FSU funding helps researchers bring ideas to marketplace

Projects to improve genetic testing, a replacement for rare-earth magnets and an app that will help treat ADHD all earned funding through a Florida State University program to support researchers adapting their work to the marketplace.

FSU’s Office of the Vice President for Research awarded a pot of $130,650 as part of the Fall 2019 Grant Assistance Program. The event, organized by the Office of Commercialization, is held twice per year.

The program helps promising academic work transition to possible commercial ventures. FSU researchers pitch their proposals to a panel of university and business leaders, who select the funding recipients.

“The GAP program funds projects that show promise in adapting research results into a publicly available new product or service,” said Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander. “Based on our past success in bringing ideas to market, we are excited about the possibilities to continue that trend.”

The winning proposals were:

  • A faster, cheaper way to sequence genomes: Alan Lemmon, an associate professor of scientific computing, and Emily Moriarty Lemmon, an associate professor of biological science, have developed a way to assess variation in genetic sequences that could be 90 percent cheaper and faster than currently used methods. It has applications for a variety of industries, including agriculture, medicine, DNA fingerprinting and more. They will use the funding to improve their protocol to handle more samples and reduce costs.
  • A new way to make magnets: Ke Han, a research faculty member at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, developed a new processing method for making cobalt-platinum alloys that can be used in place of rare earths in permanent magnets. Certain rare earth metals are essential to making magnets in things like cellphones or medical devices, but companies in the U.S. mostly depend on China for these materials. Han’s method will offer an alternative that has the added benefit of increased corrosion resistance compared to many other magnetic materials. He will use the funding to scale up production and do quality control tests. 
  • An app to treat ADHD: Michael Kofler, an associate professor of psychology, plans to use the funding to make an ADHD treatment option more widely available. Kofler has developed an evidence-based treatment known as central executive training, which provides long-term benefits in executive function and reduces symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Because many parents refuse ADHD medication for their children, treatments that don’t use medication are in demand. The training program is already available online, and Kofler will use the funding to make it available on smartphones or on platforms like PlayStation and Xbox.

Funding was provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research. For more information about the GAP competition, visit the FSU Office of Commercialization.