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Three MU Faculty Members Awarded ‘FastTrack’ Funds For Their Research, Commercialization Efforts

June 9th, 2016

Story Contact: Jeff Sossamon, 573-882-3346, sossamonj@missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Three faculty members from the University of Missouri have been presented FastTrack awards from the University of Missouri System. To date, this funding program has contributed significantly to the development and commercialization of existing technologies and has “fast tracked” more than 35 publications and presentations resulting in seven licensing agreements, five startup companies and more than $900,000 of venture capital funding. Products and potential companies developed through this funding have an impact on the state’s economic development efforts.

The MU faculty members are:

  • Xu Han, research assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the MU College of Engineering and president of CryoCrate – Han’s research focuses on the development of cell and tissue cryopreservation techniques and the investigation of cell-damaging mechanisms generated by cryopreservation procedures. The system developed by Han and his team will eliminate the need for liquid nitrogen in the storage of cells and tissues and will impact nearly all biology research areas and biomedical applications including more efficient tissue transplants for patients.
  • William Jacoby, associate professor of bioengineering and chemical engineering in the MU College of Engineering – Jacoby studies how to separate carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants. The process and device developed by Jacoby and his team will be tested at Mizzou’s Combined Heat and Power Plant; when commercialized and implemented in power plants around the country will help curtail carbon dioxide emissions that are contributing to climate change.
  • Peter Scharf, professor of plant sciences in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources – Scharf studies the management and utilization of nitrogen and fertilizers by farmers. Decisions in growing corn, for example, are time-sensitive; properly assessing nitrogen needs is critical. Funding will help devise and deploy drone and satellite imagery capabilities to better evaluate and predict corn loss due to nitrogen deficiency, thereby increasing yields to help feed a growing global population.

“UM FastTrack is a funding program of the UM Office of Academic Affairs, Research and Economic Development,” said Scott Uhlmann, assistant vice president for innovation and economic development at the UM System. “The program is directed toward the development, testing, prototype construction, or market analysis of innovative technologies originating from a campus of the University of Missouri System. To date, the program has contributed significantly to the development and commercialization of many exciting technologies yielding academic and financial returns to the University and economic development for the state. We are excited to count these individuals among those awarded these top prizes.”

The UM Office of Research and Economic Development provides funding up to $50,000 per proposal to support prospects from each of the UM campuses. Funding under this program allows recipients to focus on development, testing or prototype construction and to conduct specific market research. Project support may lead to industry collaboration, licensing, the formation of a new company or the development of the technology to help bring the project to market.

“These remarkable FastTrack award winners show the breadth and scope of the life-changing research being conducted at Mizzou,” said Steve Wyatt, associate vice chancellor and vice provost for Economic Development. “Their research will not only help patients seeking transplants, they also will contribute to the efforts to lessen global warming and will help feed a growing global population — and, these technologies eventually may be produced right here in Missouri. We’re proud of the impact we continue to have on the economy and the people of our region and state.”

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