State Awards Biodiscovery Grants to Colorado State University Professors

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade has awarded 2009-2010 grants totaling $352,000 to seven Colorado State University bioscience professors.

The Colorado Legislature created the Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program in 2006 to increase the research and development of new bioscience technology in Colorado research institutions. The grants are intended to accelerate commercialization of new discoveries and support new business development. The program has since been amended to also expedite the research and production of biofuels.

Colorado State University must match the state funds through institutional and private sources.

Several of the Colorado State professors receiving grants have either formed companies or are in the process of forming companies to commercialize their innovations.

Colorado State professors receiving grants include:

– Jessica G. Davis, professor of soil and crop sciences, will study low-cost bio-fertilizer production that combines bacterial nitrogen and solar energy to create a fertilizer from the air. The bio-fertilizer will reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer production and transportation. The reduction of cost and energy for fertilizer production could be a worldwide solution for food security, energy, soil fertility issues and the competitiveness and sustainability of small to mid-sized farms.

– Lawrence G. Goodridge, associate professor of animal science, will study the development of a biosensor that will detect waterborne viruses at an accelerated rate. The multi-angle light scattering biosensor could analyze cultured cells for viral infection after only a few hours of incubation. The rapid testing and detection of viruses in water sources has worldwide implications for the safety of water and food supplies.

– Matt J. Kipper, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, will study the use of optical traps – focused beams of light that can hold and move microscopic objects in three dimensions – for the use of bacterial detection in food and water. The optical trap biosensor could create a faster and more sensitive technique for pathogen detection, leading to safer food and water supply.

– Kenneth F. Reardon, professor of chemical and biological engineering, will study the advancement of multi-channel optical biosensors to detect food and water contaminants. Advancement in biosensor lifetime, hardware, system calibration and measurement could make food and water supply monitoring simple and accurate.

– Melissa Reynolds, assistant professor of chemistry, will study a biocompatible coating for medical devices. The biomedical coating could create a natural and safe approach to healing by allowing implanted materials to be left in the body longer without rejection.

– Ronald B. Tjalkens, associate professor of environmental and radiological health sciences, will study neurological protection compounds for treating Parkinson’s disease. Current Parkinson’s disease treatments only control the symptoms, while the neuroprotective compounds could stop the degeneration of neurons in the brain and effectively halt the disease.

– John D. Williams, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will study coatings for dental and orthopedic implants that will increase the longevity of the devices. The improved coating technology could decrease revision surgeries due to loosening or infection during the patient’s lifetime.

The Technology Transfer Office of the Colorado State University Research Foundation, or CSURF, accepted the awards on behalf of Colorado State University. The CSURF Technology Transfer Office and CSU Ventures, which includes MicroRx, NeoTREX and Cenergy, manage the intellectual property, licensing and commercialization process for CSU.