UTEP Faculty, Student Projects Earn TRANSFORM ‘Seed’ Grants

The University of Texas TRANSFORM Program has awarded six UTEP research projects with up to $10,000 each to use as seed funds toward the commercialization of their work.

UT TRANSFORM (Translational Research Advancement Network to Support, Fund, Organize, Roll-out, and Motivate) is a program funded by The University of Texas System to promote innovations within the system. Along with UTEP, other participating institutions are UT Austin, UT San Antonio and the MD Anderson Cancer Center. The program awarded 25 grants this year.

The UTEP recipients and their projects are:

  • Thomas Boland, Ph.D., professor of metallurgical and materials engineering: “Investigation of the Immunogenic Reaction to Imprinted Antibodies.” His goal is to develop nanotechnology-based flu vaccines that can be mass produced in short periods of time. 
  • Eva Deemer, materials science and engineering doctoral student: “American Water Recycling.” She plans to develop a new technology to recycle water in an affordable and environmentally friendly way.
  • Homer Nazeran, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Jose Ayala-Moyeda, electrical and computer engineering doctoral student: “Smartphone Evidence-based Sleep Monitor and Apnea Detector.” They want to create reliable, low-cost screening units for home users that can be upgraded to help sleep specialists, medical professionals and insurance companies.
  • Nazeran and Sergio Cabrera, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering: “Smart-Phone Evidence-Based Stress Level Monitor and Mental Fatigue Detector.” They want to create personal mobile wellness devices that monitor stress and levels of mental exhaustion.
  • Noe Ortega, environmental science and engineering doctoral student: “Cyanuric Acid Removal from Sunlight-Exposed Swimming Pools.” The acid is a chlorine stabilizer that reduces the effectiveness of the chemical if too much is used. Being in the parched Southwest, he hopes his research leads to a more efficient method to remove unwanted chemicals from swimming pools.
  • Nigel Ward, Ph.D., professor of computer science: “Dynamic Control of Voice Codec Data Rate Using Importance Estimation.” His goal is to create a better telecommunication infrastructure that will differentiate information that is important and not important.   

The UTEP funds will be overseen by Gary Frankwick, Ph.D., professor of marketing and management, and David Novick, Ph.D., professor of computer science. They are co-directors of UTEP’s Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce, which processed the grant applications.