March 22, 2011

Contact: Susan Stewart, 865-974-4086

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Three groups of University of Tennessee Knoxville researchers have been awarded a total of $150,000 in Technology Maturation Fund awards from the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation.

The awards support promising technologies in moving from the lab to the proof-of-concept or prototype stage to attract additional investor support or secure third-party licensing deals in the areas of the life sciences, engineering, materials sciences, computer sciences and other high-technology industries. The grants support technologies that have already received some funding, but need additional support to reach the commercialization stage.

University of Tennessee recipients include the following:

• Jimmy Mays, Ph.D., UT Knoxville, Department of Chemistry, for “Superelastomers: New Thermoplastic Elastomers Based on Multigraft Copolymers,” $50,000

• Gary Sayler, Ph.D., Seung Baek, Ph.D., Dan Close and Steven Ripp, Ph.D., Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Joint Institute for Biological Sciences and Department of Pathobiology, for “Novel Bioluminescent Cell Lines for Advanced Biomedical Imaging Technologies,” $50,000

• Michael Zemel, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at UT Knoxville and chief scientific officer of Nutraceutical Discoveries Inc. (NDI), for “Innutria, Weight-Management Solution for Pets,” $50,000. NDI is an established spin-off business, doing additional research to further their company.

Two of the three groups developed and submitted their proposals through the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF). UTRF is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that promotes the commercialization of University of Tennessee intellectual property. The NDI proposal was submitted independently, but utilizes technology developed at UT and licensed from UTRF.

“We are pleased that these UT projects were selected for funding by TTDC,” said Ann Roberson, interim vice president of UTRF’s Knoxville technology transfer office. “This funding will help move the technologies forward to a stage where they can be commercialized as new products and services that will benefit the public.”

The UT recipients are three of eight total awards by TTDC. Other recipients include 4D Medical Systems, Foundation Instruments, LED North America, Phenotype Screening Corporation and Venture Incite/Y-12 National Security Complex.