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Engineering Profs Receive Tech Development Grants

Lowell Faculty Earn 3 of 7 CVIP Awards

Ramaswamy Nagarajan

By For more information, contact or 978-934-3224


Teams of UMass Lowell researchers led by Asst. Profs. Xingwei Wang of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ramaswamy Nagarajan of Plastics Engineering and Zhiyong Gu of Chemical Engineering have been chosen to receive three of this year’s seven grants from the UMass Commercial Ventures & Intellectual Property (CVIP) Technology Development Fund. The rest of the grantees are from UMass Amherst and the UMass Medical Center. Each team will receive $25,000 in funding.

The teams’ research work and their corresponding technologies, which were selected from dozens of faculty submissions from the five UMass campuses, are considered breakthroughs with the most significant commercial potential.

Wang and ECE postdoctoral research associate Dr. Wenhui Wang were awarded for their proposal to develop a disposable miniature blood-pressure sensor that cardiologists can use to find out the location and severity of a blockage in the coronary artery and decide which treatment to give patients: medication, angioplasty or bypass surgery. Such a pressure sensor can reduce unnecessary stents in approximately 25 percent of the cases and result in $2 billion in medical savings. The CVIP funding will be used to support lab tests.

Nagarajan, Prof. Julie Chen of Mechanical Engineering, and Prof. Joey Mead and graduate student Sharavanan Balsubramaniam of Plastics Engineering have come up with a novel class of low-temperature, processable metallic inks for use in flexible electronics and radio-frequency (RF) applications. The CVIP fund will provide the opportunity to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of this new low-cost manufacturing technique in flexible electronics, such as RF identification tags.

Gu, Chen and postdoctoral research associate Dr. Qingzhou Cui of Mechanical Engineering have developed novel nano shell particles as catalysts for energy production and environmental remediation applications. Initial studies of these nano shell catalysts have shown promise in hydrogen generation and fuel-cell applications. Funds from CVIP will help the team improve the catalytic efficiency, to scale up and investigate multiple catalytic materials and reactions, and to identify potential licensees.

CVIP is responsible for the commercialization of discoveries made on all UMass campuses. Licensing of UMass intellectual property generated $37,686,000 in fiscal year 2008 for the University.

Over the past six years, the CVIP fund has made a total of 41 awards for technology commercialization, including more than $3 million in new research funding.

“These grants allow the University to support faculty-developed innovations with the potential to change science, commerce and people’s lives,” says UMass President Jack Wilson, who established the fund in 2004. “As the Commonwealth’s public research University, the University of Massachusetts serves as an innovation engine for the Commonwealth, fostering the development of new technologies that create new companies and new jobs in Massachusetts.”

- Edwin_Aguirre

Xingwei Wang
Zhiyong Gu