UWM Research Foundation announces new Catalyst Grants

MILWAUKEE _ Four new research projects at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have received grant seed-funding from the UWM Research Foundation for projects that range from a wearable device for hand rehabilitation to a more efficient way to address mental health treatment.

The Catalyst Grant Program invests in promising early-stage research at UWM in areas where the university has the greatest potential to affect the regional economy through commercializing new technology. Now in its 11th year, the program has awarded more than $4.5 million to support 89 projects.

These projects have led to 25 issued patents, 23 license/option agreements and more than $19 million in subsequent investments in UWM technologies.

The grants are supported by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation. The grants awarded this round total $191,000, and the projects include:

Online, self-administered, psychiatric diagnostic program

Hanjoo Lee (psychology) is developing an online software program aimed at making doctor visits more productive and efficient for mental health patients. The program guides the patient through an accurate self-assessment of conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder, prior to seeing the doctor.

A new method of purifying antibodies

Ionel Popa (physics) develops protein hydrogels – gels that attract water but hold together as a solid because of tight links among its molecules. His soluble protein hydrogels can bind to antibodies, significantly reducing purification time and cost for pharmaceutical researchers and drug manufacturers.

Lightweight, powered hand rehabilitation glove

Mohammad Rahman’s research (engineering) focuses on biomedical robots, including those for rehabilitation. He is using the grant to design and build a device for significantly improving strength and finger joint motion for patients with limited hand movement. The device, called an exoskeleton, is wearable and amplifies electrical signals from weak muscles to help patients regain function in their hands.

A hybrid breeding system for sorghum

Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dazhong Zhao (biological sciences) is investigating faster and cheaper ways for farmers to grow sorghum, which is a cultivated grain widely used in livestock feed.

For more information, contact Brian Thompson, briant@uwmfdn.org, 414-906-4653.


About UWM

Recognized as one of the nation’s 115 top research universities, UW-Milwaukee provides a world-class education to 25,000 students from 91 countries on a budget of $653 million. Its 14 schools and colleges include Wisconsin’s only schools of architecture, freshwater sciences and public health, and it is a leading educator of nurses and teachers. UW-Milwaukee partners with leading companies to conduct joint research, offer student internships and serve as an economic engine for southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UW-Milwaukee a 2018 “Best Midwestern” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews, and the Sierra Club has recognized it as Wisconsin’s leading sustainable university.