SUNY Chancellor King Announces Grants to Fund Groundbreaking Technologies to Treat Serious Illnesses and Protect the Environment

September 15, 2023

Seed Funding From SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund to Research New Technologies With Implications for Protecting Drinking Water, Treating Cancer and Kidney Disease, and Capturing Carbon Dioxide

$450K in Funding Eliminates Significant Financial Barriers for Faculty Inventors and Scientists, Helps Turn Research Into Market-ready Technology

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today announced that $450,000 in seed funding through the Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) has been distributed to eight SUNY campuses. The grants will fund nine ongoing, potentially groundbreaking research opportunities on technologies intended to treat serious illnesses and safeguard our environment, such as removing harmful chemicals from drinking water, treating cancer and kidney disease, and capturing carbon dioxide (CO2).

Funded by SUNY and managed by the SUNY Research Foundation, TAF helps faculty inventors and scientists turn their research into market-ready technologies, targeting critical research and development milestones—such as feasibility studies, prototyping, and testing—which demonstrate that an idea or innovation has commercial potential. The goal is to increase their attractiveness to potential investors. TAF funding is awarded through a competitive process that weighs several factors, including the availability of intellectual property protection, marketability, commercial potential, feasibility, and breadth of impact.

Since the launch of TAF in 2011, SUNY has invested over $3 million in the program to successfully advance the commercial readiness of 65 innovations born at SUNY campuses. The program has catalyzed follow-on investment of an additional $16 million from development partners, including government agencies, industry licensees, and early-stage investors.

"SUNY faculty are leading the way in cutting-edge research in areas like health and sustainability, and we are proud to help turn SUNY research into real-life solutions at scale," said SUNY Chancellor King. "We commend the work of our SUNY researchers, especially those awarded TAF grants this year. We remain committed to doubling research and solving some of the most pressing issues facing humanity."

The TAF funding recipients include:

  • Removing Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) from Drinking Water: More than 6 million Americans are consuming water containing these persistent manmade chemicals. CNSE/University at Albany Professor Yanna Liang developed an effective, green, scalable, and sustainable approach for removing PFAS from drinking water.
  • Deep-penetrating Lidocaine Topical Gel: Binghamton University researchers Anthony Di Pasqua and Mengwei Sun created a new topical lidocaine formulation that circumvents the need for painful injections. The novel formulation demonstrates substantially higher levels of delivery of lidocaine to the target area when compared to products currently on the market.
  • Membrane for Highly Efficient CO2 Capture: University at Buffalo Empire Innovation Program Professor Miao Yu is engineering various nanoporous materials as the basic building blocks for advanced nanostructures that either selectively adsorb or allow selective permeation of CO2.
  • Drug to Treat Vascular Access Stenosis and Thrombosis: SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Professor Moro Salifu developed a novel peptide drug to treat vascular access stenosis and thrombosis in kidney-failure patients on hemodialysis.
  • Sustainable Wastewater Treatment: SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry Professor Wendong Tao invented a patented system that strips ammonia from wastewater and uses the recovered chemicals to produce fertilizer.
  • Artificial Intelligence Framework for Tumor Diagnostics: CNSE/University at Albany Associate Professor Janet Paluh has developed software and hardware that use deep learning artificial intelligence to help neurosurgeons and health care providers identify and treat neuropathologies and vascular issues in the brain.
  • Green Polymer Nanocomposites: Stony Brook University researcher Alexander Orlov created an environmentally friendly and cost-effective method for producing functionalized cellulose for use as a nanofiller in high-performance polymer composites.
  • Treatment for Flaviviruses: SUNY Upstate Medical University Professor Adam Waickman has developed a new class of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of flaviviruses (which included dengue virus, Zika virus, and Powassan virus) that have been shown to neutralize the viruses with no infection-enhancing side effects.
  • Regenerative Wound Healing: SUNY Upstate Medical University Professor Audrey Bernstein has developed a targeted gene silencing technology that is an effective treatment for corneal scarring resulting from mechanical injuries, burns, infections, or surgery.
About the SUNY Research Foundation

The SUNY Research Foundation (RF) is the largest comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the country and supports a vibrant research ecosystem that cultivates innovation and entrepreneurship across multiple key areas including Artificial Intelligence, Clean Energy, Biotechnology, Longevity, Substance Addiction, Nextgen Quantum Computing, Environmental Health, and Resiliency.

Driving social impact, enhancing human wellbeing, and stimulating economic growth, the RF 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 enduring partnerships that shape the future.

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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