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The University at Buffalo’s Catalyst Fund is giving $213,762 in five grants to scientists and teams of researchers to help life-sciences technologies that show commercial potential move closer to the marketplace.

The awards will pay for studies and similar projects intended to demonstrate whether the potential products – such as a cutting-edge bone replacement material and self-seeding blood vessel grafts – have commercial value, according to the university. The fund now has paid out nearly $450,000 to 10 technologies since its inception in 2011.

“By providing for the translation of UB research that could lead to new therapies, new products and new company start-ups, these funds demonstrate that UB research can directly and positively impact the local economy,” Alexander N. Cartwright, UB’s vice president for research and economic development, said Tuesday.

The Catalyst Fund’s first round of financing, which provided $236,000 to five projects, came from the John R. Oishei Foundation. This second round of awards came from the Bruce Holm Memorial Catalyst Fund, which was set up by an anonymous UB faculty member who pledged up to $1 million to match contributions to the fund from other donors.

The memorial fund is named for the late UB senior vice provost who was best known as a developer of Infasurf, a lung surfactant that has helped lower the mortality rate for premature infants.

The latest awards will support the work of the following faculty members:

• Rosemary Dziak, a professor of oral biology, who is looking into the use of a novel calcium sulfate material to help replace lost bone in patients who have osteoporosis, periodontal disease or craniofacial defects.

• Mark Ehrensberger, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and Anthony Campagnari, a professor of microbiology and immunology, who are testing an electrochemical technique for eliminating biofilm infections on metallic medical implants.

• Venkat Krovi, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Pankaj Singhal, an associate professor of gynecology-obstetrics; and Jason Corso, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering, who are researching how to apply video-based, micromotion analysis to evaluate and improve the training of doctors for robotic surgeries.

• Janet Morrow, a professor of chemistry, who is working on a series of “smart” contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging that could be used to monitor the progress of cancer treatments and help guide treatment decisions.

• Daniel Swartz, an assistant professor of pediatrics, chemical and biological engineering and physiology and biophysics, who is working with a group of collaborators to produce specialized vascular grafts that, after they are implanted in a patient’s body, could be stimulated to function as a native tissue.

email: swatson@buffnews.com