Polsky Spring I-Corps Cohort Covers Healthcare, AI Projects and More

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The I-Corps program is specially designed for participants working on projects related to STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). (Image credit: iStock.com/ismagilov)

Ten teams are participating in the Spring 2021 cohort of the Polsky I-Corps program – a highly experiential 7-week program for scientists, researchers and students to test the commercial potential of their research and ideas.

Open to other Chicago-area institutions, this year’s spring cohort includes participants from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, among other universities, in addition to teams from all of the University of Chicago, including the Division of Biological Sciences (BSD), Division of Physical Sciences (PSD) and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME).

The ten teams will receive a grant of $ 2,500 from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which may lead to further training and funding opportunities through the NSF’s National I-Corps Program, Research Program on Innovation for Small Business (SBIR) and Technology Transfer for Small Business (STTR) program.

The spring 2021 cohort includes:

  • Acapala // Acapala transforms the experience of reading research papers with an integrated, one-stop-shop AI-powered web reader that offers accurate summaries, knowledge graphs, jargon definitions and reading recommendations.
    • (Team members: Tianle Liu, student, University of Chicago; Jinyi Ye, student, Communication University of China; Junhong Shen, student, University of California at Los Angeles)
  • Concilio // Concilio has developed a nanoparticle platform that efficiently delivers therapeutic nucleotides to cells of interest to more effectively treat cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.
    • (Team Members: Yun Fang, Associate Professor, University of Chicago BSD; Patricia Tsao, Unaffiliated; Ponmile Oloyede, Student, Chicago Booth)
  • FLUX Medical // FLOW Medical is developing a multifunction catheter for the diagnosis and treatment of venous thromboembolism, enabling more efficient pressure measurement, delivery of contrast agents for diagnosis and prolonged infusion of drugs.
    • (Team Members: Jonathan Paul, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago BSD; Osman Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Radiology, University of Chicago BSD; Chloe Fu, Student, Chicago Booth; Spencer Coffin, Student, Chicago Booth)
  • OrisDx // OrisDx has designed an assay based on next-generation sequencing of molecular biomarkers to screen, diagnose, monitor and treat oral cavity cancers with an inexpensive, rapid and accurate method.
    • (Team Members: Nishant Agrawal, Professor of Surgery, University of Chicago BSD; Evgeny Izumchenko, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago BSD; Rifat Hasina, Research Professional, University of Chicago BSD; Jake Stangl, Student, Chicago Booth)
  • Childbirth health // Partum Health provides families with evidence-based care and support plans from providers that complement obstetrics and pediatrics through an interdisciplinary model and platform.
    • (Team Members: Meghan Doyle, Unaffiliated; Matt Rogers, Unaffiliated; Rishi Shah, Student, Chicago Booth; Chelsea Troy, Lecturer, University of Chicago PSD)
  • Biotech Promontory // Promontory Biotech has identified top-notch claudin channel blockers to modulate nutrient transport in the gastrointestinal tract and treat bowel disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
    • (Team Members: Chris Weber, Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Chicago BSD; Le Shen, Associate Research Professor, University of Chicago BSD; Fatemeh Khalili, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago; Becca Butler, Student, University of Chicago Social Science Division; Hollis Rhone, student, McGill University; Emma Wu, unaffiliated)
  • ReZilient Power // ReZilient Power is developing a low-cost, long-lasting energy storage solution that mitigates the volatility of renewable electricity generation and provides resilience against severe weather events or disasters.
    • (Team Members: Nigel Becknell, Argonne Scholar, Argonne National Laboratory; Sanja Tepavcevic, Associate Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory; Pietro Papa Lopes, Associate Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory; Andrew Seto, Student, University of Chicago)
  • SynthBits // SynthBits is developing molecular spin qubits with integrated photonic interface technology, enabling remote measurements of very localized effects with a wide range of potential health applications.
    • (Team members: Berk Kovos, student, University of Chicago PME; Leah Weiss, post-doctoral fellow, PME; Ben Rachman, student, Chicago Booth; Daniel Laorenza, student, Northwestern University)
  • Tam Technologies // Tam Technologies is developing a highly accurate 3D body scanning platform that generates personalized avatars, enabling fashion designers and brands to design for their customers and tailor models without the need for in-person fittings.
    • (Team Members: Janice Tam, Student, Chicago Booth; Margaret Tam, Unaffiliated)
  • Vector database // VectorDB is building the next generation of data engines designed for the analysis of multidimensional (vector) data, which is becoming an essential part of the infrastructure for modern applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things .
    • (Team Members: John Paparrizos, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Chicago Department of Computer Science, PSD; Aaron Elmore, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago Department of Computer Science, PSD; Michael Franklin, Chair Liew Family Computing, Senior Advisor to Provost on Computation and Data Science, Chairman, Department of Computing; Lara Liu, Student, Chicago Booth)

All teams receive entrepreneurial education and training from world-class faculty and staff at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, in addition to one-on-one mentoring and coaching, access resources and training from the Polsky Center. No previous business or entrepreneurship experience is required to be accepted into the program.

// For more information, contact Ellen Zatkowski.


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