Two Teams of UMass Amherst Faculty and One Faculty Member Receive Technology Development Awards from the Office of the President: UMass Amherst

Earlier this week, University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan announced that ten faculty research projects in the UMass system will each receive up to $25,000 from the Technology Development Fund, which helps bring breakthroughs to market. scientists in the five-campus system at the University of Massachusetts. Three of the winning projects are managed by UMass Amherst faculty. The fund is overseen by the Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures (OTCV) of the UMass President’s Office in Boston.

“As a public research university, UMass has a duty to drive innovation that strengthens the socioeconomic fabric of our communities, our nation, and the world,” said President Meehan. “Through these grants, we are investing in world-class faculty who accomplish our mission through their cutting-edge discoveries, attracting the highest quality collaborators, and bringing research results to market. »

Technology Development Fund scholarships provide additional funding to help bridge the gap between UMass research discoveries and proven technologies that address the most pressing issues facing the region, nation, and world, often throwing the foundations for major breakthroughs.

“These faculty projects demonstrate how UMass continues to achieve long-term growth and achievement in its marketing business,” said Carl Rust, executive director of industry engagement and business development, who oversees the OTCV initiative.

This year’s UMass Amherst recipients of the $25,000 Technology Development Fund awards include:

carlos gradilDepartment of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

This project advances a novel, physics-based, “frameless” magnetic contraceptive intrauterine device (IUD) specifically designed to fit the female body. The long-acting magnetic device offers the same effectiveness as current IUDs, but with greater security, easy insertion and removal, and reduced risk of pain without the need for wires. Modified devices will include traditional copper coatings to make these IUDs capable of providing a reliable, non-hormonal contraceptive option.

Alexander Suvorov and Richard J. PilsnerDepartment of Environmental Health Sciences

The team examines how advanced paternal age at the time of fertilization is a risk factor for many health problems in offspring, including neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders and different forms of cancer. Researchers have developed a therapeutic intervention that resets sperm’s encoded epigenetic information to a more youthful state. Significant demand is anticipated for these therapies that will restore the “youthful” epigenetic program in the sperm of older men to ensure healthy offspring.

Adam Grabel and Tauhidur RahmanDepartment of Psychological and Brain Sciences

The team created EarlyScreen, a game and laboratory algorithm that detects the presence of psychological disorders in preschool children with a high degree of accuracy compared to commonly used diagnostic tools. Psychological disorders appearing in the first years of life often persist through later developmental stages and into adulthood, resulting in significant impairment and social costs. Emerging signs of psychological disorders are difficult to differentiate from normative bad behavior in early childhood, creating a “when to worry” problem for caregivers and providers. EarlyScreen’s algorithm automatically extracts features such as facial expressions, gaze and head movements from video footage.

Ruby A. Robillard