Local Inventors and Entrepreneurs Innovating for COVID-19

Categories : Research Park, EnterpriseWorks, Partnerships & Acquisitions
Posted on: May 11, 2020

In addition to companies seeking support from federal loan programs to help sustain their businesses, local entrepreneurs and inventors are creating new products and technologies to help fight COVID-19.

Serionix’s novel material filters toxic particles in space. Soon, its creators will know if it protects against the coronavirus in masks. Serionix co-founders Will Zheng and James Langer and their doctoral advisor James Economy from the University of Illinois Department of Materials Science, spent years developing a self-sterilizing material that can filter harmful particles, which is now being applied to face masks. Serionix was a winner of the Cozad New Venture Challenge and graduated from the EnterpriseWorks incubator, the company is now manufacturing its products in Urbana. Read more here.

Three Nick Holonyak Jr., Micro and Nanotechnology Lab (HMNTL) faculty members have received NSF Rapid Response Research (RAPID) program grants, all of which aim to shorten the amount of time it takes to process a COVID-19 test.

A team led by Rashid Bashir, Dean of the Grainger College of Engineering, has proposed the development of a point-of-care device that uses nasal fluid samples to detect the presence of COVID-19 within 10 minutes.

A team led by Prof. Brian Cunningham combines capturing intact COVID-19 viruses with custom-designed DNA nanostructures so they can be immediately counted with a newly-invented type of biosensor imaging. 

A team with Prof. Yi Lu (founder of Glucosentient and Andalyze at the Research Park) is working with Lijun Rong from UIC to develop a biosensor that could detect and differentiate infectious SARS-CoV-2 from the SARS-CoV-2 that have been rendered noninfectious by patient’s antibodies or disinfectants. This would allow patients to receive proper treatment in a timely manner, and would allow people who aren’t infected or contagious to be released from quarantine.

The SBIR/STTR Technical Assistance program through EnterpriseWorks and the IL University Incubator Network (IUIN) is providing free 1:1 assistance with companies pursuing federal funding opportunities to address COVID-19 opportunities. Examples of federal funding opportunities can be found here, and from G2G.