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ESF, Upstate Receive Technology Accelerator Award

Awards given to spur commercialization

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and SUNY Upstate Medical University were among the five SUNY colleges to receive funding from the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF), which supports innovation by providing funding to accelerate development and commercialization.

A collaborative project between Dr. Stewart Loh, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Upstate, and Dr. Arthur Stipanovic, professor of chemistry at ESF, uses a set of protein-building tools developed at Upstate and enzyme-activity testing technology developed at ESF to produce synthetic cellulosomes for bioethanol production.

Cellulosomes are multi-enzyme complexes that enable certain bacteria to efficiently break down the cellulose in woody plant matter into easily digestible sugars. Likewise, synthetic cellulosomes will enable bioethanol producers to efficiently degrade cellulose-rich feedstocks such as wood and switch grass into sugars from which ethanol can easily be produced through fermentation, thereby helping make bioethanol a cost-competitive alternative to petroleum-based gas and diesel.

Selected projects will receive up to $50,000.

"SUNY faculty, students, and staff are conducting research and developing innovations that have the potential to change the world we live in for the better, and the Technology Accelerator Fund is one way SUNY can help bring their ideas to market," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "We are proud to drive innovation and opportunity through the TAF. Congratulations to these most recent awardees."

"SUNY's and New York's innovation ecosystem begins with research," said Dr. Tim Killeen, president of the RF and SUNY vice chancellor for research. "SUNY's TAF program rewards and highlights the unique diversity of SUNY research and enhances our ability to drive economic development by moving more SUNY technologies from the lab to the marketplace."

A significant obstacle to the development and transfer of university technology is the lack of funding to advance promising discoveries after government-sponsored support ends and before a licensee or commercial investor is identified and secured. Funding at this stage is essential to bring to market promising technologies with potential implications for public benefit. TAF was created to support innovation across the SUNY research community and to accelerate the development of SUNY technologies for high-impact commercialization.