It’s that time of year! We’re excited to share the winners of the Fall 2019 cycle LEAP Challenge.

The Skandalaris Center’s Leadership and Entrepreneurial Acceleration Program, or LEAP, provides industry connections and gap funding to teams of Washington University faculty, postdoc, staff, and graduate-student researchers and inventors. There are multiple cycles of LEAP each year. Throughout the program, teams receive mentorship from experts in their fields. At the end of each cycle, teams present to a panel of judges comprised of industry-relevant investors and representatives with the potential to win funding to help move their inventions towards commercialization.

Twenty-five teams presented their projects to this year’s panel of judges. Projects were judged on their licensing potential as well as the impact LEAP funding might have in moving their research toward commercialization.

In the Fall 2019 cycle, ten winning teams were selected. They are:

Developing a Metabolic Inhibitor for the Treatment of Cancer
Team: Brian Van Tine, Charles Schutt, and Maxene Ilagan

mySci Technology Program
The development of a national dissemination model of the mySci package
Team: Victoria May, Rachel Ruggirello, Keith May

Activating Rust for Micro-supercapacitor Fabrication
Activating rust, a ubiquitous raw material, into a precursor for developing high energy and power densities micro-supercapacitor for micro-electronics
Team: Yifan Diao, Yang Lu, Haoru Yang and Hongmin Wang, and Julio M. D’Arcy

Seeing Sound: Redefining Hear Aids Through Light
Optical sensors that will drastically improve the performance of hearing aids
Team: Jie Liao, Abraham J. Qavi, and Lan Yang

Barbed Mesh for Sutureless Tissue Fixation
A mesh that can be used for fixating tissues, such as abdominal fascia, and skin, that eliminates the need for traditional suturing and saves OR time
Team: John M. Felder and Guy Genin

A first-in-class drug that acts on a novel target and is ideally suited to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, an advanced form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, in patients with type 2 diabetes
Team: Rajan Sah and Daniel J. Lerner

Forward Defense Against Staphylococcus Aureus Infection
A vaccine that harnesses the natural T cell immune response to bacteria to protect infants and children against infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus
Team: Juliane Bubeck Wardenburg and Reuben Olaniyi

Protection of Transplanted Lungs Using Chemokine Decoy Receptors
Pre-treating lungs with chemokine decoy receptor to protect against ischemia and reperfusion injury following transplantation
Team: Olga Lubman, Daved H. Fremont, and Andrew E. Gelman

Ultrahigh-Speed Optical Coherence tomography
A novel, patented technology that offers over 10x speed improvement in eye scans while being compatible/ retrofit-able with tens of thousands of OCT devices in the market
Team: Chao Zhou, Rajendra Apte, and Jason Jerwick 

Self-capacitance based wireless powering technology that improves the aesthetic value and user compliance of wearables and semi-invasive biosensors by reducing its form-factor and battery requirements
Team: Joe Beggs, Yarub Alazzawi, Kenji Aono, Shantanu Chakrabartty

Winning teams were announced at the Office of Technology Management’s Welcome to the Wall event, which recognizes new faculty startups.

Congratulations to all of this year’s LEAP winners!

Read more about this year’s LEAP fall cycle and hear from the judges and researchers.