OCAST approves 10 projects totaling $1.7 million
April 9, 2009
Ten peer-reviewed applied research projects are in various stages of start-up after receiving approval for funding by the governing board of OCAST, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. A one-to-one match is required for the Oklahoma Applied Research Support awards which total $1,734,687 for the next three years.
Peer reviewers from around the nation evaluated the applied research applications and collectively placed them in order of the project’s expected ability to achieve commercialization through sound scientific investigation.
Michael Carolina, executive director of OCAST, described approval of the 10 projects as an Oklahoma version of providing internal stimulus through research and development. “Oklahoma benefits from the investment of capital in scientific research. We gain even more from the match requirement which at the very least doubles the economic impact. Both represent a direct infusion of R&D money into the economy.
“If successful, the proven research provides a second positive impact with the creation of new small businesses and procedures that benefit all of us far into the future.”
Projects range from stain-resistant nanocoatings to developing techniques for pipe repair in earthquake zones.
OCAST applied research funds target accelerated and proof of concept technology that has significant potential for producing a commercially successful product, process or service with high potential to benefit the state’s economy.
The applied research award winners include the following:
- Oklahoma City – Vascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in industrialized countries. Through glycoengineering of endothelial progenitor cell transplants, it is believed scientist can accomplish neovascularization of damaged tissue, thereby reducing disability, mortality and healthcare costs for victims of heart disease and stroke. Other funds are from America Stem Cell Inc. of California. Lijun Xia of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is principal investigator. Award: $90,000 for two years
- Oklahoma City – Lantibiotics are a new and unique class of antibiotics and hold enormous promise to address the current crisis arising from the spread of infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria. The long-term goal of the project is to develop a novel lantibiotic drug, Mutacin I, to be used in therapies against drug-resistant pathogens including MRSA. Fengxia Qi of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is principal investigator. Equipment in Qi’s laboratory will provide the match. Award: $89,608 for two years
- Oklahoma City – Permanent hearing loss caused by exposure to acute noise can be prevented by treatment with a combination of PBN-Nitrone plus N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Nearly complete protection is possible if ear treatment occurs within four hours and up to half of the loss is prevented if treatment begins within 12 hours and is sustained for several days. The technology is ideal for military personnel who are subjected to traumatic noises on the battlefield and for others subjected to sustained loud noise. Robert Floyd of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is principal investigator. Award: $90,000 for two years
- Oklahoma City – Project leaders are proposing construction of a Pharmaceutical Drug Development Bioassay Lab in Oklahoma. The state currently has no such lab. Bioassays are required to measure the presence, concentration, potency, half-life and immunogenicity of a drug substance and are required by the FDA to support clinical and preclinical safety and efficacy studies. The project calls for training staff who can provide a bioassay development and validation to support drug substances and investigational new drug applications for biologics being developed in Oklahoma. The proposal funds an assay project to provide IND-enabling bioassay work for an established program at Selexys for an anti-PSGL-1 antibody to treat Crohn’s Disease. Scott Rollins of Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Oklahoma City is principal investigator. Award: $295,975 for two years
- Tulsa – Chlorinated ethenes are among the most frequently detected groundwater contaminants. Development and application of bioreactors for remediation of groundwater would be a valuable step in improving the quality of water. Part of the research includes building a Bio-Sep bead technology that can transport organisms where they are needed for remediation. Kerry Sublette of the University of Tulsa is principal investigator. Sublette Consulting Inc. of Tulsa and Microbial Insights Inc. of Tennessee are providing match for the project. Award: $80,616 for two years
- Tulsa – Automated, full time monitoring of irregular movements of an animal will have an earlier indication of disease or physiological stress in an animal. Livestock producers armed with this knowledge can address the spread of disease in a herd earlier than would otherwise be feasible. In addition, stress in expectant females with a high likelihood of labor and delivery problems may be identified without the immediate observation and constant presence of the beef producer. The project calls for development and commercialization of motion-monitoring cattle ear tags. John Hassell of ZigBeef LLC in Tulsa is principal investigator and ZigBeef is providing matching funds. Award: $136,750 for two years
- Stillwater – Fabric nanocoatings with excellent stain resistant and antimicrobial performance represent the expected outcome for this technology. Nanocoated fabrics will be used in upholstery applications for hospitality and healthcare industries, automobile interiors, seating materials for public transportation and clothing. The antimicrobial and anti-stain properties of these fabrics prevent the transmission of infection-causing bacteria and facilitate easy cleaning of the fabrics. Yu Mao of Oklahoma State University is principal investigator. Award: $90,000 for two years
- Tulsa – Damaged pipes in earthquake zones can slow the delivery of services to citizens who are victims of seismic activity. The Diamond Quake Wrap is an engineered non-metallic wrap designed to repair damaged and leaking pipes in earthquake-prone regions. The product will be manufactured by Citadel Technologies of Tulsa. Michael Keller of the University of Tulsa is principal investigator and Citadel is providing matching funds. Award: $261,738 for three years
- Norman – Polymer composites are a desirable material for use in many applications because of their conductive properties. Expanded uses of polymer composites are being hindered by the limitations of multiwall carbon nanotubes used in production. This project will develop a new family of nanotubes, SDT-CNTs, for use in thermalplastic polymeric composites. Ricardo Prada Silvy is principal investigator and SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. (SWeNT) of Norman and Entegris Inc. of Minnesota are providing matching funds. Award: $300,000 for one year
- Ardmore – Amethyst Research Inc. (ARI) proposes the development of innovative semiconductor process technology to be used in the manufacture of infrared detection components called focal plane arrays, the heart of so-called “night vision imagers.” War fighters and homeland security agents for whom “owning the night” is not just a motto, stand to gain from this technology improvement. The defect reducing technologies developed under this program will result in improved manufacturing yields and correspondingly lower prices. Daniel Johnstone is principal investigator and Amethyst and the Office of Naval Research funding in Maryland provide matching funds. Award: $300,000 for two years