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NSF Funds Phase II of the Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Biophotonic Sensors and Systems at UC Davis and Boston University

29 Apr | By Gabriela Lee

(Sacramento, CA) On March 1st, 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a 5-year continuing grant to UC Davis for Phase II of theIndustry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) named Center for Biophotonic Sensors and Systems (CBSS, http://www.bu.edu/cbss/ ).

I/UCRC centers enable industrially relevant, pre-competitive research via multi-member, sustained partnerships among industry, academe, and government. NSF provides the organizational and procedural framework along with funding for center administration, in this case $1 million for Phase II between the two university sites. I/UCRC members will provide a minimum of $2M funding for the center research over the next five years.

Operating at the intersection of life sciences, medicine and photonics engineering, CBSS focuses on early-stage research that provides enabling technologies for advanced methods to detect, sense and identify biological properties, conditions or changes at the molecular, cellular and subcellular level. This research has applications and is expected to lead to significant commercial benefits in disease diagnosis, drug discovery and efficacy testing, patient monitoring, food and water safety, and related areas.

During Phase II, research efforts will continue at Boston University (lead institution) and UC Davis (university site) to develop collaborations among faculty across our campuses and CBSS members, which include companies, national labs, state, federal, local government, and non-profits. Faculty from diverse colleges, schools and graduate groups participate at the UC Davis site and contribute research expertise in spectroscopy, microscopy, imaging, single-molecular analysis, non-linear techniques, and more, as well as applications.

“The I/UCRC mechanism enables us to learn from industry what are the areas of greatest needs, and to pursue research that can be applied to solve real-world challenges, for significant societal impact” said CBSS UC Davis Site Director James Chan, PhD, Associate Professor in Residence in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. “For example, the need to decrease healthcare costs is a strong driver for developing non-invasive biosensing technologies that detect disease in its earliest stages, when it’s easiest and less costly to treat, and chances for successful treatments are the highest.”

Members guide the direction of the Center research through active programmatic involvement and mentoring. Industry participation contributes not only to significant leveraging of financial investments to accelerate the knowledge base, but also to enhancing the educational experiences of our students at all levels. Beyond financial leverage, membership provides value to the Center members on multiple levels: breadth and diversity of research portfolios; working on pre-competitive technologies that align with long-term strategic directions; exposure to emerging areas of research that adds to the members’ innovation capability; and connecting with new talent for recruiting purposes.

During Phase I, CBSS had a total of 17 members, with current membership standing at eight: BD, Thorlabs, Iris AO, Scienion, Nikon Research Corporation of America, Bioventus, Moxtek and Crossroads Photonics Corporation. Membership fees are used to fund proposals at Boston University and UC Davis that align with the Center’s research thrusts in Bioimaging, Optical Diagnostics, and Analytics. Each thrust area has components in Systems, Sensors & Devices, and Materials & Biology, as detailed in the Center’s technology roadmap, available on the CBSS website (www.bu.edu/cbss/).

Faculty submit pre-proposals in response to an annual solicitation every March, for early-stage research in analytics, bioimaging, diagnostics, therapeutics, drug screening, tissue engineering, and more. Companies interested to join the Center for Biophotonic Sensors and Systems as members should contact Professor James Chan for more information, at jwjchan@ucdavis.edu.


Category: Special News
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