonstrate selectin inhibition not only prevents inflammation but also substantially reduces established inflammation in multiple disease settings including sickle cell disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, transplantation, thrombosis, arthritis, uveitis, vasculitis, asthma, COPD, epilepsy and cancer.
This Oklahoma City firm was created to develop and commercialize revolutionary, ultra-miniature heart assist devices. Congestive heart failure claims 11,000 lives annually in Oklahoma. Due to the lack of available hearts for transplants, implantable blood pumps, known as left ventricular assist devices, have demonstrated a capacity to extend life with quality. VADovations is designing their heart assist device to address the impacts that plague patients who must undergo placement of implantable devices. Such impacts include blood clots, strokes and infection.
This Stillwater firm provides critical safety solutions for homeland security and lab safety. Their products protect humans who must deal with unstable and hazardous compounds. Improvised homemade explosives and ingredients often are destabilized due to the formation of peroxides from reaction with air and sunlight. XploSafe’s product, XPell, works by eliminating peroxide formation in organic solvents. A second product line, XploSens, is used for trace detection of improvised explosives. The XploSafe products are designed to assist bomb squads, first responders, the Transportation Security Administration and military and security personnel. Two associate professors of chemistry at Oklahoma State University have been key in the development of the company’s products.
For information about this or future OCAST Technology Showcases, contact Steven Martinez at 319-8408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OKLAHOMA INNOVATIONS RADIO SHOW
Immuno-Mycologics Inc. (IMMY) is an Oklahoma-based organization focusing on mycology, or the study of fungi. The company's recent endeavors have centered on improving diagnostics for the developing world. IMMY's diagnostic tests meet the World Health Organization's "assured criteria" certifying they are affordable, sensitive, specific, reliable, user friendly and equipment free.
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The Oklahoma Sensor Alliance held a recent summit to encourage companies, research institutions, service organizations and communities within the state to identify resources and foster growth opportunities for the evolving sensor industry. Sensor technology is not present in most industries, so the potential for development of the sensor industry within the state offers substantial economic opportunity.
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Dean McGee Eye Institute is one of the largest and most respected eye institutes in the United States and houses the Department of Ophthalmology for the OU College of Medicine. Its research and training programs are among the most highly regarded in the country. Learn more from president and CEO, Gregory Skuta, and director of vision research, Robert Anderson.
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Attendees at the recent UAS Summit held in Stillwater learned that Oklahoma is well positioned to become a leader in the field of unmanned aerial vehicle development. As a technology previously used primarily by the military, unmanned aerial systems are being developed for many nonmilitary applications. The UAS industry has facilities around the state and is poised for growth opportunities which can provide high tech jobs for young professionals.
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A comprehensive water plan for the state of Oklahoma has been approved by the Water Resources Board for submission to the state legislature. The $15 million plan includes information about the state's 13 watershed planning regions and offers eight recommendations as high priorities.
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INNOVATIONS IN HISTORY
In December of 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully flew the first powered airplane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The brothers took turns flying the plane for four flights before it crashed. No one was hurt but the plane was broken beyond repair. The longest the plane flew was 59 seconds, achieving a distance of 852 feet. Two years later the Wright brothers invented the first practical airplane and began the era of aviation.