Mtech’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program Announces 17 Research Projects Teaming Companies and Faculty to Develop Commercial Products

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Eric Schurr
301 405 3889

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—The University of Maryland’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program (MIPS), an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), today announces 17 research projects teaming Maryland companies and university faculty to develop high technology and biotechnology commercial products.

Projects include a system to harvest nutrients from wastewater, technology to restore vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay, high-performance wind turbines for residential and other applications, as well as therapeutics or medical technologies related to diabetes, kidney disease, bladder disorder, fungal infections, non-healing wounds, and cancer. They also include an unmanned aircraft system that takes off vertically, new, highly efficient traffic surveillance technology, a system for reducing the crystallinity of cellulose for biofuel applications, an integrated flight control system, a high-definition head-mounted display, an exoskeleton device for hand and finger rehabilitation, an automated manufacturing process for paint brushes, a polymer coating for gold nanorods, and more.

Worth $3 million, the projects combine $1.5 million from participating companies and $1.5 million from MIPS. Funding supports research in the laboratories of participating university faculty, who work closely with partner companies to advance their products. All funding goes to the project faculty and often supports the work of graduate students.

Projects approved include:

  • Jessup-based American Dynamics Flight Systems Inc. ( and Jewel Barlow, professor, University of Maryland, College Park ($135,150): validating the propulsion system for the company’s next-generation, maritime-capable, high-speed Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
  • Rockville-based Aparna Biosciences Corporation ( and A. James Mixson, associate professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore ($141,249): developing therapeutics to treat a variety of fungal infections.

  • Rockville-based Celek Pharmaceuticals LLC ( and Susan Keay, professor, University of Baltimore ($159,500): evaluating the efficacy of a novel therapeutic for interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, a chronic and debilitating bladder disorder.

  • Rockville-based Cellphire Inc. ( ) and Daniel Kuebbing, director, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute MDBioproSM (GMP Biomanufacturing Program) ($154,842): establishing a quality system and manufacturing processes for the current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) production of the company’s freeze-dried platelet products for both diagnostic and therapeutic indications.

  • College Park-based Coil LLC ( and Patrick O’Shea, professor, University of Maryland, College Park ($135,000): developing novel signal processing and programmable hardware technologies for audio and communications applications.

  • Columbia-based Emerald Sky Technologies LLC ( and J. Sean Humbert, assistant professor, University of Maryland, College Park ($215,260): developing an integrated aircraft flight display and control system with a collaborative autopilot that will allow pilots to maintain situational awareness and engage in the higher level task of managing and directing a flight.

  • Easton-based Maryland Environmental Plastics LLC and Patrick Kangas, associate professor, University of Maryland, College Park ($236,299): developing biodegradable, inexpensive, uniquely designed seed pots that allow for proper root growth to restore vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Hunt Valley-based Mastix Medica LLC ( and Thomas Dowling, associate professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore ($143,941): developing a chitosan chewing gum to help control phosphorus levels in dialysis-dependent kidney disease patients.

  • Germantown-based NanoRods LLC and John Fourkas, professor, University of Maryland, College Park ($174,420): developing a polymer coating for gold nanorods that enables them to survive biological conditions without interfering with normal functions of living cells for potential cancer therapeutics, tomography, or additional biotechnology applications.

  • Hollywood-based Recovery Science LLC and Jae Kun Shim, assistant professor, University of Maryland, College Park ($302,000): developing an innovative exoskeleton device for hand and finger rehabilitation in the medical community.

  • Germantown-based Renewable Energy Solutions LLC and Jewel Barlow, professor, University of Maryland, College Park ($82,200): performance testing the company’s small-wind, scalable, vertical-axis turbine that performs well in a broad range of wind conditions for residential, small commercial building and other distributed wind applications.

  • Columbia-based Sensics Inc. ( and Marc Olano, associate professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore County ($145,659): developing video processing algorithms that optimize video streams to a high-definition, panoramic, head-mounted display for mass-corporate applications such as virtual design, training, medical pain management/therapy, remote presence, data visualization and more.

  • Crisfield-based Sherwin Williams Corporation ( and Chandrasekhar Thamire, senior Keystone lecturer, University of Maryland, College Park ($270,500): developing a fully functional/operational assembly system for automating the knot gauging, straightening, combing, and contour-inserting operations of the paint-brush manufacturing process.

  • Elkton-based Spiralcat of Maryland ( and Douglas Frey, professor, University of Maryland Baltimore County ($210,448): developing full-scale industrial modules to extract fertilizer nutrients as part of the company’s system for harvesting water, energy and biofuel from diverse waste sources, reducing both runoff and air pollution that harm the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Bethesda-based TelCare LLC  ( and Charlene Quinn, assistant professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore ($233,713): evaluating the effectiveness of TelCare’s cellular communications-embedded glucose meter with two-way, personalized communication between patients and care managers to improve blood glucose testing compliance.

  • College Park-based Traffax Inc. ( and Michael Pack, director, Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory, University of Maryland College Park ($138,600): integrating Traffax’s traffic surveillance system, which detects, processes, and delivers traffic information in real time, with the Regional Integrated Transportation Information System (RITIS) to effectively distribute traffic data to Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

  • College Park-based Zymetis Inc. ( and Robert M. Briber, professor, University of Maryland, College Park ($108,085): developing low-cost solvent systems to reduce the crystallinity of native cellulose, reducing the need for enzymes in biomass digestion for the production of ethanol and other biofuels.

This is the 45th round of MIPS funding. The program has supported research projects with more than 450 different Maryland companies since 1987.

University System of Maryland institutions participating include, along with the number of projects:

  • University of Maryland, Baltimore (4);
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2);
  • University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (1)
  • University of Maryland, College Park (10)

Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

About MIPS (
The Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program, an initiative of the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, or Mtech (, brings university innovation to the commercial sector by supporting university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $19.5 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successes such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

About the A. James Clark School of Engineering

The University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering is a premier program, ranked among the top 20 in the world. Located just a few miles from Washington, D.C., the Clark School is at the center of a constellation of high-tech companies and federal laboratories, offering students and faculty access to unique professional opportunities.

Our broad spectrum of academic programs, including the world’s only accredited undergraduate fire protection engineering program, is complemented by a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, early hands-on educational experiences, and participation in national and international competitions.

The Clark School is leading research advancements in aerospace, bioengineering, robotics, nanotechnology, disaster resilience, energy and sustainability, and cybersecurity. From the universal product code to satellite radio, SMS text messaging to the implantable insulin pump, our students, faculty, and alumni are engineering life-changing innovations for millions. Learn more at



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