FSU researchers win GAP awards to propel work from lab to market

Six Florida State University researchers are getting some extra cash from the university to help transform promising research into viable products for the global marketplace.

Researchers Pradeep Bhide, Biwu Ma, Geoffrey Strouse, Mykhailo Shatruk, Wei Yang and Jianping Zheng will receive a combined amount of $155,000 from FSU’s GAP program to work on projects such as a new drug to treat cognitive inflexibility, organic light emitting diodes and a hybrid battery and capacitor.

“We have some outstanding faculty at Florida State,” said FSU Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander. “This program gives them the financial support to help move their ideas to the next level and explore business opportunities that could arise from their research endeavors.”

The GAP program provides university researchers with funding to help prepare their work for commercialization and potentially find outside investors. Over the past 10 years, it has doled out nearly $2.2 million to help researchers develop products such as new cancer treatments, food contamination test kits and next-generation wound dressings.

Ten researchers presented their ideas last month to a volunteer panel of local business men and women, in addition to Ostrander and Office of Commercialization Director Brent Edington. After a deliberation and budgeting process, the panel agreed to fund five projects.

“This is a direct help to researchers,” Edington said. “This will allow them to get their technologies ready for commercialization.”
The winning projects are:

  • A new treatment for cognitive inflexibility: Bhide, director of the Center for Brain Repair at the FSU College of Medicine, is developing a new, non-stimulant drug to treat cognitive inflexibility. Cognitive inflexibility hampers a child’s ability to learn by making it difficult to switch between thinking about one concept to another or multiple concepts simultaneously. Aspects of cognitive inflexibility are found in autism, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. It affects roughly 25 million people, but no drug has been developed specifically to treat this condition.
  • Organic light emitting diodes (LEDs): Ma, associate professor of chemical engineering, is working with a class of materials called perovskites to build organic LEDs. Perovskites are any materials that have the same type of crystal structure as calcium titanium oxide. Perovskites have shown tremendous potential in creating LEDs that are both more cost efficient and brighter than traditional LEDs.
  • Nanostructured permanent magnets: Strouse, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Shatruk, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, have developed a new process to make permanent magnets that are cheaper and less dependent on rare-earth metals.
  • Computational drug discovery: Yang, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is developing a computer-aided drug design system using novel approaches, which will substantially decrease the time and cost associated with drug development. The computer-aided drug design system is based on an algorithm that predicts the efficacy of potential drug molecules.
  • Hybrid li-oin battery and li-ion capacitor: Jianping Zheng, professor of electrical and computer engineering, is an expert in supercapacitor technology and has been working on creating a hybrid lithium battery and capacitor that would provide both the energy and the power sources.