UC Science Center: 4 new research grants

The University City Science Center, the West Philly landlord consortium which works to attract and keep research-backed firms in its offices and labs bordering Drexel and Penn, says it has awarded a total of $600,000 in research funds contributed by federal, state and private groups, to four college-based and health-focused researchers (of 62 who applied, from 12 schools), under the Center's yearly (corrected) QED Proof-of-Concept grant program. Since 2009, the Center says it has funded 28 projects, which have drawn $15 million in follow-up grants and "led to seven licensed technologies."

This year's winners:  
• Amy Cowperthwait, a nurse at the University of Delaware, and engineer Amy Bucha are improving "airway management" in mannequins used for emergency simulations instruction.
• Dr. Judith Deutsch, professor of rehabilitation and movement science at Rutgers University School of Health Related Professions, leads PTs and engineers building "customized low-cost rehabilitation technology that selectively tracks movement and heart rate."
• Dr. Melik Demirel. Pennsylvania State University, "is using proteins to coat the surfaces of biomedical swabs, allowing them to capture the DNA" using very small blood or tissue samples.
• Dr. KiBum Lee, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers, "is developing an innovative platform for programming human patient-derived stem cells for use in stem-cell therapies in people with incurable and debilitating diseases and disorders," using non-viral vectors.

QED focuses on "innovative, commercially relevant solutions for pressing problems in healthcare and life sciences,” and especially targets collaborations and unusual partnerships, said Center President Stephen S. Tang in a statement.

QED backers include the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, William Penn Foundation, and Wexford Science and Technology, a BioMed Realty Company (and one of the Center's favorite developers.)