UMD Program Awards $3.8 Million to 17 University, Maryland Company Teams to Develop Technology Products

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Eric Schurr
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COLLEGE PARK, Md.—The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, has awarded $3.8 million to 17 teams combining Maryland companies with university researchers to bring technology products closer to market, program officials announce today.

MIPS, a technology acceleration program, grants money matched with company funds to faculty engaged in each project.

MIPS funds have spurred successful commercial products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc's mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical's diseased-tissue ablation platform.

"MIPS brings talented faculty and students from Maryland's public universities together with Maryland companies to develop new tech products, and in doing so advances the state's economy," said University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan. "It also shows how a well-run, modestly funded program can help us innovate our way to success. MIPS products and the jobs they support contribute $87 million each year in Maryland state taxes and another $70 million in county taxes. Products developed under MIPS have brought in more than $25 billion in revenue," he added.

For this round of funding, companies are contributing $2.3 million and MIPS $1.5 million to the jointly funded projects. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency provided additional funding.  

As many as 1,039 jobs in Maryland could be created over the next five years as a result of these projects, according to data forecast by the 17 participating companies.
Winning projects, segmented by institution, include:

Frostburg State University

  • ($135,912) George Rinard, professor, department of computer science and information technologies, teams with Cumberland-based Berkeley Springs Instruments LLC to develop user interfaces for the company's oil pipeline monitoring system, which uses ultrasonic sensors to monitor characteristics such as flow, humidity, temperature, and vibration.

Salisbury University

  • ($250,054) Marvin Tossey, professor, social work department, will work with Salisbury-based Eastern Shore Psychological Services LLC to establish the predictive validity of the Salisbury-based CARE-2 LLC instrument in accurately predicting youth violence and establish evidence-based interventions to reduce future violence.

Towson University

  • ($339,200) Ellyn Sheffield, associate professor, department of psychology, partners with Marriottsville-based Autonomy Engine LLC to develop voice classification models for the company's software, which predicts how public speakers' tone of voice is received by listeners.

University of Maryland, Baltimore

  • ($224,800) J. Kristie Johnsonassociate professor, department of pathology, works with Baltimore-based InstantLabs Medical Diagnostics Corp. to validate the company's instrument for detecting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

  • ($136,899) Alex MacKerell, professor, school of pharmacy, partners with UMB spinout Baltimore-based SilcsBio LLC to validate and optimize the company's platform for computer-aided drug design.

  • ($319,699) Leonid Medvedprofessor, biochemistry and molecular biology, teams with Baltimore-based Biomedica Management Corp. to develop a cost-efficient procedure for the production of a clinically suitable version of the company's ClotBlock® sealant, which can be used to absorb blood and stop severe bleeding.

  • ($129,960) Osamah Saeedi, assistant professor, department of ophthalmology and visual sciences, teams with Columbia-based Vasoptic Medical Inc. for an early feasibility clinical study of the company's hand-held retinal imager, which has the possibility to detect conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

  • ($203,250) Mark Smithassociate professor, department of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine, collaborates with Rockville-based Brain Biosciences Inc. to develop and validate a motion-compensation system for the company's portable brain positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. This technology will improve the quality of brain PET images in patients who are unable to remain still for the duration of the scan.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  • ($135,750) Lisa Kelly, associate professor, department of chemistry and biochemistry, teams with Edgewood-based Feature Flooring Products Inc. to perfect the company's proprietary epoxy formulas for installations over problem tile floors in commercial kitchens and bathrooms. The company's flooring is rapidly installed, cures quickly, and is slip-resistant, seamless, watertight, non-porous and long-lasting.

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

  • ($324,439) Feng Chen, associate professor, Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology, works with Dayton-based HY-TEK Bio LLC to develop a system for extracting nutrients from chicken manure to speed the growth of microalgae, which HY-TEK Bio uses in its photobioreactor-based systems to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions on an industrial scale, and develop a bacteria-based process that will separate algae from water that will make harvesting algae fast and inexpensive.

University of Maryland, College Park

  • ($141,205) Mario Dagenais, professor, department of electrical and computer engineering, partners with UMD spinout College Park-based FlexEl LLC to develop an ultra-low power voltage boost converter/power regulator for energy harvesting systems used in conjunction with the company's thin-film, flexible batteries and ultra-capacitors.

  • ($185,575) Robert Dooling, professor, department of psychology, partners with UMD spinout Bethesda-based Otomagnetics LLC to further develop a novel way of delivering drugs to treat ear-related diseases that uses external magnets and magnetic forces to direct therapeutics into the inner and middle ear.

  • ($177,500) Elise Miller-Hooks, professor, department of civil and environmental engineering, teams with Gaithersburg-based Information Technology Curves to further develop the company's commercially successful Mobile Resources Management System (MRMS), which enables paratransit operators, airport shuttle service managers and other entities running ridesharing services to efficiently match passengers, service types and vehicles, schedule and route the vehicles, and satisfy quality expectations.

  •  ($135,000) Alireza Khaligh, assistant professor, department of electrical and computer engineering and Institute for Systems Research, teams with Bethesda-based Altenera Technology to develop a power conditioning system for the company's mobile, lightweight wind harvester panel, which runs quietly, has no spinning parts and performs well under virtually any wind conditions.

  • ($274,700) Catherine Plaisant, associate director of research for the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, teams with Annapolis-based Pulse8 LLC to apply and extend the HCIL's interactive visualization technology to Pulse8's health data analytics system, which helps health plans and large health organizations respond to new healthcare laws, reduce costs and improve patient outcomes.

  • ($452,273) Reinhard Radermacher, Minta Martin Professor of Engineering, department of mechanical engineering and director, Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, along with Yunho Hwang, associate research professor, Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, work with Gaithersburg-based Sustainable Design Group Corp. to develop MilkPod™, a self-contained bulk milk chiller designed for use in remote villages where electricity is either unreliable or unavailable.

  •  ($279,546) Jae Kun Shim, associate professor, department of kinesiology, works with Keedysville-based Fluid Motion LLC to test Fifth Quarter Fresh, the company's 100 percent natural, high-protein, fat-free chocolate milk exercise recovery drink. Fluid Motion's hand-selected milk contains 40 percent more protein, calcium and electrolytes than traditional chocolate milk. 

Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

A breakdown of participating companies by region include:

  • Montgomery County: 5
  • Baltimore: 3
  • Howard County: 3
  • Western Maryland: 2
  • Annapolis, Southern Maryland, College Park and the Eastern Shore: one each

This is the 52nd round of MIPS grants. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987.

For information about the historical economic impact of the MIPS program, an independent study titled "An Analysis of the Impacts of MIPS Program Spending and the Commercialization of MIPS Funded Projects on the State of Maryland," by Richard Clinch, from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, is available online.

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program 
MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $25.2 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products 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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