October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

Skandalaris LEAP winners announced @ Wash U

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

The Skandalaris Center’s Fall 2020 LEAP Cycle has ended and a new set of translational research projects have been funded. LEAP is an asset-development program and gap fund designed to provide intellectual and financial capital to WashU-affiliated translational projects.

A panel of industry experts and community partners evaluated 22 projects based on three criteria:

  • their advantage over the existing standard
  • the ability of the product to be advanced by an external partner
  • the ability of the proposed scope-of-work to move the project toward partnering

Seven teams were selected to receive LEAP funds and accelerate their projects towards partnering and launching:

colorful logo of leaping figureAIR Seal: A multi-purpose seal for aerosol-blocking, intubation, and respiration (AIR)

AIR Seal allows for quick, easy ventilation of COVID-19 patients through a laryngeal mask airway (LMA) that is dynamically sealed to block viral aerosol transmission.

Vivian Lee, graduate student, Doctor of Medicine, School of Medicine
Mohamed Zayed, vascular surgeon/assistant professor of surgery, School of Medicine
Chase Hartquist, undergraduate/graduate student, Mechanical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering
Halle Lowe, undergraduate/graduate student, Mechanical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering
Vinay Chandrasekaran, undergraduate student, Computer Science, McKelvey School of Engineering


colorful logo of leaping figureDevice and System for Preventing the Development of Pressure Ulcers

The first single-use, disposable device capable of performing continuous bedside pressure-monitoring, preventing pressure-ulcer development/progression, and reducing hospital liability and spend related to pressure-ulcer care.

Justin Sacks
, Shoenberg Professor; chief of Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, School of Medicine


colorful logo of leaping figureEnhanceAR-Seq: A Liquid biopsy approach to personalize prostate cancer treatment

EnhanceAR-Seq lets the clinician personalize prostate cancer treatment through a blood-based liquid biopsy to improve patient survival.

Aadel Chaudhuri, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, School of Medicine
Christopher Maher, associate professor, Oncology Division, Stem Cell Biology, School of Medicine
Russell Pachynski,  assistant professor, Oncology Division, Molecular Oncology, School of Medicine


colorful logo of leaping figureFlame-Assisted Additive Manufacturing (FLAAM)

FLAAM is a new approach to 3D printing metals that is capable of fabricating novel components composed of many highly-desired materials not accessible in existing 3D printing processes, including ultra-high temperature materials, materials with locally tailored properties, and entirely new metal alloys.

Richard Axelbaum,  Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science, McKelvey School of Engineering
Phillip Irace, PhD candidate, McKelvey School of Engineering
Kathy Flores, professor, Mechanical Engineering & Material Science, McKelvey School of Engineering
Daniel Miracle, senior scientist, Aire Force Research Lab


colorful logo of leaping figureImaging Tools for the Early Detection of Kidney Disease

A sensitive, radiological imaging tool (RadioCF-PET) to detect kidney damage in its earliest stages to improve and facilitate personalized therapies to prevent or slow the development of kidney disease.

Edwin Baldelomar, postdoctoral research fellow, Institute of Clinical Translational Sciences (ICTS)
Kevin Bennett, associate professor of Radiology, School of Medicine
Jennifer Charlton, pediatric nephrologist & associate professor, University of Virginia


colorful logo of leaping figureA safe, attenuated Zika virus (ZIKV) to treat brain tumors

Aims to license the first safe and effective virus that specifically targets cancer stem cells, the most treatment-resistant cells in brain tumors.

Milan Chheda
, assistant professor of Medicine and Neurology, School of Medicine
Michael Diamond, The Herbert S. Gasser Professor, Departments of Medicine, Molecular Microbiology, Pathology & Immunology, School of Medicine


“The LEAP program is helpful beyond the funding. We benefited from the process of writing the proposal, incorporating market research, and—most importantly—clearly defining what needs to be done to forge a successful licensing partnership.”

        • –Milan Chheda


colorful logo of leaping figureSonoBiopsy: Improving molecular diagnosis of brain diseases by targeted sound

SonoBiopsy provides molecular diagnoses of brain diseases without surgery.

Hong Chen, assistant professor, Biomedical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering
Chris Pacia, graduate student, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering
Lu Xu, graduate student, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering

LEAP is supported by Washington University in St. Louis’ Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, Siteman Cancer Center, Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Center for Drug Discovery, and Office of Technology Management.


Source: Skandalaris LEAP winners announced | WashU Fuse | Washington University in St. Louis

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