Public Release:  MIT Deshpande Center announces Fall 2012 research grants

8 research teams receive $706,000 to develop new technological innovations

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT today announced it is awarding $706,000 in grants to ten MIT research teams currently working on early-stage technologies. These projects have the potential to make a significant impact on our quality of life in cancer treatment, computation, arthritis, recovery from cataract surgery, semiconductor manufacture, image processing, retinal disease detection, food production and distribution.

The Deshpande Center, acting as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship, awards grants that fund proof-of-concept explorations and validation for emerging technologies. "These projects are great examples of the exciting research at MIT. Each of them has the potential to significantly benefit to peoples' lives," says Ian A. Waitz, dean of the School of Engineering. "From healthcare, to big data, to semiconductors, to the food industry -- the Deshpande Center increases the impact of MIT's researchers by accelerating the movement of their work out of the lab and into practical solutions that benefit society."

The fall 2012 grant recipients are:

  • Novel Oral Mucosa Drug Delivery Project: Jane-Jane Chen and Manijeh Goldberg with Kuan Chen, Sonya Goldberg, Marcela Linares, Chovi Nazaire, Kamal Sandhu, Josh Santos, Keeon Tabrizi, and Warren Whyte
    The current treatment of oral cancer is to intravenously administer a highly toxic chemotherapy drug with systemic side effects. This project is developing a novel oral delivery of the drug, which can significantly reduce the side effects while allowing for a more effective cancer treatment.

  • Enabling Big Computation on Big Data for Business Analysts and Scientists: Alan Edelman with Jeff Bezanson, Stefan Karpinski, and Viral Shah
    As more and more data is generated, the analysis of the data becomes daunting and requires complex tools and programming. This project is developing a high level programming language for the analysis of big data.

  • Drug Delivery System for Treating Osteoarthritis: Alan Grodzinsky and Chris Evans with Moungi Bawendi, Ambika Goel, Rohit Karnik, and Cliff Wong
    Joint trauma can injure cartilage and lead to osteoarthritis within 10 to 15 years. Treating the joint and cartilage immediately after the injury could prevent long-term damage and arthritis. This project is developing a drug delivery system for the treatment of injured joints to prevent arthritis.

  • Medication Dispensing Intraocular Lens (mdIOL) for Cataract Surgery: Paula Hammond and Kenneth Mandell with Myoung-Hwan Park, and Joseph Rizzo
    Cataract surgery patients need to administer medication, using eye drops, for several weeks after a new lens is implanted. This project is developing a technology to release drugs directly from the implanted lens using a new nano layer technology, thus eliminating the need for eye drops.

  • Stable Carbenes As General Surface Anchors: Jeremiah Johnson with Longyan Liao, Michael Mavros, Troy Van Voorhis, James Whitten, Huaxing Zhou, and Aleksandr Zhukhovitskiy
    When manufacturing semiconductor devices it is necessary to attach various materials to a surface layer. This project is developing a new methodology for attaching materials to surfaces using carbene molecules.

  • Ensemble-based Processing of Noisy Images: Dennis McLaughlin with Rafal Wojcik
    Many imaging systems used in geology, medicine and industry provide images that are "noisy" and imprecise. This project will allow useful information to be extracted from the noisy images to help detect features that would otherwise be hidden.

  • RetiCue: Portable Device for Retinal Imaging: Ramesh Raskar with Everett Lawson, Rajesh Nair, Karin Roesch, and Gordon Wetzstein
    Early detection of diabetic retinopathy allows treatment that can prevent blindness. The high cost of retinal imaging devices and the expertise required to use them makes early detection unavailable to millions around the word.

  • Sensors for Food and Agriculture: Selectivity for Key Markers and the Development of Scalable Manufacture: Tim Swager with Joe Azzarelli, Brendon Deveney, Kelvin Frazier, Katherine Mirica, and Jan Schnorr
    Gases emitted by plants indicate the ripeness of produce. An inexpensive low power gas sensor would improve the economics by optimizing the harvest, storage, transportation and distribution of food. This project will develop a low cost sensor designed for this market.


The Deshpande Center's mission is to move technologies from the laboratories at MIT to the marketplace. The Deshpande Center grants help recipients assess and reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations. In addition to financial support, the Deshpande Center's network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and academic and legal experts helps recipients assess the commercial potential of their innovations and make decisions that accelerate progress toward the development of business plans or licensing strategies.

For more details on the research projects, visit:

The Deshpande Center has provided $12,000,000 in grants to 100 MIT research projects since 2002. Twenty seven projects have spun out of the center as independent startups, having collectively raised over $400 million in outside financing from investors.

About the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation

The Deshpande Center is part of the MIT School of Engineering and was established through an initial $20 million gift from Jaishree Deshpande and Desh Deshpande, the co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks. It is supported by gifts from alumni, friends and sponsors. The center serves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting leading-edge research and bridging the gap between the laboratory and marketplace. Additional information on the Deshpande Center's grant program, research portfolio and other entrepreneurial resources can be found at

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