Innovation Hub Funds Jacobs School Entrepreneurial Team

Published January 29, 2020

In the eight months since the University at Buffalo and partners launched the Innovation Hub, seven entrepreneurial teams — including one from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences — have received funding from the initiative.

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The seven recipients were awarded a combined $500,000 from the initiative to advance promising new technologies that aim to solve pressing societal challenges.

“Each of these accelerator awardees is a testament to the true talent and ingenuity at UB and our research partners,” says Christina P. Orsi, associate vice president for economic development.

Developing Non-Opioid Pain Medication

The team from the Jacobs School is comprised of:

Given the national opioid crisis, many in the medical community have greatly reduced their prescriptions. With that change comes the need for good alternatives to treat post-surgical and chronic pain. Thus, the team is developing non-opioid analgesics, which promise long-lasting post-surgical pain control. 

The researchers received a $98,777 award that will enable them to demonstrate efficacy at 24 hours in a post-surgical pain model, provide evidence of reduction in pain behavior and characterize the extended analgesia duration.

Innovations Include Cobots, Improved Batteries

One team from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), which received a $55,720 award, is focused on making cobots — collaborative robots able to physically interact with humans — a reality with a robot hand that is safe to interact with humans.

Another SEAS team received a $62,320 award to investigate the production, characterization and testing of silicon-carbon nanostructures for lithium-ion battery anodes.

A third SEAS team is using its $50,000 award to create an energy-harvesting device that will capture energy from a beating heart to power a leadless pacemaker, which will result in more efficient implants and reduce the need for follow-up procedures for patients.

With an $87,000 award, a researcher at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is focusing on the development of an anti-mortality drug for hypoxic lung disease.

A team from the College of Arts and Sciences was awarded $81,250 for its work on developing a new drug and application that promises to treat diabetes while also reducing blood sugar weight.

A professor from the School of Dental Medicine and a UB Distinguished Professor from SEAS comprise another team, which has been awarded $64,000 for working to find a solution to the ethical and patient concerns around regenerative bone therapy.

Closing Gap Between Innovators, Marketplace

“Innovation Hub is closing the gap between innovators and the marketplace by connecting researchers, students and clinicians to the funding, facilities and expertise they need to commercialize their ideas more rapidly and effectively,” notes Orsi.

“We’re very excited about this inaugural cohort and look forward to their continued progress in advancing toward market readiness.”

The Innovation Hub, also known as I-Hub, supports entrepreneurship with a soon-to-be built incubator center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, a $13.5 million accelerator investment fund, as well as startup outreach and support services.

Innovation Hub, funded through a $32 million Buffalo Billion II grant commitment from New York State, supports moving innovative, technology-driven solutions to current and future problems to have a wide-ranging positive local, national and global impact. 

Applicants must be from UB or partner organizations Roswell Park, The Jacobs Institute, Hauptmann-Woodward Medical Research Institute and Kaleida Health.