Commercialization Gap Funding awards for 2023

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Allison Coffin has devoted her research to understanding how hair cells in the inner ear impact hearing loss. Now Coffin is working to bring her research from the lab to the marketplace with her innovative machine learning predictive model that could help prevent hearing loss. Coffin, associate professor in neuroscience, is one of nine WSU researchers awarded this year’s Commercialization Gap Fund (CGF).

The CGF funds research projects with high market potential, allowing WSU scientists like Coffin to bring their innovations from the research laboratory to the marketplace. The CGF provides researchers with the final funding step for near market-ready technologies. Researchers are awarded up to $40,000 to make it through the development and testing phase of commercialization.  

“We are excited to recognize this year’s Commercialization Gap Fund recipients, who are working to translate research results into technologies and innovations that have the potential to improve lives and enhance the economies of the state, nation, and world,” said Sita Pappu, assistant vice president for research in the Office of Commercialization.

Since the re-establishment of the program in 2014, the CGF has awarded more than $4.071 million in funding to 79 projects. These projects include technologies with 62 issued patents, 101 provisional patents filed, 4 trademarks filed, and 5 copyrights filed. Additionally, 40 of the technologies have signed licensing deals with outside companies and 22 start-up companies have been formed. The gap funding support resulted in $19.690 million follow-on funding for these technologies. 

The CGF is made possible through the support of the Washington Research Foundation and was initially jumpstarted through the support of the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Research.

The 2023 CGF recipients and their projects are:

  • Avishek Chanda, postdoctoral research associate in the Composite Materials and Engineering Center, has developed a framed vacuum bagging technique for resin transfer modeling of decorative natural fiber panels.
  • Roland Chen, associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, has created a high-throughput fabrication of personalized human and veterinary medicine and supplements.
  • Allison Coffin, associate professor in Neuroscience, has developed a machine learning predictive model to prevent hearing loss.
  • Wen-ji Dong, associate professor in The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, has designed an enhancing lateral flow assays with cationic isotachophoresis for bacterial and viral infection differentiation.
  • Xianming Shi, professor and chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has developed nano-modified fine aggregates and methods for more cost-effective and durable concrete.
  • David Thiessen, associate professor in The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, has enhanced the commercial viability of a low-cost injection-molded desktop learning module system for engineering education.
  • Jinwen Zhang, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, has created reprintable resins for sustainable 3D printing and their application in composite fabrication.
  • Xiao Zhang, professor in The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, has developed a method of producing lignin with controlled structural properties for composite applications.

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