2012 Fall Proof of Concept Gap Funding Initiative Project Awards

The UIC Office of Technology Management Announces the Recipients

of the Fall 2012 Proof of Concept Gap Funding Awards



The Office of Technology Management (OTM) is very pleased to announce the granting of the second Proof of Concept (POC) Gap Funding Awards.

A total of 44 projects from across the UIC Campus were submitted to the OTM for review. Eight finalists were then chosen to submit full proposals and “pitch” their product ideas to a panel of local venture capitalists and business leaders.

The eight proposals were judged based on the following criteria:

  • Project impact and commercialization focus

  • IP assessment

  • Market assessment and competitive advantages

  • Discretionary points- partnerships leveraged to achieve outcomes, overall strength of the Proposal and qualifications of the Investigator

We take great pleasure in announcing that six of the eight proposals were chosen to receive funding totaling over $250,000. This funding will go a long way in our efforts to support another round of truly innovative projects from UIC Faculty inventors.  Below is the list of award recipients.


Sohail Murad, PhD and Alan Zdunek, PhD
College of Engineering -- Department of Chemical Engineering
Project Title: Water Desalination by Electric Field Enhanced Ion-Exchanged Process

Mahnaz Shahidi, PhD
College of Medicine -- Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Project Title: EyeFlow: A Device to Detect Impaired Cerebral Blood Flow

Farhad Ansari, PhD
College of Engineering -- Department of Civil and Materials Engineering
Project Title: Crack Sensor

Ramaswamy Kalyanasundaram, DVM, PhD
College of Medicine -- Department of Biomedical Sciences (Rockford)
Project Title: Improving the Current [Lymphatic Filariasis] Vaccine Technology

Seungpyo Hong, PhD 
College of Pharmacy -- Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences
Project Title: Development of a Biomimetic Device Prototype for Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells

Gregory Thatcher, PhD and Debra Tonetti, PhD
College of Pharmacy -- Department Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy and Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences 
Project Title: Therapies Associated With Modulation and Mimicry of Hormone Actions


The OTM would sincerely like to thank everyone who submitted project proposals for this round of gap funding as well as for taking the time to engage with our Office throughout the process. We would also like to acknowledge and thank our POC Review Committee Members: Ellen Carnahan (Machrie Enterprises), David Cruikshank (ARCH Venture Partners), Kathryn Hyer (Illinois Ventures), and Dan Watkins (DFJ Mercury).

The 2012 Fall Proof of Concept Gap Funding Initiative would not have been possible without the support and funding from the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR), and the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, and Pharmacy.



About GAP Funding

Gap funding refers to a relative scarcity of investment capital that is available to researchers who are looking to move an exciting invention discovered in their lab towards the commercial marketplace. It is well documented that many novel and innovative university-based technologies often languish “on the shelf” due to a shortfall in funding that could be used to help validate the commercial potential of the invention by achieving a set of product development milestones. Successful achievement of these milestones would remove a number of technical and commercial risks associated with a technology and more favorably position the technology to attract follow-on development funding or be a more attractive candidate for licensing to industry.

In addition to boosting the commercial prospects of individual technologies, gap funding programs across the US have been shown to directly help foster both the formation of new businesses and job creation. Gap funding programs are also recognized for helping to strengthen university innovation and entrepreneurship by engaging faculty, students and the business community in the process of thinking through new product development, intellectual property (IP) protection, market competitiveness and the most appropriate path to commercialization.