Accelerator Awards Funded Projects

Sylvester Black and Bryan Whitson
Novel Targeted Nanoparticle for CD38 Inhibition to Mitigate Stress Induced Organ Specific Injury
College of Medicine | Department of Surgery

Solid organ transplantation is one of the most impactful medical therapies available to patients with critical illness and end-organ failure. However, the success of organ transplantation has created a supply and demand problem as the number of waitlisted patients far outstrips the suitable donor organ supply. Currently, there is not a clinically available therapeutic to protect organs during transplantation. The team’s solution is a nanoparticle construct targeted to reduce stress and injury to the donor organ. This technology will improve donor organ quality or function as well as recipient outcomes. Accelerator Awards funding will allow optimization of the nanoparticle, scale up the manufacturing process, and validate the technology in rodent and human organs. 

David Dean
Chaotic Printing for Cell Expansion and Tissue Regeneration
College of Engineering | Department of Materials Science and Engineering
College of Medicine | Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Cell-based therapies, such as bone marrow replacement, novel cancer drug screening techniques, and many regenerative medicine technologies, require donor cells to be expanded from millions to hundreds of millions or billions to treat a single patient. Currently, donor cells are sent to expensive centralized facilities located far from patients for expansion in whole room incubators. The current procedure for cell-based therapies negatively impacts the affordability and the pace of treatment as well as, ultimately, the number of patients who can be treated. A solution is to use a chaotic bioreactor system fabricated using a novel method, chaotic printing. This new bioreactor will allow local, rapid, and less expensive expansion of cells to the numbers needed for treatment. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to finalize the design and set up of a chaotic printed bioreactor, demonstrate the cell expansion capabilities of the device, and to validate the commercial viability of this technology.

Emre Ertin
HFGuard: Noninvasive Sensing of Thoracic Fluid Levels for the Management of Congestive Heart Failure Patients
College of Engineering | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Heart failure is a leading causes of hospital admissions and death in the United States and also one of the costliest disease syndromes. Current practice requires management of heart failure episodes in hospital and identifiers of worsening heart failure often develop too late to proactively manage. Earlier identification and treatment of worsening symptoms would help prevent development of heart failure exacerbations. Thoracic fluid accumulation develops prior to symptoms and presents a new early identifier. This project will develop a noninvasive sensor that can provide real time assessment of fluid levels, allowing early detection of worsening heart failure symptoms and trigger adjustments to medical therapy, preventing costly readmissions and avoiding life threatening complications. Accelerator Awards funding will enable refinement of the sensor design and user interface, as well as validate the accuracy of HFGuard in a clinical cohort of patients diagnosed with acute decompensated heart failure.

Zhiwei Hu
Targeting Pathological Neovasculature for Treatment of Advanced Triple-Negative Breast Cancer using Tissue Factor-Recognizing Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-Engineered Natural Killer and T Cells
College of Medicine | Department of Surgery/Surgical Oncology

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is typically an incurable malignancy due to lack of targeted therapy. This technology is a group of novel specifically targeted CAR constructs that can alter patients’ own immune cells to effectively fight cancer. The technology is specific to a new target in TNBC, which is clinically validated in other cancers. Outcomes of this technology would benefit the majority of TNBC patients, help prevent recurrences, and have less side effects than current treatments. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to investigate the efficacy and safety of the technology in preclinical animal studies, with the goal of commercializing for patients with TNBC.

Sanjay Krishna
Lateral Interband Type-II Engineered Detectors (LITE Detectors)
College of Engineering | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) applications are used for defense, space and autonomous vehicles. Current LiDAR technologies lack high performance sensors and affordable price points. LIDAR needs to be more sensitive with better response times. This novel technology, Lateral Interband Type-II Engineered (LITE) detectors, will solve these needs by enabling LiDAR systems to see farther and respond faster using a higher performance detector architecture. If LiDAR are the eyes of the driverless car, then the proposed LITE detectors are the photoreceptors. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to develop and test the LITE detectors.

Mrinal Kumar
Data Security Measures and User-Layer Development for a Prognostics Use Case
College of Engineering | Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Currently, jet engine prognostics rely on a preventative schedule of maintenance and unforeseen breakdowns are costly. The technology under development is a scalable computational platform that performs accurate, predictive computer simulations to predict failure of aircraft jet engines in less time, with the end goal of supporting a decision-making agency. The goals of the project are to demonstrate that the front-end controllable accuracy of the platform can overhaul the existing preventative decision-making cycle for optimization of engine performance and prediction of engine failure. Accelerator Awards funds will allow a minimally viable product for pilot case use in jet engine prognostics to be built and tested, and develop a user interface for deployment.

Tanya Nocera
A Junctional Tourniquet for Control of Bleeding from Areas not Accessible to Standard Extremity Tourniquets
College of Engineering | Department of Biomedical Engineering

Exsanguination, or “bleeding to death,” is a leading cause of preventable deaths world-wide, and accounts for up to 90% of preventable combat fatalities – 17.5% of which are due to hemorrhage from the torso-appendage junction. A junctional tourniquet that effectively and efficiently treats junctional wounds in a tactical or civilian setting, is compact for carrying, and cost accessible to various agencies is lacking. This technology is developing a new junctional tourniquet device that: tightly conforms to the wound; can be quickly and effectively applied in high-pressure combat environments; and has a size/weight profile compatible with tactical medic bags. Additional applications of this technology can include law enforcement, EMS and civilian (i.e., active shooter situations). Accelerator Award funds will advance the design and fabricate functional prototypes for user testing.

Michael Tweedle
Hybrid Cell-Penetrating Peptide Pharmaceuticals
College of Medicine | Department of Radiology

Oncologic surgeons use imaging to plan surgery but only their vision and touch guide them during surgery, resulting in deadly missed tumors. Oncologists then treat half of all cancer patients with platinum chemotherapy, but with dose-limiting side effects in 25% of patients, resulting in many failures. This technology uses proprietary pharmaceuticals that transiently permeabilize tumor cell membranes, making a real time cancer specific imaging agent that will increase the accuracy of cancer surgery. A platinum chemotherapy potentiator will make chemotherapy drugs more effective in late stage cancer patients and allow patients to remain in therapeutic range, solving both problems. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to scale up the technology and determine therapeutic indices.

Kai Zhao
Non-Invasive Nasal Aid to Relieve Nasal Obstruction Sensation
College of Medicine | Department of Otolaryngology

Nasal obstruction is a chronic medical condition where invasive surgery is the only permanent solution. Patients experience decreased quality of life and loss of productivity. There is a lack of products based on scientific evidence that specially address the issue. This invention is a novel nasal aid designed to relieve nasal obstruction symptoms and to be sold over-the-counter.  It redirects nasal airflow to targeted therapeutic regions, which preliminary clinical data shows relieves nasal obstruction, potentially benefitting some 30 million adults in the US with related symptoms. The Accelerator Awards will fund work to improve prototype design and engage in rigorous clinical trials for FDA pre-marketing filing.

Alan Luo
Advanced Manufacturing of a Bioresorbable Magnesium Alloy for Biomedical Devices
College of Engineering | Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering

Develop manufacturing strategies (including additive manufacturing processes) for a patent-pending bioresorbable magnesium alloy to make skeletal fixation devices. Fixation devices made of the new magnesium alloy would hold grafted bone in place during the healing period and lose strength until they fully resorb. Accelerator Award funds will be used to help develop the first prototype fixation device for animal model testing.

Raymond L. Benza
Development of a Biatrial Catheter for a Cardiopulmonary Support System in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
College of Medicine | Department of Medicine

Development of a novel catheter and portable system for ambulatory extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for patients with severe life-threatening heart and lung disease (e.g. pulmonary arterial hypertension, COPD, infections, lung cancer, COVID-19 etc) that will dramatically improve patient outcomes and quality of life, significantly reduce hospital costs and greatly expand the use of ECMO procedures globally. The Accelerator Award fund will be used to produce a prototype catheter to facilitate commercial production of the catheter.

Jeffrey Skidmore
Optimized Hearing for Cochlear Implant Patients
College of Medicine | Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

Many hearing impaired patients have limited benefit from their cochlear implant due to unsuitable device settings. Software solutions have been developed that analyze patient-specific neural responses to optimize device settings for individual patients. The Accelerator Award fund will be used to transform the solution, which have been proven to improve hearing, into a robust web-based application for field testing and eventual adoption


Lisa K. Militello
Asimina Kiourti
Sleep-well Baby Bedding
College of Nursing | Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children & Youth
College of Engineering | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sleep-Well Baby Bedding leverages a patented solution to detect and monitor a baby's position during sleep. The remote monitoring system is comprised of conductive threads, non-intrusively situated within an infant’s bedding, triggering an alert to potentially high-risk situations, such as if an infant has rolled face-down or too close to an edge. The Accelerator Award funds will be used to advance the proof of concept and refine prototypical design & development.

Jeffrey Skidmore
Optimized Hearing for Cochlear Implant Patients
College of Medicine | Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

Many hearing impaired patients have limited benefit from their cochlear implant due to unsuitable device settings. Software solutions have been developed that analyze patient-specific neural responses to optimize device settings for individual patients. The Accelerator Award fund will be used to transform the solution, which have been proven to improve hearing, into a robust web-based application for field testing and eventual adoption


Luciano M. Prevedello
Engin Dikici
Matthew Bigelow
Automated Intracranial Metastasis Detection Algorithm
College of Medicine | Laboratory for Augmented Intelligence in Imaging, Radiology Department

A proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm that increases the quality of patient care by assisting radiologists to detect tiny Brain Metastasis (cancer that has spread to the brain) on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Early detection of metastasis would allow for less invasive and less expensive treatment options for patients and has the potential to save millions of dollars in healthcare costs per-year. Additionally, the AI-assisted process has the potential to increase radiologists’ diagnostic efficiency and accuracy, further improving the quality of care. The Accelerator Award fund will be used to build a platform to further test our algorithm in a clinical setting and get ready for subsequent FDA application.

Boyd Panton
Micro-impact Welding to Manufacture Lightweight and Energy Efficient Mechanical Actuators for Electric Land and Air Vehicles
College of Engineering | Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Welding Engineering Program

Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuators are smaller, lighter, more energy efficient, and last longer than standard actuators. The supply chain and end-users are missing key joining technologies to assemble finished products. We have developed a micro-impact welding technology for shape memory alloys (SMAs) that is 275% stronger than the state-of-the-art and enables manufacturing of actuators with 50% smaller joints, 50% lighter joints, streamlining of manufacturing, and new design morphologies. The Accelerator Award will be used to enable the benchmarking of the micro-impact welding process and the actuator performance to advance commercialization efforts with our customers.


Daniel Jones
Rapid RNA Sequencing Assays for Integrated Disease Management: the SARS-COV-2 DXVX Prototype
College of Medicine | Department of Pathology

The DXVX clinical assay, developed out of COVID19 pandemic need for rapid and actionable genomic data, is a first-in-class integrated virus/immune sequencing assay. The Accelerator Award will be used for supporting the expanded patient cohorts needed for full validation of the DXVX assay.

Shaurya Prakash
Printed Electroceutical Dressing (PED) for Infection Mitigation and Wound Healing
College of Engineering | Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

A lab prototype of an innovative, easy to use, disposable electroceutical dressing for treatment of chronic wounds that are highly susceptible to bacterial biofilms is developed. The Accelerator Award funds will be used to design a clinical prototype. These prototypes will be used for in vivo validation in animal studies and enable future human clinical trials to support FDA submission.


Pelagia-Irene (Perena) Gouma 
Desktop High-Throughput Electrospinning System
College of Engineering | Department of Materials Science & Engineering   

Standard Electrospinning, a nano-manufacturing process of fibrous materials, is currently limited by the low production rate and technical problems associated with the available equipment. This project is developing a turnkey, user-friendly, scalable processing equipment that offers high-throughput production of non-woven fibers (random or aligned) which can be used to manufacture a wide range of products, from photocatalytic blankets (nanogrids) to skin gas sensing diagnostics and smart textiles. The Accelerator Award funds will be used to fabricate and validate a desktop prototype design for commercialization. 

Robert J. Lee
Albumin-SN-38 Conjugate (AlbuCure) for Cancer Therapy
College of Pharmacy | Division of Pharmaceutics and Pharmacology

Lung and pancreatic cancers have poor prognosis and need better therapies from drug resistance and severe adverse side effects. AlbuCure is a tumor-targeted drug that selectively targets aggressive, difficult-to-treat cancers. With high therapeutic efficacy and reduced toxicity relative to standard chemotherapeutic drugs in use, development of this technology could significantly impact the management of solid tumors as a highly effective treatment either alone or in combination with other therapeutics. Accelerator Award funds will be used to validate AlbuCure’s safety and efficacy and outline a regulatory strategy for clinical development.


Dehua Pei
Cell-Permeable Proteins for Sustainable Organic Agriculture
College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Modern agriculture relies heavily on fertilizers and pesticides, which have an adverse impact on the environment as well as animal and human health. Many environment-friendly products for organic agriculture are peptides/proteins derived from biological defense activators and bio-stimulants. However, poor cell penetration efficiency undermines their utility. This project is developing a novel cell-penetrating protein that can effectively deliver defense activator/biostimulant proteins into plant cells to substantially improve agricultural productivity in an environment-friendly manner. Accelerator Award funds will be used to refine and validate the delivery platform, confirm low toxicity of the protein, and de-risk a low-cost system for large-scale production.

Yael Vodovotz
Overcoming challenges to commercialization of a bio based, biodegradable rubbery bioplastic: A need for an industrially produced prototype
College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences | Department of Food Science and Technology

Single plastic use is prolific and cost-effective, however the environmental impact due to plastic waste, petroleum-based plastics and the cost to mitigate this is high. New bioplastic materials that can overcome deficiencies and are environmentally friendly are needed. A bio-based blend of polymers has been developed to include a plasticizer using food processing waste that when processed produce an alternative to single use plastics that can be used in food and cosmetics packaging. The Accelerator Award funds will be used to validate prototypes and de-risk scaled-up processing and manufacturing to support eco-friendly packaging alternatives.


Judit Puskas
College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences | Department of Food, Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Current face masks have limitations and lower compliance has been an issue. The project is developing a face mask to address these problems (comfort, moisture absorption, impeded breathing) by prototyping a recyclable and comfortable face mask that outperforms current disposable masks, while having the filtration efficiency of KN95 masks. The Accelerator Award funds will be used to fabricate prototype masks and test them with users at meat processing facilities, as well as de-risk scaled-up manufacture of the material required to make the masks. 

Zihai Li 
Anti-GARP Monoclonal Antibodies for Cancer Immunotherapy
College of Medicine | Comprehensive Cancer Center

Although immune checkpoint blockade has emerged as a promising cancer therapy, a majority of tumors fail to respond or develop resistance due to tumor-associated immune dysfunction, which can be driven by the accumulation of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFβ1) in the tumor microenvironment. While TGFβ-targeted therapies have the potential to treat a wide range of malignancy, there are currently no FDA-approved therapies for cancer. Combining TGFβ1 targeted therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors may overcome the resistance seen in the clinic. Glycoprotein-A repetitions predominant (GARP) is a receptor for latent TGFβ that is highly expressed in cancer cells, activated Tregs, and platelets. Targeting GARP offers a unique and potentially safer option for modulating TGFβ signaling and has been shown in mouse models to overcome tumor resistance to ICB. The Accelerator Award funds will used to obtain pre-clinical and IND-enabling data to support a future Phase I clinical trial.


Jonathan Song
Induced Electric Field (iEF) Therapy for Treatment of Metastatic Cancers
College of Engineering | Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Metastasis of cancer cells is associated with a poor patient prognosis and is the foremost cause of cancer-related death, with approximately 90% of patients who succumb to cancer dying of metastatic disease. While current standard of care therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation treatment, can sometimes shrink or slowdown metastatic tumors, their therapeutic effects are most often temporary and are commonly associated with side effects and co-morbidities. There is a need for novel, safe, effective, and cost-effective anti-metastatic therapies that can either replace existing treatments or make current treatments more effective. The project has developed an induced electric field technology as a novel, non-invasive, and non-pharmaceutical method for limiting and preventing cancer metastasis. The Accelerator Award funds will enable us to develop a prototype for a device-based solution for treating metastatic cancer leading ultimately to human clinical trials.

Alper Yilmaz and Deepak Gulati
Machine Learning Tool Detection and Monitoring of Stroke
College of Engineering | Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering
Wexner Medical Center| Department of Neurology

Timely recognition of stroke along with follow-up monitoring remains a challenge. Major pain points include failure to timely detect and assess severity of stroke, monitoring patients during hospital and post-discharge for secondary prevention. Using stroke scales are correlated with better patient outcomes and reporting of stroke scales has an impact on reimbursement and stroke center certification, as mandated by Joint Commission and American Heart Association. The project has developed a technology to deploy an automated machine learning agent for detection severity and monitoring of stroke. The Accelerator Award funds will be used to complete a market research study to support and validate development of a mobile application that detects and monitors stroke through an audio-video-haptic interface in prehospital, hospital and posthospital settings.