2021 Team Profiles

2021 I-Corps@Ohio Cohort Teams

Apomarker – Northeast Ohio Medical University

Apomarker is an ApoA1 ELISA test that has a potential to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes and asses cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and can generate results in 3-5 days.Our customers are primary care clinicians who need a diagnostic test to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes early and monitor early glycemic status so that patients can avoid full-blown diabetes and worsening of disease in patients with anemia and hemoglobinopathies.

Andrea Arias-Alvarado, MD
Entrepreneurial Lead
Takhar Kasumov, PhD
Principal Investigator

Asake – Ohio University

Our product is an alternative supplement for prevention and protection of viral infection, particular for COVID-19. Although COVID vaccines are available for people to get protection, they are reported as less effective against new variants. Our final marketed product is flexible and effective that consists of probiotics using novel synthesized small peptides generated from the lab can help people to boost the immune system and even against new variants.

The novel anti-COVID product using human nasal probiotics that can be effective to new variants with less side effects of immune response can be reapplied for long-term prevention. 

Yong Han
Principal Investigator

ARC Technologies – Cleveland State University

ARC Technology helps athletes reach their full potential through individualized performance improvement and injury reduction. Using skin-like sensors, our technology combines the accuracy and stability of high-end motion capture with the mobility and practicality of wearables. ARC is the most mobile and effective motion capture solution available, offering clinical-grade accuracy at a fraction of the cost.

What does this mean for athletes and coaches? ARC compression wear collects data in the field, offering live, remote feedback to help identify improper technique. Bad habits that result in limited performance and more than half of all injuries start early in an athlete’s career and impact them at every level. In MLB alone, $14 million is lost annually from injuries to hundreds of players, many of whom are pitchers who began progressively injuring themselves in Little League.  We at ARC are providing a scientific solution that will support a pitcher throughout their entire career.  Not into baseball?  Don’t worry, we are coming your way next!

Chris Schroeck
Entrepreneurial Lead

Car Seat Canary – Xavier University

Canary is a device that uses sensors to detect if there is a living thing left in the back seat of a car in the case of extreme temperatures – hot or cold. It can distinguish when the parent is outside the radius of the sensor at a certain temperature inside the car triggering a reminder to the accompanying keychain. 

Canary is a solution that detects if a child or pet is forgotten in the back seat of a car so that their respective parents/guardians can eliminate the worry of losing a loved one.

Ben Alegre
Entrepreneurial Lead

Brilludent Early Dental Diagnostics – Case Western Reserve University

We diagnose cavities 6+ months earlier than currently possible, enabling dentists and clinical administrators to increase procedure volumes, improving both top and bottom-line revenue by up to 25%.

We are applying Brillouin spectroscopy (an optical method of measuring the speed of sound in a sample) to the early detection of dental caries (cavities). Effectively, we are shining a laser at a tooth and detecting scattered light with a very small wavelength shift based on light interactions with the enamel.  While Brillouin spectroscopy has been used to study other materials, it has not been used before to study caries in the dental enamel. However, our initial data shows that the technology can effectively detect early carious lesions with little or no influence from common confounding factors. Once developed into a product, this method will be capable of detecting caries early enough that remineralization treatments can be effectively used to reverse caries progression, thus sharply reducing the need for drilling and cavity filling. Upon widespread commercial adoption, this concept would fundamentally change dental practice, and allow it to focus on prevention instead of intervention.

Steven Burns

CAR Tregs – University of Toledo

AdopTracell is a Biotech/Pharmaceutical start-up company based upon patented foundational technologies. This company focuses on the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) regulatory T cells (Treg) capable of reversing the destruction of insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. This revolutionary therapy will change the management and treatment of Autoimmune (Type 1) Diabetes Mellitus.

Our studies have shown preclinical data that would indicate a cure for Type 1 Diabetics (T1D) in our Type 1 diabetic mouse model.  Therefore, by applying this therapeutic approach, human T1D may be curable as well.

Dr. Juan Jaume
Principal Investigator

DNAt (Dynamic Nanobot Assays and Technologies) The Ohio State University

We are developing a DNA nanotechnology based rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19, which will ignite the foundation of a Nanotechnology Startup Company.The first expected minimum viable product will be a fluorescence-based DO COVID-19 diagnostic biosensor used in a clinical setting. Future product iterations will allow for a simple color change upon sensing SARS-CoV-2 target nucleic acid to facilitate rapid diagnostic testing at field point-of-care centers.

We create dynamic nanoscale biosensors for the simple, fast, accurate diagnosis of infectious diseases, beginning with COVID-19.

Patrick Halley
Entrepreneurial Lead

Christopher Lucas
Entrepreneurial Lead

FlouresBlock – Northeast Ohio Medical University

Lab managers, lab technicians, and scientists will find benefit in having a device as stationary equipment that stabilizes the temperature and improves fluorescence signal stability and use it as standard lab equipment. Our 96-well microplate adapter is an accessory tool to the standard microplate design. Our tech works to solve current problems​ such as inconsistent readouts leading to repetitive assays​, users spending more than 30 minutes on an assay​, and a method is needed to produce consistent results with microplate assays. ​

We provide an adapter to improve the performance of the microplates overall in yielding consistent and accurate results. ​

Dr. Patrick Kang 
Principal Investigator 

Ava Cutright 
Entrepreneurial Lead

Halcyon – Case Western Reserve University

Halcyon is a start-up company that will provide individuals with overactive bladder and their treating clinicians a non-invasive bladder stimulation undergarment to reduce urgency and incontinence thereby restoring individuals’ independence and spontaneity. Our product will be available both as a DTC product at local pharmacies and stocked within hospital rehabilitation facilities.

The technology is a noninvasive genital nerve stimulation to help women and men with spinal cord injury with bladder urgency and incontinence.

Dennis Bourbeau

Indoor Environmental Technologies – The Ohio State University

Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a smartphone-based application that offers better detection of chemical contaminants and allergens in indoor environments. The app utilizes image processing algorithms paired with color changing badges to detect allergens or formaldehyde. For allergen detection, users will be able to collect a dust sample, mix the sample with a solution and apply it to color-changing areas on the badge. For formaldehyde detection, the badge changes color when exposed to the contaminant in the air. The badges have a color calibration patch used to determine the color change linked to a particular contaminant. 

A platform technology for detection of indoor contaminants for professionals and homeowners concerned with indoor environmental quality. 

Ashleigh Bope 

My Retina Telehealth – Case Western Reserve University

When left undiagnosed and untreated, retinal diseases progress rapidly and can result in severe and irreversible vision loss. The current standard for retinal disease detection is using optical coherence tomography (OCT) to help ophthalmologists to monitor retinal changes and determine when treatment is needed. However, even though OCT exists, there are still millions of patients that are not diagnosed or experience vision loss.

We have designed a low-cost OCT device that can be accessible and deployed in a community setting using off-the-shelf OCT components and novel data transfer and mobile app interface. The device is controlled by the user’s smartphone by connecting to the device’s local Wi-Fi network. The OCT itself is not connected to the Internet and employs secure data transfer protocols to ‘lily pad’ the OCT scan from the OCT to the user’s phone, eventually ending up in a secure cloud or reading center.    

Colin Drummond
Principle Investigator

PolyRecycling – Ohio University

Our technology has applications in recycling both at the collection of polystyrene as well as the production of new products produced from the waste polystyrene.  We can reduce the volume of expanded polystyrene into a resin, which can then be transported more effectively.  After being reduced in volume, the resin is then able to be 3D printed into a new product and re-enter the consumer market.

Our technique of taking waste polystyrene and reducing it to a resin provides both a way for businesses to reduce their waste going to the landfill and provides a new revenue stream between the producers of polystyrene waste and the 3D printing manufacturer.    By reducing the volume of waste stream to the landfill, producers of polystyrene waste have the potential to reduce their cost for waste removal by up to $200.00 per month.  Our technology can address the biggest issue with recycling polystyrene, which is the efficiency of hauling a material consisting of up to 99% air by incorporating up to 50 wt% polystyrene to the resin itself.  Additionally, the added ability to 3D print this resin into new commodity products opens the potential revenue stream with 3D manufacturers. 

David Merkle
Entrepreneurial Lead

RoboCatheter – Case Western Reserve University

The purpose of the project is to develop a magnetic resonance imaging guided robotic active catheter system for atrial fibrillation ablation. In the proposed paradigm, atrial fibrillation ablation will be performed under intra-operative MRI guidance, and the conventional manually controlled catheters will be replaced with robotic catheters actuated by the MRI system. The catheter will be robotically controlled by a computer system. The location of the catheter tip and the target tissue will be measured by the MRI in real-time. The system will use this information to control the catheter tip to track the target tissue, dynamically correcting the catheter trajectory to compensate for the cardiac motion. Intra-operative availability of MRI, with its superior tissue discrimination capabilities, would allow real-time evaluation of the substrate depth and lesion created by ablation. By performing the procedure under real-time intra-operative MRI guidance and using a robotic active catheter system, the physician will be able to effectively see, navigate, and control the catheter in relation to the anatomy.

The MRI-guided robotic catheter ablation system for atrial fibrillation treatment that will improve ablation therapy efficacy and reduce procedure duration by easy and precise lesion delivery.

E. Erdem Tuna
Entrepreneurial Lead

M. Cenk Cavusoglu
Principle Investigator

Nanobubble – Case Western Reserve University

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Current clinical diagnostic methods, such as blood tests, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging struggle to detect aggressive cancers early. We have developed a targeted, nanosized ultrasound contrast agent called the nanobubble. The small size allows for the agent to move from the vasculature into the tumor microenvironment. Additionally, targeting the nanobubbles to prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) – a biomarker overexpressed on aggressive prostate cancer cells, enables detection of aggressive tumors using ultrasound, an imaging tool used in every urologist’s office world-wide for prostate cancer diagnosis.

The targeted nanobubbles will highlight aggressive prostate cancers during ultrasound guided biopsies providing large economic value.

Agata Exner
Principle Investigator

Primal Points – Kent State University

We produce modern metal broadheads that look & feel like ancient technology for the hunter driven by tradition.

Bow hunters hunt with bows, rather than firearms, in order to have a more “primitive experience.” Our product gets them closer to that experience than ever before. We have developed a new technological process to produce metal broadheads that look exactly like prehistoric chipped stone arrowheads, but are fully compatible with modern arrow shafts. Now, bow hunters around the world can hunt game with arrows tipped with the weaponry of humanity’s Stone Age ancestors. While just as effective (sharp and lethal) as modern broadheads, there is nothing available in the market today that looks like these “primal points.”

Metin Eren
Principal Investigator

Saccavi – Northeast Ohio Medical University

Saccavi (Latin for filter) is a system that uses Osteoactivin (OA), a naturally occurring bone growth factor, to improve orthopedic patient outcomes. Patients’ blood samples are loaded into our Saccavi device which extracts and concentrates OA in a fully automated process. Once extracted, OA is then supplemented to the interbody cages used during spinal fusions. Our solution will have a minimal impact on the current treatment procedure for spinal fusions, reduce the risk of overgrowth associated with synthetic bone growth agents, and improve fusion rates when compared to the current standard bone graft treatments. OA has undergone multiple small and large animal trials exhibiting an increase in bone growth and reduction in inflammation. We have successfully patented OA as bone formation agent and recently filed our provisional patient for the Saccavi technology and its use on spinal fusions. 

Saccavi is an automated filtration system that collects bone growth factors from patients that will help Neuro/Orthopedic surgeons in preventing revisions and decreasing healing period of spinal fusions.

Fayez Safadi
Principal Investigator