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The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) and AgResearch at the UT Institute for Agriculture have selected five researchers/research teams from UT Knoxville and the UT Institute of Agriculture to receive technology development grants for 2011.

The grants were awarded through the maturation program, which means that submitted projects and proposals must have been related to an existing UT invention/creation disclosure or accompanied by a new UT invention/creation disclosure.

The maturation program has already shown how modest amounts of funding can significantly impact the potential success of an invention and attract additional funding for research and commercialization. Prior to this year’s investment, UTRF funded 29 projects over three years for a total of $180,000. As a result, these projects have attracted almost 14 times that investment in follow-on federal funding and corporate matching funds.

The grant recipients:

UT Knoxville:

• Gary Sayler, Steven Ripp and Dan Close (Center for Environmental Biotechnology) and Seung Baek (Department of Pathobiology) to detect bioluminescent proteins using standard imaging techniques

UT Knoxville/UT Institute of Agriculture (joint proposal):

• Jayne Wu (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) and Shige Eda (Department of Animal Sciences, Institute of Agriculture) for development of a bacterial diagnostic device based on lab-on-a-chip technology

UT Institute of Agriculture:

• Raul Almeida, Doug Luther and Maria Prado (Department of Animal Sciences) for developing a vaccine for several strep-based illnesses

• Muthu Balasubramaniam, Blake Joyce and Neal Stewart (Department of Plant Sciences) for developing plants that can sense arsenic and other pathogens

• Zong-Ming (Max) Cheng (Department of Plant Sciences) for work that allows crops to withstand multiple environmental stresses such as drought and heat