The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Fall 2016 UConn SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund Program. The SPARK program provides critical early-stage funding to help investigators from UConn-Storrs and UConn Health (UCH) advance promising ideas along the innovation continuum toward commercialization.

“While UConn’s research pipeline remains strong, accessing critical proof-of-concept funding for early-stage projects is very difficult,” said Dr. Jeff Seemann, UConn/UConn Health Vice President for Research. “The SPARK program aims to fill that gap so that innovative discoveries made in UConn labs can eventually make it to market where they can benefit the citizens of Connecticut and have a positive impact on the state’s economic growth and development.”

The selection committee included UConn/UConn Health faculty and staff leaders, entrepreneurs and senior executives from top pharmaceutical, biotech and venture capital firms. Through this valuable proof-of-concept funding program, participating UConn researchers not only advance their promising technologies toward the market, they also connect with and learn from the committee members representing various industries. As was the case last year, the committee members were truly impressed by the science and innovation conveyed in all 16 presentations.

The committee selected the following seven proposals from a highly competitive pool of finalists:

Dr. Ki Chon, UConn, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Waterproof Leadless Armband for Continuous Wireless Monitoring for Atrial Fibrillation

Dr. Charles Giardina, UConn, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
Development of Compounds Synthetically Lethal to APC-Mutant Cancer Cells

Dr. Marc Lalande, UConn Health, Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences
Blocking DNA Binding as Therapy for Prader-Willi Syndrome

Dr. Les Loew & Dr. Corey Acker, UConn Health, Department of Cell Biology, Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling
Voltage Sensitive Dyes for Cell-Based High Throughput Drug and Toxicological Screening

Dr. Syam Nukavarapu, UConn Health, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Biodegradable Osteochondral Graft

Dr. Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos & Dr. Nicole Wagner, UConn, Institute of Materials Science/Department of Chemistry
Characterization of Diffusion and Stability of a Novel Protein-Based Retinal Implant

Dr. Ted Rasmussen, UConn, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Proprietary Nucleic Acid Pharmaceuticals that Target Noncoding RNA for Cardioprotection

Congratulations, SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund Recipients!


The UConn SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund Program is managed by the Office of the Vice President for Research.