Five AU faculty teams competing for $100,000 in funding

Peter Panizzi, associate professor in Auburn’s Harrison School of Pharmacy, presents his research during the university’s 2018 LAUNCH competition.

The final round of Auburn University’s Launch program, with five faculty teams competing for a share of $100,000 in funding, will take place via Zoom on March 24.

“Launch recognizes faculty with good ideas and then provides both funding and business expertise to help put those good ideas to work in ways that benefit the state and regional economy,” said Cary Chandler, director of business development and startups in Auburn’s Office of Innovation Advancement and Commercialization and senior director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation. “Successful Launch faculty are identified through a multistage process that culminates in a pitch competition.”

Launch Finalists and their projects include:

  • Kathy Lawrence, professor in the College of Agriculture’s department of entomology and plant pathology, and John McInroy, research associate, who are creating a novel group of bacterial strains with the properties that could be useful in enhancing survival of agricultural crops threatened by both drought and/or salt-water intrusion;
  • Lindsey Starkey, assistant professor, and Byron Blagburn, professor, both in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s department of pathobiology, who have developed a breath test for diagnosing heartworm disease in dogs;
  • Qinghua “Peter” He, associate professor, Jin Wang, professor, and their team in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s department of chemical engineering, who have developed a bioconversion platform that can convert agricultural waste, like manure, into valuable biomass, which could be used to produce a range of useful bioproducts—from bioplastic to animal feed;
  • Burak Aksoy, assistant research professor, and Zhihua Jiang, assistant professor, also from the department of chemical engineering, who have created a paper-based, intelligent, spoilage detector in meat and seafood packaging; and
  • Amit Morey, assistant professor in the College of Agriculture’s department of poultry science, who has developed an in-line poultry chiller designed to increase food safety and reduce water usage in poultry processing facilities.

Final pitches will be made beginning at 9 a.m. March 24 and can be viewed at this link. The 4 p.m. awards ceremony can be viewed here.

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