Polsky Center I-Corps Teams Test Commercialization Potential of Research

The Polsky I-Corps program helps scientists, researchers, and students test the commercial potential of their research and ideas.

Supported with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Great Lakes Region I-Corps Hub, and run by the Polsky Center, the program is designed for participants working on projects related to the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. The eight-week program is highly experiential.

“The customer discovery process during I-Corps was invaluable. Discussing the true pain points with other front-line providers solidified our desire to make this product a reality. Additionally, we were able to better focus on optimizing the features of the device that are most necessary. Our initial idea is different than our current device due to this important feedback,” said Flow Medical founder and associate professor of medicine Jonathan Paul, who has participated in several Polsky Center programs.

>> If you’re a student interested in joining an I-Corps team in our fall cohort, come meet the teams at our Collaboratorium pitch and networking event on September 28.

I-Corps provides participants with opportunities to expand their network and gain insight from industry stakeholders on the commercialization pathway, identify potential partners for future technical and business development, and receive individualized coaching.

Participants also work to access additional NSF funding, including a potential $50,000 through the National I-Corps program, prepare for SBIR/STTR or other commercialization grants, and engage with other programs at the Polsky Center.

Polsky Center I-Corps Teams: Spring 2023

AI-Assistor // AI-Assistor is developing a machine-learning tool to assist small and medium business owners in mining and analyzing their data to suggest actionable insights.

  • Team members: Nitin Gupta, Student, Physical Sciences Division; Sunny Anand, Student, Harris School of Public Policy; Sourajit Mukherjee, Post-doc, Physical Sciences Division

AI4MIND // AI4MIND is developing efficient algorithms that harness the power of Reinforcement Learning to design new and more efficient materials utilizing state-of-the-art computational methods, with specific applications in the metalens market.

  • Team members: Partha Sarathi Dutta, Student, University of Illinois at Chicago/Argonne National Laboratory; Suvo Banik, Student, University of Illinois at Chicago/Argonne National Laboratory; Aditya Koneru, Student, University of Illinois at Chicago/Argonne National Laboratory; Vineet Kumar, Student, University of Illinois at Chicago/Argonne National Laboratory

avolution.ai // The team is using AI-generated content algorithms to help small business owners generate ads more effectively and efficiently, particularly on social media channels.

  • Team members: Ziyu Ye, Student, Physical Sciences Division; Chaoqi Wang, Student, Physical Sciences Division; Qian Li, Student, Harris School of Public Policy

DigiContra // DigiContra is addressing current inefficiencies and errors in the operating room, particularly when counting sharps used in surgical procedures. The team plans on digitizing sharps counting through a software-hardware solution.

  • Team members: Omer Raheem, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Biological Sciences Division; Jacob Kacmar, Student, Chicago Booth; Bridget Bassi, Student, Chicago Booth

Figure Ground // Figure Ground is an accessible, community-driven platform that empowers the general public to examine, engage, and discuss architecture.

  • Team members: Chana Haouzi, Lecturer, Humanities Division; Shivani Chatterji, Student, College; Natalie Jenkins, Student, College

GEARBOx // GEARBOx is a cloud-based platform that aims to streamline the process of finding clinical trials for children with relapsed cancer. The solution uses the patient’s electronic health record and lab data to match them with the eligibility criteria of clinical trials.

  • Team members: Luca Graglia, Director of Software and Infrastructure Services, Biological Sciences Division; Samuel Volchenboum, Associate Professor of Pediatrics/Associate Chief, Research Informatics Officer, Biological Sciences Division; Kanav Gupta, Student, Chicago Booth; Anoop Vijayan, Student, Chicago Booth

Glassy Metallic Inks // The team is making solution-processable conductive materials that are robust under a variety of harsh conditions and can be used to coat a variety of surfaces with applications in a variety of industries, including aerospace and maritime.

  • Team members: John Anderson, Associate Professor, Physical Sciences Division; Patrick Crossland, Post-doc, Physical Sciences Division; Irena Kaplan, Student, Chicago Booth

LAPPD for PET Scans // The team is developing applications for micro-channel plate photodetectors in the medical device industry. This novel technology would lead to lower dosage required for PET scans as well as higher image quality.

  • Team members: John Hruska, Student, Chicago Booth; George Cody, Student, Chicago Booth; Henry Frisch, Professor, Physical Sciences Division; Neal Sullivan, Unaffiliated with the University of Chicago

re:ORBITAL // re:ORBITAL aims to create a fiber optics core out of a class of glass called ZBLAN, with applications in quantum communication networks. ZBLAN must be processed in a microgravity environment to perform at an order of magnitude higher than traditional cores.

  • Team members: Mike Gustafson, Student, Chicago Booth; Jack Heyden, Student, Chicago Booth

usAR Prosthetics // usAR Prosthetics aims to revolutionize the prosthetic industry by using augmented reality to enhance the functionality and usability of prosthetic devices.

  • Team members: Katja Edwards, Student, College; Michael Yu, Student, College; Sabrina Matsui, Student, College; Ibrahim Gomaa, Student, College; Michelangelo Pagan, Student, College


Polsky Center I-Corps Teams: Fall 2022

Adiona // Adiona is a digital health company developing a platform that uses proprietary analytics to detect key symptoms from patent-worn devices and provide care teams of dementia patients with targeted, evidence-based interventions

  • Team members: Joshua Kim, Student, College; James Mastrianni, Professor of Neurology, Co-Director, Center for Comprehensive Care and Research on Memory Disorders, Biological Sciences Division

Anticodon Biosciences // Anticodon Biosciences is developing a tRNA sequencing platform kit to identify biomarkers for a wide range of disease types.

  • Team members: Adam Wylder, Student, Biological Sciences Division; Tao Pan, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Seyi Fasoranti, Student, Chicago Booth

Doll Medical Products // Doll Medical Products is developing a hardware-software solution to improve surgical procedures for hip impingement.

  • Team members: Jake Cotton, Student, Chicago Booth; Dane Tood, Unaffiliated with the University of Chicago; Michael Diaz, Student, Chicago Booth; Trey Pfeiffer, Student, Chicago Booth; Marta Mota, Student, Chicago Booth; Sen Kalidoss, Student, Pritzker School of Medicine

FastImaging // FastImaging is developing a compact and user-friendly microscope that is capable of imaging large and extended samples at fast speed and high resolution.

  • Team members: Abhishek Kumar, MBL Investigator and Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative Imaging Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory; Matthew Parent, Post-doc, Marine Biological Laboratory; Benjamin Kurzman, Student, Chicago Booth; Javier Castaneda, Student, Chicago Booth

Icosa Computing // Icosa builds quantum computing and physics-enhanced optimizers for financial institutions.

  • Team members: Mert Esencan, Unaffiliated with the University of Chicago; Can Unlu, Unaffiliated with the University of Chicago; Yuvraj Kumar, Student, Chicago Booth; Tina Oberoi, Student, Physical Sciences Division

Kompass (formerly SynaDx) // Kompass aims to accelerate the adoption of virtual care by building a novel diagnostic device to allow patients to self-test for a wide range of chronic disease biomarkers.

  • Team members: Hyun-June Jang, Post-doc, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering; Mingoo Kim, Unaffiliated with the University of Chicago; Hyouarm Joung, Unaffiliated with the University of Chicago; Vincent Wen, Student, Chicago Booth

memQ // memQ is developing silicon-compatible technology to enable the quantum internet.

  • Team members: Manish Kumar Singh, Alumnus, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering; Sean Sullivan, CRI Researcher, Argonne National Laboratory; Sid Chhibber, Student, Chicago Booth; Dominic Newmann, Student, Chicago Booth

Riptide // Riptide has developed a telomerase reverse transcriptase inhibitor for use in cancer treatment. The team is exploring pathways to utilize their small molecule as a monotherapy for a variety of cancers.

  • Team members: Zari Dehdashti, Staff Researcher, Biological Sciences Division; Seokgyeong Choi, Student, Biological Sciences Division; Marshall Budin, Student, Chicago Booth; Blake Trempy, Student, Chicago Booth

Stranergy (formerly V Energy Solutions) // Stranergy will provide safe, cheap, long-duration, and green energy solutions for buildings and infrastructure with large energy consumption.

  • Team members: Mei He, Student, Chicago Booth; Rui Deng, Student, Chicago Booth; Jianan Zheng, Unaffiliated with the University of Chicago

Teams including faculty, students, staff, and alumni from the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and Chicago-area universities may apply for the program. No previous business or entrepreneurship experience is required.

Questions? Contact Ellen Zatkowski at ellen.zatkowski@chicagobooth.edu.

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