11 Teams Join Polsky’s Fall 2020 I-Corps Program Cohort

(Robert Kozloff/The University of Chicago, 2017)

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the latest cohort of its Polsky I-Corps program, a 7-week highly-experiential program designed to empower UChicago scientists, researchers, and students to test the commercial potential of their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) research and ideas.

A total of 11 teams have been accepted into the program and will receive a $2,500 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and NSF-project designation for their participation.

The program, which has moved to a virtual model in response to the pandemic, is taught by Melissa Byrn, director of innovation programs at the Polsky Center.

The Polsky I-Corps Fall 2020 cohort includes:

  • Alccelerate // AIccelerate is a software package that allows for the writing of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms on hardware accelerators (chips) with reduced costs and shorter development cycles. Possible applications are to all those industries that need to perform real-time (micro to milliseconds) AI-driven decision making, like the autonomous vehicles industry. Team members: Matteo Cremonesi (Fermilab), Mauricio Suarez (Fermilab), Charles Thangaraj (Fermilab), Carlo Passeri (Chicago Booth), and Sebastian Rivas (Chicago Booth).
  • Cancer Care Advisor // Cancer Care Advisor aims to assist physicians in developing personalized treatment plans for cancer patients based on their genetic and molecular profiles by applying artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Team members: Jai Lanka, Nalini Polavarapu (Physical Sciences Division), and Xuan Hui (Biological Sciences Division).
  • ChemImmune // ChemImmune is developing immune activators to generate non-toxic and efficacious cancer therapeutics. A major challenge with cancer immuno-therapeutics, such as small-molecule immune activators or the widely used checkpoint blockade therapy, is their significant off-target toxicities. The goal is to modulate innate immune pathways to generate injectable efficacious non-toxic therapeutic formulations. Team members: Aaron Esser-Kahn (Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering), Saikat Manna (Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering), Daniel Rood (Chicago Booth), Timothy Lin (Chicago Booth), and Thea Applebaum Licht (the College).
  • Edify // Edify provides a low cost and easy to use solution for African businesses to boost their online visibility, credibility, marketing efforts. Edify is an information-sharing platform, where users can create multimedia profiles, within minutes, which can act as pseudo-websites that can be accessed by unique profile URLs. Team members: Francis Mbayiwa and Kimberly Mbayiwa (Social Sciences Division).
  • The ElectroCorrosion Toolkit™ // The ElectroCorrosion Toolkit™, holistically combines existing techniques for reliably analyzing corrosion rates and formulate corrosion resistant materials. The Toolkit can evaluate and qualify materials for use in corrosive environments in healthcare, automotive, oil and gas, additive manufacturing, and nuclear industries. Team members: Vineeth Kumar Gattu (Argonne National Laboratory), Khushboo Sharma (Chicago Booth), and John Harvey (Argonne National Laboratory).
  • NeuroSense // NeuroSense is developing a rapid and sensitive device that can screen for early symptoms of neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes with currently no effective treatment. Team members: Sayed Sadat (University of Utah), Stormy Palmer (University of Utah), and Rob Singleton (University of Utah Health).
  • NuKardia // NuKardia is developing a precision medicine platform for cardiometabolic drug discovery. Team members: Bohdan Khomtchouk (Biological Sciences Division), Arvind Krishnan (the College), Diana Zhang (Chicago Booth), and Stephen Chen (Chicago Booth).
  • PainNavigator // PainNavigator is a web-based app aimed at providing accessible, evidence-based multifaceted therapy plans for people suffering from chronic pain. Users will receive a step-by-step curriculum based on a biopsychosocial approach to optimize their chronic pain, improve their function, and reduce healthcare costs. Team members: Priya Shah (Chicago Booth), Ankur Dave, M.D., and Dr. Dino Kostas.
  • Pragnya // Pragnya is a non-profit focusing on allyship between neurotypical and neurodiverse children through their ALLY support program and is currently developing an educational platform to scale the program. Team members: Aarthee Janardhanadass (Chicago Booth), Lipika Mittal (Chicago Booth), and Ashish Agarwal (Chicago Booth).
  • Psynautics // Psynautics is developing a platform for psychonauts (people who explore altered states of consciousness) to log their mind-altering experiences in real-time, forming a database for cognitive scientists, psychopharmacologists, philosophers, and linguists to use for research, while also doubling as a sort of social media platform for psychonauts. Team members: Conor Murray (Biological Sciences Division), Luke Johnson (the College), and Bhargav Srinivasa Deskian (Social Sciences Division).
  • QuantumScale // QuantumScale is looking to solve the key problems of current and future quantum computation associated with solving large-scale problems on existing small-scale quantum computers and quantum simulators. Team members: Alexey Galda (Argonne National Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division), Yuri Alexeev (Argonne National Laboratory), Danylo Lykov, and Cody Googin, (the College).

Now in its sixth year, the Polsky I-Corps portfolio has risen to over 160 teams – including notable alumni such as BallotReady, ExplORer Surgical, ClostraBio, and BiomeSense.

Learn more about the Polsky I-Corps program by visiting the website.


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