Skandalaris Center

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WashU Technologies with a Positive Impact: Fall 2020 LEAP Funded Teams

Sydney Everett (Staff)
December 14, 2020

The Fall 2020 Skandalaris LEAP cycle has ended and a new set of translational research projects have been funded. LEAP is an asset development program and gap fund designed to provide intellectual and financial capital to WashU affiliate translational projects.

“LEAP provides an essential component to our innovation ecosystem. It is a forum for industry-academic interactions and verification of early-stage ideas”, shared II Luscri, Skandalaris Center Managing Director and Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. “These projects and innovations will join a long line of WashU technologies that positively impact so many industries.”

A panel of industry experts and community partners evaluated 22 projects on their advantage over the existing standard, the ability of the product to be advanced by an external partner, and the ability of the proposed scope of work to move the project towards partnering.

“[I’m proud of the] variety of resources and technologies at WashU, that create and develop the ideas and IP that can make world-changing improvements”, shared LEAP judge Jeff Melly. “LEAP and other programs are a great “give-back” to the researchers and humanity if these ideas are successful.”

Seven projects were selected to receive LEAP funds and accelerate their projects towards partnering and launching. LEAP is supported by Washington University in St. Louis' Institute of Clinical and Translational SciencesSiteman Cancer CenterSkandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and EntrepreneurshipCenter for Drug Discovery, and Office of Technology Management.

AIR Seal: A multi-purpose seal for Aerosol-blocking, Intubation, and Respiration (AIR)

AIR Seal allows for quick, easy ventilation of COVID-positive patients through a laryngeal mask airway (LMA) that is dynamically sealed to block viral aerosol transmission.

  • Vivian Lee – Graduate Student, Doctor of Medicine, School of Medicine
  • Mohamed Zayed – Vascular Surgeon, Assistant Professor of Surgery, School of Medicine
  • Chase Hartquist – Undergraduate / Graduate Student, Mechanical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering
  • Halle Lowe – Undergraduate / Graduate Student, Mechanical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering
  • Vinay Chandrasekaran – Undergraduate Student, Computer Science, McKelvey School of Engineering

Device and System for Preventing the Development of Pressure Ulcers

The first single-use disposable device capable of performing continuous bedside pressure monitoring, preventing pressure ulcer development / progression, and reducing hospital liability and spend related to pressure ulcer care.

  • Justin Sacks – Shoenberg Professor, Division Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, School of Medicine

EnhanceAR-Seq: A Liquid biopsy approach to personalize prostate cancer treatment

EnhanceAR-Seq lets the clinician personalize prostate cancer treatment through a blood-based liquid biopsy to improve patient survival.

  • Aadel Chaudhuri – Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, School of Medicine
  • Christopher Maher – Associate Professor, Oncology Division, Stem Cell Biology, School of Medicine
  • Russell Pachynski – Assistant Professor, Oncology Division, Molecular Oncology, School of Medicine

Flame-Assisted Additive Manufacturing (FLAAM)

FLAAM is a new approach to 3D printing of metals that is capable of fabricating novel components composed of many highly-desired materials that are not accessible in existing 3D printing processes including ultra-high temperature materials, materials with locally tailored properties, and entirely new metal alloys.

  • Richard Axelbaum – Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science, McKelvey School of Engineering
  • Phillip Irace – PhD Candidate, McKelvey School of Engineering
  • Kathy Flores – Professor, Mechanical Engineering & Material Science, McKelvey School of Engineering
  • Daniel Miracle – Senior Scientist, Aire Force Research Lab

Imaging Tools for the Early Detection of Kidney Disease

A sensitive, radiological imaging tool (RadioCF-PET) to detect kidney damage in its earliest stages to improve and facilitate personalized therapies to prevent or slow the development of kidney disease.

  • Edwin Baldelomar – Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Clinical Translational Sciences (ICTS)
  • Kevin Bennett – Associate Professor of Radiology, School of Medicine
  • Jennifer Charlton – Pediatric Nephrologist & Associate Professor, University of Virginia

A safe, attenuated Zika virus (ZIKV) to treat brain tumors

Aims to license the first safe and effective virus that specifically targets cancer stem cells, the most treatment-resistant cells in brain tumors.

  • Milan Chheda – Assistant Professor of Medicine and Neurology, School of Medicine
  • Michael Diamond – The Herbert S. Gasser Professor, Departments of Medicine, Molecular Microbiology, Pathology & Immunology, School of Medicine

SonoBiopsy: Improving molecular diagnosis of brain diseases by targeted sound

SonoBiopsy provides molecular diagnoses of brain diseases without surgery.

  • Hong Chen – Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering
  • Chris Pacia – Graduate Student, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering
  • Lu Xu – Graduate Student, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering

“The LEAP program is helpful beyond the funding. We benefitted from the process of writing the proposal, incorporating market research, and – most importantly – clearly defining what needs to be done to forge a successful licensing partnership,” Milan Chheda. “The multiple meetings with and feedback from the Skandalaris Center was incredibly important and educational.”

Project development does not end at funding. The LEAP staff and Skandalaris team will provide oversight on the deployment of funds and facilitate interactions with accelerators and potential partners. To read more about the Skandalaris LEAP program and how you can get involved, please visit the LEAP website.