Five SUNY Campuses to Advance Innovations for Treatment of Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, and Spinal Cord Disorders

August 14, 2014

$250,000 In Technology Accelerator Fund Investments Announced

Albany – The State University of New York today announced that $250,000 has been awarded to five campus research projects through the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF), which accelerates the development and commercialization of innovations by SUNY faculty, students, and staff.

The projects, which will each receive $50,000, include advances in the pharmaceutical industry, chemical processing, metrology, and biomedical sciences.

“Technologies and treatments founded on SUNY campuses can be life-altering, and this important program allows us to speed the development and commercial success of our best ideas and innovations,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Projects supported by this most recent round of TAF funding could have an astounding impact on the health and well-being of New York’s citizens, industries, and communities. Congratulations to each of the awardees.”

“We’re honored to support this latest testament to SUNY’s extraordinary research capacity,” said Dr. Tim Killeen, SUNY vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Foundation for SUNY (RF). “TAF awards target critical research and development milestones – such as feasibility studies, prototyping, and testing – that demonstrate that an idea or innovation has commercial potential. Our goal is to help students and faculty increase the attractiveness of their discoveries to potential outside investors.”

Since 2011, the TAF program has invested more than $1.3 million in funding to support the advancement of SUNY innovations from the lab to the marketplace. External partners, including federal agencies, industry licensees and angel investors, have invested an additional $1.8 million in TAF-funded projects.

Projects to receive this round of TAF funding are as follows:

  • M. Mahmood Hussain, Ph.D., distinguished professor of cell biology and pediatrics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, is developing a novel drug based on small endogenous RNAs to reduce hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis. This new class of drug could be the first inhibitor that lowers circulating lipids without the serious side effects of toxic buildup of fats in the liver, which can cause the organ to fail. The investment from TAF will enable the research team to conduct animal studies requested by several external development partners that have expressed interest in collaborating with Dr. Hussain.
  • Douglas S. Conklin, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical sciences at the University at Albany, is repurposing an existing drug that targets blood cells as a chemotherapeutic agent for a more effective treatment of breast cancer.  TAF’s investment in this technology will enable the research team to validate that their treatment works in preclinical breast cancer testing.
  • Wayne E Jones, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of chemistry at Binghamton University, has developed a process to bind organic dyes to metal oxides, enabling the use of a wider array of industrial dyes. At the same time, the resulting nanomaterial is better protected from degradation when exposed to elevated processing temperatures in applications that would destroy the dyes alone. The process will benefit a variety of light-altering applications, including laser welding and shielding, filters for solar cells, displays, invisible bar coding, eyewear protection, and synthetic fibers. The TAF investment will allow the Jones lab to further test, evaluate, and characterize materials, and enable their use in industrial, military and consumer products.
  • Jason Armstrong, Ph.D., teaching assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Buffalo, is developing a high-resolution metrology system capable of studying materials and devices as small as a single atom. This U.S. patented system will enable the development of devices and advanced materials that are smaller, lighter and have greater capability for use in smartphones, tablets, medical devices, space and defense applications, etc. The investment from TAF provides the necessary funding for the development of a marketable system.
  • Thomas F. Floyd, MD, professor of anesthesiology at Stony Brook University, is developing a disposable spinal cord probe, and related software, to measure spinal cord blood flow and oxygenation. The probe will enable physicians to predict and prevent, in real time, the onset of spinal cord ischemia, which can lead to paralysis. The investment from TAF will provide the funds needed to develop a go-to-market disposable probe.

These technologies were selected for investment through a rigorous evaluation process, with input from external experts in various fields of science, technology, and business development. Factors considered for the awards include the availability of intellectual property protection, marketability, commercial potential, feasibility, and breadth of impact.


About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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