IUPUI faculty members receive $85,000 in FORCES funding to commercialize research

  • May 9, 2016


INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researchers in the School of Engineering and Technology, School of Medicine, and School of Science have received a total of $85,000 in FORCES funding to support the development and commercialization of their work.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research oversees FORCES, or Funding Opportunities for Research Commercialization and Economic Success. The initiative has awarded more than $1 million to more than 30 faculty members since 2011.

Kevin Michael Berkopes, a mathematician in the School of Science and director of the Mathematics Assistance Center and Statistics Assistance Center, received $35,000 for "Virtual Learning Spaces: Creating Virtual Spaces for Future Teacher Support and Professional Exam Preparation." The work could support future mathematics and K-5 general-education teachers.

"This FORCES funding will help researchers from the School of Science and the School of Education collaborate to create high-tech virtual learning spaces," he said. "The intention is to create a virtual learning space that is embedded in the learning management system canvas and available free of charge to all IUPUI students enrolled in the elementary-education degree path."

Berkopes founded Crossroads Education through the Spin Up program of the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. to commercialize his work.

"Should the product prove impactful, we intend to apply for funding to investigate our virtual learning space design as something that is exportable to different sectors. We hope that we can research and investigate new technologies for providing quality interactions with mathematical content and to enable collaboration and professional development for current and future teachers of mathematics," he said.

Dr. Elliot J. Androphy, the Kampen-Norins Professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at the School of Medicine, received $25,000 for "Evaluation of Novel Compounds for Motor Neuron Disease." The project will determine whether novel drug-like compounds being developed have activity in a human neurologic disease.

"The funding will allow us to purchase the mouse model of this disease, hire staff and perform experiments," he said. "If successful, we will apply for additional grants to characterize the mechanism by which these drugs act. It could be advanced into a clinical trial for people afflicted with neurologic disease."

Andres Tovar, assistant professor in the School of Engineering and Technology, received $25,000 for "Commercialization of a Topology Optimization Algorithm to Design Lightweight, Multi-Functional Components with Optimized Internal Cellular (Porous) Structure." The project could provide engineering product designers with a tool that automatically synthesizes porous architectures.

"The FORCES funding will facilitate the commercialization of this design algorithm, which was disclosed to IURTC in 2014. The algorithm has also been developed from existing research sponsored by Honda R&D America and the Walmart Foundation," he said. "The FORCES funding will support the development of an alpha version of the algorithm to make the design tool marketable."

The next round of applications for FORCES funding are due Sept. 15. Contact Karen White, 317-274-1083, kfwhite@iupui.edu, for information.

About Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.

IURTC is a not-for-profit corporation tasked with the protecting and commercializing of technology emanating from innovations by IU researchers. Since 1997, IU research has generated more than 2,700 inventions resulting in over 3,900 global patent applications being filed by IURTC. These discoveries have generated $133 million in licensing and royalty income, including $111 million in funding for IU departments, labs and inventors.​