SUNY Announces DUB Biologics and CyberSpara $50,000 Winners of SUNY Startup Summer School Class of 2023 Demo Day

August 14, 2023

Photos From the Event Available Here 

Albany, NY
– State University of New York today announced the $50,000 winners of the SUNY Startup Summer School (S4) Class of 2023 Demo Day, a competitive program designed to showcase the most promising technologies and startups being developed by participants, including 179 SUNY students, faculty, and staff in emerging technologies fields spanning 27 different SUNY campuses. The SUNY Startup Summer School, now in its fifth year, offers entrepreneurial education and training to help students and faculty secure the initial funding needed to get their technology to market. 

The two winners are: 

  • DUB Biologics from Upstate Medical University 
    • Headed by co-founders Professor Audrey Bernstein and Research Associate Tere Williams; regarding siRNA therapeutic that increases the rate of wound closure and protects against pathogenic infection that may contribute to scarring. 
  • CyberSpara from SUNY Canton 
    • Headed by CyberSpara founder and Associate Professor and Director of the Advanced Information Security and Privacy (AISP) Research Lab, Kambiz Ghazinour; regarding DigitalPASS, a scenario-based simulation platform that helps individuals and organizations to stay safe online.

In addition to the capital received from the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund Catalyst Investment, DUB Biologics and CyberSpara will also receive secondary support from SUNY to identify and write strong proposals for grant funding, which will allow the teams to continue commercializing their technology. 

"At SUNY, we create educational opportunities that lead to research and scholarship helping to solve society's greatest issues. At the same time, programs like the SUNY Startup Summer School build on our strategy to open avenues to greater student success and upward mobility," said SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. "Throughout the summer, our students and faculty have had the exciting opportunity to participate in a fast-paced program for the next generation of business leaders which teaches crucial entrepreneurial skills that enable them to make their technologies accessible to the world. I want to congratulate this year's winners, DUB Biologics and CyberSpara, on this significant achievement, and I wish them much success in utilizing the skills they have learned this summer going forward."  

SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran said, "Congratulations to Associate Professor Kambiz Ghazinour for his remarkable achievement in winning the SUNY Startup Summer School Class of 2023 Demo Day. Dr. Ghazinour's innovative work exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that SUNY Canton fosters. We are proud to have Dr. Ghazinour as a part of our academic community, and his success inspires our students and faculty. Here's to a future where technology and education combine for a safer digital world."

Upstate Medical University President Dr. Mantosh Dewan said, "The work of Professor Audrey Bernstein, PhD, and Senior Research Support Specialist Tere Williams demonstrates the heart of Upstate Medical University's mission—research, patient care, and education. Their siRNA therapeutic, designed to promote wound closure and protect against infection and scarring, displays the cutting-edge advantage of collaboration within an academic medical center. Congratulations to Dr. Bernstein and Tere Williams on their win during the SUNY Startup Summer School Class of 2023 Demo Day and thank you to SUNY for providing these impressive and valuable partnership opportunities." 

This year's panel of judges included: 

  • Marcia Mitchell, Director, New York Ventures, Empire State Development
  • Seth Mulligan, Senior Director, Innovation and Partnerships, Griffiss Institute
  • Patty Rechberger, Innovation Fund Manager, FuzeHub
  • Noa Conger Simons, President and CEO, Upstate Capital Association of New York

All S4 participating teams will continue to receive coaching and mentoring from the successful entrepreneurs and seasoned executives included in SUNY Venture Advisors to support additional business development and commercialization in the coming months. 

S4 is an annual business accelerator program that aims to identify, educate, and build strong entrepreneurial teams in order to bring SUNY technologies to market. The program offers virtual accelerated entrepreneurial education and training for participants to help them secure the initial funding needed to get their technology to market. S4 participation has increased from 84 students, faculty, and staff participants in 2019, to 179 participants this year, representing 113% growth. 

Across SUNY, campuses are conducting leading research, and inspiring the next generation of scientists and innovators. The SUNY system enables countless collaborative possibilities in science and engineering, with a network of world-renowned researchers and pioneering R&D facilities, tools, and capabilities. SUNY's leading research campuses include University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Stony Brook University 

SUNY supports a research ecosystem that cultivates innovation and entrepreneurship across key areas including artificial intelligence, clean energy, biotechnology, longevity, substance addiction, quantum computing, environmental health, and resiliency. Driving social impact, enhancing human wellbeing, and stimulating economic growth, the SUNY Research Foundation provides SUNY's 30 state-operated campuses with an infrastructure of people, technology, and processes that enables faculty to write and submit grant proposals to agencies, foundations, and companies; establish contracts and manage funding awarded to run campus-based research projects; protect and commercialize intellectual property created within those projects; and establish partnerships. 

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, 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 2022, 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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