Chancellor Malatras Announces Winners of SUNY Startup Summer School Class of 2021

August 11, 2021

Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical Teams Awarded $20,000 to Help Fund Their Small Business Proposals in the Emerging Technologies Fields

Photos From The Virtual Event Available Here

Albany, NY
– State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras today announced the Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical teams as the grant winners of the SUNY Startup Summer School (S4) Class of 2021 Demo Day, designed to showcase grant proposals and research of 153 SUNY students and faculty in the emerging technologies fields. Recent studies show small businesses employ nearly 50 percent of American workers, and about 43 percent of American businesses were at least temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with employment falling by about 40 percent.

The winners of the SUNY Startup Summer School (S4) Class of 2021 Demo Day are:

  • Orchid Imaging: Rong Zhao of Stony Brook University
  • Taurus Diagnostics: Gennady Bratslavsky & Thomas Sanford of Upstate Medical

"Being an entrepreneur takes a strong team working together collaboratively, and that's especially the case with breakthrough research," said Chancellor Malatras. "Programs like the SUNY Startup Summer School help to give our students, faculty, and staff opportunities where they wouldn't have them otherwise. Our SUNY participants are helping spur innovation crucial to society. I'm excited by what we're doing—and we need to do more. This is where we give students—no matter their background—opportunities to succeed. My congratulations to this year's winners from Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical, as well as all the participants that made this year's competition a success."

SUNY Board of Trustee Courtney Burke said, "SUNY's innovative and research power can be found throughout our system in labs, fieldwork, the classroom, and the S4 competition has brought together the best and brightest minds who are looking to use their talents to better support entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout New York State as we work to rebuild after the pandemic. Over the span of nearly three months, faculty, students, and staff worked tirelessly at their proposals and fine-tuning their pitches, while receiving assistance from experts and connecting with industry leaders. The Board congratulates the winners from Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical for their accomplishment, and thanks all participants for making this year's competition an exciting one—we look forward to seeing many of these ideas brought to life in the coming months."

S4 provides faculty, students, and staff with the knowledge and networks that will enable them to commercialize breakthrough technology and offers virtual accelerated entrepreneurial education and training for participants to help them secure the initial funding needed to get their technology to market.

This year's competition saw a 20 percent increase in participation from the previous year:

  • 153 faculty, students, and staff participated in 2021
  • 22 SUNY campuses were involved in this year's program

Today's two winning teams, in addition to each earning a $10,000 S4 Technology Accelerator Fund Catalyst Investment, will also receive follow-on support from SUNY to identify and write strong proposals for grant funding, which will allow the teams to continue commercializing their technology. In addition, The Venture Advisors—successful entrepreneurs and seasoned executives—will continue to serve as mentors and coaches to the most promising teams from the S4 Class of 2021, providing additional business development and commercialization support in the coming months.

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 state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in 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 2021, 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 opportunity, visit

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