Concussion-Related Measures Improved in High School Football Players Who Drank New Chocolate Milk, UMD Study Shows

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UPDATE: This press release refers to study results that are preliminary and have not been subjected to the peer review scientific process. 

Fifth Quarter Fresh, a new, high-protein chocolate milk, helped high school football players improve their cognitive and motor function over the course of a season, even after experiencing concussions, a new preliminary University of Maryland study shows.

The study, funded through the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program and conducted by Jae Kun Shim, a professor of kinesiology in the School of Public Health, followed 474 football players from seven high schools in Western Maryland throughout the fall 2014 season.

“High school football players, regardless of concussions, who drank Fifth Quarter Fresh chocolate milk during the season, showed positive results overall,” said Shim. “Athletes who drank the milk, compared to those who did not, scored higher after the season than before it started, specifically in the areas of verbal and visual memory.”

Football players were tested before the season, after concussions and post-season using Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, also called ImPACT™, a widely used computer-based evaluation for concussions. Overall, 36 variables for attention span, working memory, sustained and selective attention time, response variability, non-verbal problem solving and reaction time were measured in the study.

Experimental groups drank Fifth Quarter Fresh after each practice and game, sometimes six days a week, while control groups did not consume the chocolate milk. Analysis was performed on two separate groups: athletes who experienced concussions during the season and those who did not. Both non-concussed and concussed groups showed positive effects from the chocolate milk.

Non-concussed athletes who drank Maryland-produced Fifth Quarter Fresh showed better cognitive and motor scores over nine test measures after the season as compared to the control group.

Concussed athletes drinking the milk improved cognitive and motor scores in four measures after the season as compared to those who did not.

The remaining test scores did not show a statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups over the season, according to Shim.

He suggested that the naturally occurring high levels of specific nutrients in Fifth Quarter Fresh likely contributed to the results.

“Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are important for energy metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis in the brain,” said Shim. “Previous studies have shown that BCAA supplementation has resulted in improved cognition in mice with brain injuries.”

Shim also cited carbohydrates, calcium and electrolytes, all of which he says are likely to be critical for the recovery process after brain injuries.

While the study’s results indicate a strong link between milk and the reduction of concussion-related symptoms, researchers caution that more in-depth studies are necessary to be conclusive.

Fifth Quarter Fresh is a fat-free chocolate milk made by combining nutrient-rich milk (yielding 40 percent more protein, calcium and electrolytes than conventional milk) with the benefits of a pasteurization process that preserves proteins and makes them easier for the body to absorb, according to the company.

Fifth Quarter Fresh has a balance of fast-absorbed whey and sustained-release casein proteins that provide a quick burst of amino acids followed by a continuous supply over several more hours, according to Richard Doak, co-founder of Fifth Quarter Fresh.

The company maintains that protecting student athletes and helping them perform at a higher level was the reason they created Fifth Quarter Fresh in the first place.

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“We believe there is a real need to improve nutrition for young athletes. Fifth Quarter Fresh may help them prevent injuries by providing their bodies with the nutrients they need to heal and repair. This study suggests that,” said Doak. “Our milk provides 20 grams of protein and five grams of undamaged BCAAs per 14-ounce serving—naturally. We use no supplements and no preservatives—it is fresh chocolate milk.”

Officials in Washington County, Md., home to all seven high schools participating in the study, are now considering the broad adoption of Fifth Quarter Fresh in sports programs throughout its school system.

“There is nothing more important than protecting our student-athletes,” said Clayton Wilcox, superintendent of Washington County Public Schools. “Now that we understand the findings of this study, we are determined to provide Fifth Quarter Fresh to all of our athletes.”

Earlier this year, UMD released the preliminary results of a study showing that Fifth Quarter Fresh outperformed leading commercial workout recovery drinks for endurance recovery by 13-17 percent.

Fifth Quarter Fresh is produced through the Hagerstown-based Lanco-Pennland Quality Milk Producers, a farmer-owned, farmer-run cooperative with nearly 650 members that spans the U.S. East Coast. Frederick-based Dairy Maid Dairy bottles it.

Fifth Quarter Fresh

The University of Maryland study was made possible by the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, which jointly funds commercial product development projects teaming Maryland companies with University of Maryland faculty.

For photos and videos, visit http://go.umd.edu/concussions.

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program

MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $30.2 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund invests $150,000 in Manta Biofuel

Company could remove algae blooms from the Bay and convert them into crude oil

Manta Biofuel

The Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund has invested $150,000 into Manta Biofuel LLC, a company that produces crude oil from algae at a cost that is competitive with traditional petroleum, University of Maryland officials announce today.

The promise is this: Manta could one day skim algae right off of the Chesapeake Bay and convert it into oil, simultaneously cleaning up deadly algae blooms and providing the precursor for clean, renewable fuels.

Harmful algae blooms can choke out large swaths of the bay, depriving fish, crabs and other marine life of oxygen and blocking sunlight for underwater bay grasses. Algae blooms are caused by excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, entering into waterways, from sources such as agriculture, air deposition, septic systems, sewage treatment plants, and runoff from lawns, gardens and paved surfaces.

“Manta Biofuel has developed novel technologies for harvesting algae that address a critical threat to the Chesapeake Bay: life-killing algae blooms,” said Craig Dye, director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) Ventures Program, which administers the Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund. “The company has also solved key challenges for cost-effectively growing algae and converting it into oil, enabling the company to potentially compete as a viable fuel provider in the burgeoning energy field.”

Manta plans to use the funding to develop the next-generation prototype of its portable, solar-powered, floating algae harvester, which autonomously navigates through waters and collects algae.

Once collected, the algal biomass is converted by Manta into crude oil by subjecting it to high temperature and pressure in a process called hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL).

The oil produced is largely equivalent to petroleum and can be used as a drop-in replacement at the refinery level. Fuels produced from Manta’s oil are renewable and carbon-neutral.

Manta licensed its harvesting technology from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, where company co-founder Ryan Powell invented it while earning his Ph.D. at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET).

Based in Reisterstown, Manta has also received more than $530,000 in total funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Invest Maryland Challenge, TEDCO Technology Validation Program (TVP) and the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technologies REEF program.

The company recently established a large pilot production facility in Thurmont, Md.

The Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund invests in Maryland-based startup companies with innovative technologies that may help improve air and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay area. The program, created in 2008, is made possible by funds from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Fund recipients are jointly selected by Mtech and DNR.

Previous recipients of Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund investments include: Zymetis (now Aemetis), Traffax Inc., Smart Slopes LLC (now Furbish) and NutriGrown LLC.

New Report Gives Guidance on Growing Baltimore Medical Device Community

Baltimore

Attracting mid- to large-sized medical device companies through established innovation hubs is the biggest key to growing Baltimore into a major medical device technology sector, according to a new report released by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech).

“Baltimore already has many of the pieces in place to support innovation hubs and a thriving medical device community,” said Martha Connolly, director of Mtech Baltimore. “This study is important because we believe Baltimore is well-positioned to be a leading center for medical devices. The expertise of the University System of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University in engineering and medicine provide great capabilities for this sector.”

The Mtech-commissioned report, “Encouraging the Development of the Medical Technology Cluster in the Greater Baltimore Region,” was conducted by the [Johns] Hopkins Graduate Student Consulting Club. The study involved extensive interviews with 20 CEOs of medical technology companies, economic development officials and investors in the Greater Baltimore Region.

The study benchmarked Baltimore against successful medical device hubs and identified bottlenecks to growing a vibrant medical device cluster, including a lack of mid- to large-sized medical device companies in Baltimore, perceived lack of experienced, C-level management and follow-on funding after initial seed funding.

medical devices

“Capital and experienced labor are a ‘chicken-and-egg’ situation. You need one to produce the other,” said Connolly. “But we believe these bottlenecks are ‘critical mass’ issues that are remedied when a hub reaches a tipping point in terms of its size.”

The report says that attaining that size, or critical mass of medical device companies, could be achieved through the following steps:

  1. Establish public-private innovation centers to attract mid- to large-sized medical device companies.
  2. Encourage larger companies not in the medical device space to enter the sector through cost-matching or grant-funded partnerships with small companies or startups.
  3. Grow local medical device companies with an increased emphasis on late-stage or emerging company funding to help companies past the seed-funding stage.

“Ideally, innovation centers are vertically integrated organizations and facilities that help startups by connecting them with the resources they need at different stages of development—from incubation, legal advice, clinical services, gap and follow-on funding to international soft landings,” said Sam Hong, the Johns Hopkins graduate student leading the study. “As private-public partnerships, these centers could also give larger companies access to economic development resources and startups in their industry. Those larger companies then support the innovation center members through capital and expertise.”

The report cites innovation hubs as a critical missing piece to the puzzle. Innovation hubs connect startups to incoming companies while lowering the barriers to entering the region. Through innovation hubs, capital becomes more accessible as venture capital and funding from the innovation center flows to startups. Experienced C-level management talent also becomes available for advising startup company leaders.

medical devices

The report’s findings were discussed during Baltimore Innovation Week at an event sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) titled “Building Baltimore’s Medical Device Industry.”

“The Greater Baltimore region is fortunate to have a growing cluster of highly innovative medical technology companies fueled by an entrepreneurial environment,” said GBC President and CEO Donald Fry. “The GBC is proud to support them and is confident that this industry will eventually define the region as a medical device center.”

More in-depth recommendations, along with benchmark metrics and additional findings are available in the report, available online at: http://mtech.umd.edu/Baltimore/docs/JHGCC_Med_Tech_Report.pdf.

The study and report were compiled by Johns Hopkins graduate students Sam Hong, Katharina Schmidt, Joshua Wang, Hao Jia, Donna Cichani, Jing You and Belinda Peng.

Maryland technology companies, university faculty team to develop 16 new products through MIPS

Redox Cube

Through MIPS, Redox Power Systems LLC is working with Eric Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center, to improve the strength and robustness of the company’s solid oxide fuel cells. Among the applications those fuel cells could be used for is the Redox Cube, pictured above, which produces cost-effective power using natural gas or other hydrocarbon-based fuels such as biomass, gasoline, JP-8 or diesel to electrochemically produce electricity with high efficiency and negligible emissions.

Fifteen Maryland technology startups and one medium-sized company are partnering with faculty members from the state’s public universities for projects that bring new products closer to market, University of Maryland officials announce today.

Approved through UMD’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, the research and development projects, worth $3 million, span the state, its universities and technologies, including products that advance clean or efficient energy, biotechnology, software, construction, chemical sensors and aquaculture.

Participating companies contribute $1.6 million for the projects, while MIPS provides $1.4 million. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency also provided support.

All MIPS funding goes towards the faculty research for each project.

Approved through a competitive process, winning projects, segmented by institution, include:

Frostburg State University

  • Tutela Industries LLC, based in Baltimore, works with George Rinard, professor, computer science and information technologies, to expand the clinical and patient-facing mobile app functionality of the company’s HIPAA compliant patient engagement platform, which improves communication across the care continuum. ($140,900)

University of Maryland, Baltimore

  • Centrexion Therapeutics, based in Baltimore, teams with Man-Kyo Chung, associate professor, school of dentistry, to develop efficacy tests for the company’s new drugs aimed at improving the treatment of chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis. ($141,000)
  • JPLC Associates LLC, based in Baltimore, collaborates with Byongyong Yi, professor, department of radiation oncology, to extend the capabilities of the company’s Raven QA product, a unified and comprehensive quality assurance system for radiation therapy machines. ($152,840)

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  • Bahari Energy LLC, based in Rockville, works with Weidong Zhu, professor, department of mechanical engineering, to test the performance of the company’s Wind Tower, a wind power generation product with a unique design that can be retrofitted onto (and inside of) urban, suburban, business, industrial and residential buildings. ($160,000)
  • RedShred LLC, based in Baltimore, teams with Zareen Syed, professor, and Tim Finin, professor, department of computer science and electrical engineering, to expand the company’s semantically enhanced open information extraction software system, which takes complex business documents, such as requests for quotes and proposals, quickly extracts important information, and offers users an efficient way to review opportunities with minimal manual intervention. ($185,000)

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

  • HY-TEK Bio LLC, based in Dayton, collaborates with Feng Chen, associate professor, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, to developing a practical and economical system to grow microalgae with chicken manure nutrient in a large pilot system. ($303,213)
WeatherBug Home

Pictured: Earth Networks’ WeatherBug Home mobile application. WeatherBug Home combines Earth Networks’ big weather data with smart meter data and the power of two-way connected thermostats to automatically deliver energy efficiency given the weather, the #1 driver of home energy use. UMD faculty are working with the company to expand the functionality of WeatherBug Home.

University of Maryland, College Park

  • Crab Machinery LLC, based in Woolford, works with Yang Tao, professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, to develop a modern, imaging-guided mechanical crabmeat picker that incorporates machine intelligence, including machine vision, robotics, and electronic controls. ($192,750)
  • Earth Networks Corporation, based in Germantown, teams with Jungho Kim, professor, department of mechanical engineering, to expand the functionality of WeatherBug Home,the company’s user-friendly and powerful home energy tool, which combines data from utilities with local weather information to save energy and cut cooling and heating costs. ($426,952)
  • Johnny Oysterseed LLC, based in Saint Leonard, collaborates with Chandrasekhar Thamire, Keystone lecturer, department of mechanical engineering, to develop an oyster aquaculture system that offers higher productivity and cost savings for oyster farmers. ($242,674)
  • N5 Sensors Inc., based in Germantown, works with Thomas Murphy, professor and director, Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, to demonstrate a smartphone or tablet-based sensor for detecting toxic gases in ambient air, for use by industrial workers, hazmat crews, fire-fighters, police, security crews or civilians. ($136,964)
  • nanoDERM Sciences Inc., based in Derwood, teams with Srinivasa Raghavan, professor, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, to improve the colloidal stability of antibacterial, drug-loaded HydroDEX™ nanogels for the effective treatment of bacterial infections, including those caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens. ($135,000)
  • PaverGuide Inc., based in Worton, collaborates with Allen Davis, professor, department of civil and environmental engineering, to provide research and development support for a sub-base material to be used with PaverGuide, a base material for permeable paving that also reduces sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. ($136,783)
  • Pavement Corporation, based in Fort Washington, works with Charles Schwartz, professor and chair, department of civil and environmental engineering, to confirm the material parameters and performance of pavement patches constructed using the infrared repair process and to develop accompanying standard procedures, quality control measures, and model specifications. ($134,860)
  • Redox Power Systems LLC, based in College Park, teams with Eric Wachsman, director, University of Maryland Energy Research Center, to improve the strength and robustness of the company’s solid oxide fuel cells. ($139,097)
  • Remedium Technologies Inc., based in College Park, works with Srinivasa Raghavan, professor, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, to develop a hemostatic foam that can stop bleeding during minimally invasive surgeries without applying compression or converting to an open procedure. ($135,000)
  • XChanger Companies Inc., based in Annapolis, collaborates with Reinhard Radermacher, professor, department of mechanical engineering, to evaluate the energy-saving potential and thermal comfort of the company’s air delivery unit, which initial studies have shown yield potential HVAC operating savings of between 18-31 percent. ($248,048)

Four participating companies are from Baltimore and four are from Montgomery County, while three are from the Maryland Eastern Shore, two are from southern Maryland, two are from College Park and one is from Annapolis.

Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

This is the 56th round of MIPS grants. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987.

Commercial products benefiting from MIPS have generated more than $30.3 billion in revenue and directly added more than 6,600 current jobs to the state’s economy. MIPS-sponsored R&D has made key contributions to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform.

For information about the historical economic impact of the MIPS program, an independent study titled “An Analysis of the Impacts of MIPS Program Spending and the Commercialization of MIPS Funded Projects on the State of Maryland,” by Richard Clinch, from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, is available online.

MIPS is a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland.

Super, Natural Cows Make the Best Sports Recovery Drink

Fifth Quarter Fresh

UPDATE: This press release refers to study results that are preliminary and have not been subjected to the peer review scientific process. 

UMD study shows it outperforms top commercial products

The magic formula for the ultimate sports recovery drink starts with cows, runs through the University of Maryland and ends with capitalism.

Two concerned parents figured it out.

Richard Doak and Kurt Williams stood behind a fence at a high school football game in the mountains of western Maryland and wondered why kids were getting injured more often. If it wasn’t their training, they thought, then it had to be their nutrition.

Next they did what any good parents would do—they conducted research, created a solution and started a company so athletes everywhere could benefit from their discovery.

What they found surprised them. The freshest milk legally possible, from the best cows, provided more of what athletes’ bodies need than any artificial commercial drink: protein—20 grams, as much as most whey drinks, along with a special kind of protein that remains available for hours after drinking it; electrolytes—far more than products on the shelf; and calcium and vitamin D for strong bones. They added natural cane sugar and cocoa to make it tasty for kids and to restore glycogen to muscles.

Fifth Quarter Fresh, a new, natural, fat-free, high-protein, high-electrolyte, high-calcium chocolate milk, was born.

Fifth Quarter Fresh

Doak and Williams knew their product was good for athletes. But they needed proof.

That’s where the University of Maryland comes in. Jae Kun Shim, a professor of kinesiology in the School of Public Health, conducted a year-long study to test how well Fifth Quarter Fresh aides the post-exercise recovery of muscular endurance compared to popular sports drinks. It outperformed competing products by 13-17 percent. The $100,000 study was funded in part by the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program.

“I was very surprised at the results,” said Shim. “I knew they had a high-quality milk with less damaged protein [than whey protein drinks] and more electrolytes, but I didn’t expect it would make much difference for strength endurance recovery. There are many studies out there that show the cardiovascular recovery benefits from milk-based products, but this data is unique because we are showing that the muscular endurance recovery from this chocolate milk is significant. Our data suggests that athletes may be ready faster and better for the next game or practice if they drink Fifth Quarter Fresh chocolate milk.”

One secret to making higher quality milk, Doak and Williams discovered, is in the cows—Jerseys and Guernseys—whose milk innately has higher amounts of protein, electrolytes, calcium and carbohydrates than the milk we typically buy in stores. Store milk is produced primarily by Holsteins, which comprise 90 percent of the herds in the U.S. simply because they produce more milk per cow.

Fifth Quarter Fresh

“Jerseys naturally produce the highest quality milk for human consumption,” said Erick Metzger, general manager of National All-Jersey Inc., an industry group. “Compared to average milk, a glass of Jersey milk has greater nutritional value. Nutrient-dense Jersey milk tastes better because there are more non-fat solids, protein and calcium in Jersey milk when compared with other breeds.”

Great taste and better performance as a sports recovery drink—all achieved by using higher quality, fresh milk, Doak and Williams contend.

“When you look at the nutritional profile of Fifth Quarter Fresh over conventional chocolate milk, you get 40 percent more protein, calcium and electrolytes,” said Doak, who works full-time as a dairy veterinarian. “We hand-selected our cow breeds to provide these nutrients through the superior components in their milk.”

The other secret was pasteurization, which is the process of heating milk to kill the bacteria that make it go sour. The higher the pasteurization temperature, the longer it lasts in stores.

But the commonly used ultra-high temperature pasteurization, in excess of 200 degrees Fahrenheit, also damages something called casein protein. In its natural state, casein forms a gel in the stomach and takes longer to break down, providing a longer-term protein to the body, according to Doak and Williams.  Fifth Quarter Fresh is pasteurized at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, five degrees over the FDA-recommended minimum of 160 degrees, preserving the casein protein.

“Most processors cook milk to death,” Williams explained. “Our protein is natural and is better utilized by the body. An athlete will get 95 percent of our protein rather than the 70 percent they get from some of the chemical slurries on the market.”

But athletes’ bodies need calcium to come with that protein, according to Doak.

“Whenever your body metabolizes excessive protein, it leads to an acidification of the blood stream,” he explained. “The body then balances this by pulling calcium from bones. So if you are drinking in lots of protein without that calcium, you will, over time, experience a decrease in bone density.”

Becky Walter is the head track and cross country coach at Boonsboro High School in Maryland. Over the past five years, her teams have won eight state titles between girls and boys in both indoor and outdoor track and cross country.

Three years ago, she began offering Fifth Quarter Fresh to her student athletes after meets and practices.

“Since we started using Fifth Quarter Fresh, we have fewer kids that are injured,” said Walter “I don’t think we’ve had any kids with stress fractures or cramping and a lot less kids complain about aches and pains.”

The University of Maryland study involved non-athletes, who conducted measured leg extension workouts, drank one of the four drinks in the study, waited for four hours and then conducted the same workout. Two weeks later they came back and did the same thing with another product.

“We were interested in their recovery before and after fatiguing exercise,” said Shim. “The recovery of strength was similar across all of the different products; however, the recovery of muscular endurance was as much as 17 percent better in the Fifth Quarter Fresh Group when compared with the other drinks.”

Doak, Williams, and their partners are now trying to get Fifth Quarter Fresh into stores and provide it, in bulk, to athletic programs in schools and universities.

Fifth Quarter Fresh is produced through the Hagerstown-based Lanco-Pennland Dairy Co-operative, a farmer-owned and farmer-run organization with nearly 800 members that spans the U.S. East Coast. Frederick-based Dairy Maid Dairy bottles it.

The University of Maryland study was made possible by the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, which jointly funds commercial product development projects teaming Maryland companies with University of Maryland faculty.

For related photos and video, including a Dropbox link, visit: http://mtech.umd.edu/news/press_releases/releases/5QF/

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program

MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $30.2 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

Redox Named Best Green Incubator Company in Maryland for 2015

Redox Power Systems

Redox Power Systems, an Mtech Technology Advancement Program (TAP) incubator company developing fuel cells and distributed power generation systems for commercial, industrial, residential, military and mobile applications, has won the 2015 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Award for Best Environment/Energy Company.

The award was presented to Bryan Blackburn and Tom Langdo of Redox, Eric Wachsman of the University of Maryland, and Craig Dye of Mtech at the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards ceremony on June 4 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Md.

“Redox is truly honored to be recognized as an Incubator Company of the Year, which is a result of the hard work and efforts of the Redox team,” said Bryan Blackburn, Acting Chief Executive Officer, co-founder, and Chief Technology Officer of Redox. “We are proud to do business in Maryland and look forward to being a driver of significant job creation in the state. We would like to thank Mtech and the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland for helping us as we grow.”

Co-founded by Professor Eric Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC), Redox is commercializing Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technologies with high power density and lower operating temperatures, enabling the company to drastically reduce the cost, size, and weight of reliable on-site electrical generation systems.

Among the technologies available to convert hydrocarbon-based fuels (e.g., natural gas) to electricity, SOFCs uniquely have an energy conversion efficiency of 45-65 percent, which is nearly twice the efficiency of conventional internal combustion engines.  In combined heat and power applications, the energy conversion efficiency can approach 90 percent. The modular nature of Redox’s products allows the tailoring of systems to a broad range of power generation capacities and fuel options.

Redox Power Systems fuel cell

The Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards publicly recognize achievements by current clients and graduates of all Maryland incubators and provides a forum for the nominees to increase their visibility in the business, technology, and investment communities. The Best Environment/Energy Company category recognizes companies that produce products or provide services that minimize damage to the environment.

Winning companies were selected based on their goals and success in achieving their objectives. Judges considered factors such as technology or product development, intellectual property, increase in employee numbers, growth in revenue or earnings, engagement of significant customers and strategic partners, receipt of awards or grants, attraction of outside investors, innovation, self-sufficiency, impact on the region and usage of the incubator’s services.

Redox has a long history with the Clark School’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech). In 2012, the company was a winner in the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition. That same year, Redox entered Mtech’s Venture Accelerator (VA) program, which speeds the advancement of promising early stage technology companies at UMD through intensive business guidance. Redox graduated from VA program after only one quarter. In 2014, the company received an Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program grant to characterize the strength, performance, and reliability of enhancements Redox is making to its SOFCs. In late 2014, Redox entered the TAP incubator, which provides high-tech on-campus workspace and continued expert business guidance.

Bay Bloom Wins Inaugural “Terp Tank” Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Sophomore Capstone Project Competition

Bay Bloom team

Bay Bloom, a proposed company that would develop and sell an all-natural, algae-based fertilizer, won first place and $500 in the first annual Terp Tank Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) Capstone Project Competition, held on Monday, May 11 at the University of Maryland, with more than 200 people attending.

Bay Bloom is a company idea developed by EIP students Jake Webb (Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science), Andrew Dallas (Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science), Ellen Martin (Civil Engineering–Environmental track), and Shriya Gupta (Finance and Information Systems.).

The team proposed developing an organic, algae-based fertilizer with essential components—nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium—as well as a rich array of micronutrients to stimulate plant growth. Bay Bloom’s fertilizer would release its nutrients slowly, giving plants longer access to growth stimulants while also reducing runoff into the watershed.

Bay Bloom

The algae would be grown in raceway ponds adjacent to (and using) water from the Chesapeake Bay, which would be filtered by the algae and returned as clean water throughout the process.

The Bay Bloom team estimates its fertilizer would cost $.12 per pound, which puts it in line with commercially available products.

UMD algae expert Patrick Kangas, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology, provided samples for the team to work with, while Civil & Environmental Engineering lecturer Natasha Andrade mentored the team.

“I definitely want to keep developing Bay Bloom,” said Webb. “This summer we will test the fertilizer in the UMD Public Health Garden and see if it really works. We might also try and produce some packaging, get algae from Dr. Kangas and sell it at farmers’ markets nearby.”

Bay Bloom

SAT Showdown, with an idea for a turn-based, online, multiplayer SAT prep game, took second place in the competition. Third-place winner Bloomies proposed developing a reusable diaper made out of recycled materials.

“The EIP Capstone Project and Terp Tank Competition are the culmination of two years of EIP,” said Ryan Elza, academic program specialist for EIP and organizer of Terp Tank, himself a UMD Honors College alumnus. “Capstone projects address the global necessity to develop and implement solutions to critical social and environmental concerns in ways that are both technologically viable and economically sustainable.”

For their capstone, EIP second-semester sophomores worked in teams to develop a for-profit business plan that achieves a multiple bottom line of both profitability and social benefit.

“Three of our EIP classes were project-based, where we pitched ideas and formed groups around those ideas,” said Webb. “But they were all built around the first class, where we learned the entrepreneurial mindset, a better way of thinking about things. Applied over time, I saw the projects I worked on get better every year.

“Another element they teach in EIP is having a business that is as disruptive and as impactful as possible. This way of thinking definitely influenced our idea for Bay Bloom.”

Terp Tank judges included: Martha Connolly, Director, Mtech Baltimore; Erica Estrada-Liou, Director of Curriculum & Experiential Learning, Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship; Ronnie Gist, Associate Director, Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program; and Adam VanWagner, Community & Student Programs Manager, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

Daniel Rochkind, UMD Honors College alumnus and COO/CFO of Marker LLC, generously sponsored the Terp Tank award.

About the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP)

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) provides University of Maryland Honors College freshmen and sophomores with an interdisciplinary, living and learning education to help build the entrepreneurial mindsets, skill sets, and relationships invaluable to developing innovative, impactful solutions to today’s problems. A joint program of the Honors College and the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), EIP has a proven pedigree of successful creativity and innovation-related education and achievement. Mtech has been a leading force in entrepreneurial education and innovation for more than 25 years. EIP is based directly on Mtech’s groundbreaking Hinman CEOs program, the first undergraduate living-learning entrepreneurship program in the United States.

Pavement Corporation, Prince George’s County to Fix Potholes Year-Round with New, High-Tech, Environmentally Friendly Process

infrared asphalt repair

University of Maryland creates quality assurance specifications for infrared asphalt repair

While spring is the usual time for fixing potholes, it will now be done year-round in Prince George’s County thanks to a two-year pilot program with Fort Washington-based Pavement Corporation. The program introduces a new, high-technology asphalt repair process that is less expensive, more effective, more environmentally friendly and can be done even in winter.

“Potholes are a quality of life issue, especially for people in Prince George’s County right now,” said Derrick Davis, vice chair of the County Council. “We are excited and proud of this program between Prince George’s County and Pavement Corporation, as it employs the latest technologies to save our taxpayers millions of dollars in car repairs through faster, longer-lasting pothole patches performed year-round.”

The new process, called infrared asphalt repair, was validated for quality assurance through a year-long study at the University of Maryland by Charles Schwartz, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Both the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program and Pavement Corporation provided funding for the study.

Infrared repair involves heating existing asphalt with an infrared machine until it reaches a soft, workable state. A rejuvenating compound is added to keep the asphalt pliant, after which a small amount of new or recycled asphalt is leveled on top. Because of its heated state, the patch fuses seamlessly with the adjacent asphalt, making for a smoother, longer-lasting patch.

pavement corporation truck

Infrared technology lowers repair costs by nearly 50 percent, according to Pavement Corporation Founder and President Jay Perry.

“Prince George’s County is now on the cutting edge of technology for fixing its roads thanks to this pilot program,” said Perry. “In addition, as a Prince George’s County-based company, we expect to add five to 10 jobs in the short-term and 20 to 30 more if our projections for expansion come to fruition.”

Pavement Corporation, founded in 1995, performs a broad range of paving, maintenance and repair services for customers such as Walmart, Target, CVS, Lowe’s, Sears, Bob Evans, and BJ’s Wholesale Club in Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia.

Infrared road repair has been utilized by a handful of U.S. states, including Florida, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Arizona, according to Perry.

Since the process is relatively new, few guidelines were in place to ensure the quality of patches. That’s where the University of Maryland stepped in.

Pavement Corporation worked with Schwartz and graduate student Chris Leininger to produce construction specifications and a quality assurance process to provide the company with guidelines to make sure that each patch is conducted optimally.

“The depth of penetration of the heating process is very important,” said Leininger, who is basing his M.S. thesis on infrared road repair. “You don’t want to char the asphalt but, you have to heat it to a specific depth.”

Schwartz has become a proponent of infrared road repair.

“The results of this study should promote the acceptance of infrared asphalt repair as a cost-effective, long-term technique for maintaining roads in the U.S.,” he explained.

The University of Maryland study was made possible by the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, which provides grants for university-based research projects that help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Both MIPS and the participating companies contribute funds, which then go towards the university research. MIPS partners have included Under Armour, Black & Decker, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

“Potholes are a consistently vexing challenge for residents of and visitors to Prince George’s County,” said Darrell B. Mobley, director of the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation. “We are excited by the opportunity this new technology brings to help us more efficiently and economically address them.”

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program

MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $30.2 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

MIPS Approves 15 Technology Product Development Projects Teaming Maryland Companies With System Faculty

Pictured: algae collected from the pond in the background by Manta Biofuel LLC. The concentrated algae is converted into renewable crude oil. Manta Biofuel manufactures renewable, carbon neutral crude oil from algae that is cost competitive with fossil crude oil. Through the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program, Manta Biofuel works with Russell Hill, professor and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, to determine the quality of oil that will be produced from varying types of algae blooms.

Pictured: algae collected from the pond in the background by Manta Biofuel LLC. The concentrated algae is converted into renewable crude oil. Manta Biofuel manufactures renewable, carbon neutral crude oil from algae that is cost competitive with fossil crude oil. Through the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program, Manta Biofuel works with Russell Hill, professor and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, to determine the quality of oil that will be produced from varying types of algae blooms.

Four aquaculture projects highlight round

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, has approved 15 collaborative technology product development projects teaming Maryland companies with university researchers, program officials announce today.

A technology acceleration program, MIPS grants money, combined with company funds, to faculty engaged in each project.

This round of MIPS grants, worth $3.3 million, combines $1.3 million from MIPS and $2 million in cash and in-kind contributions from participating companies. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency provided additional funding.

Four projects focus on aquaculture in Maryland. Two involve automated oyster production, while a third enhances oyster aquaculture by co-harvesting algae as an additional product. The fourth creates a high-value fish feed from Maryland crops.

The additional 11 projects include: genomic treatment for brain trauma, on-site narcotic detection, unmanned surface vessel control system, electricity generator driven by natural gas, cord blood collection device, chronic disease mobile platform, pathogen detection system, advanced travel website and mobile application, assessment tool for violent youth, speaking enhancement software, and a system that produces crude oil from algal blooms.

PathSensors Inc. develops pathogen detection systems (pictured) for bio-security and agriculture/food processing applications. The company’s products deliver extremely rapid detection of more than 25 pathogens at previously unattainable levels of speed and sensitivity. Through the MIPS program, PathSensors collaborates with Dan Schulze, associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop a universal biosensor system that enables the company to rapidly add new pathogens to its detection platform.PathSensors Inc. develops pathogen detection systems (pictured) for bio-security and agriculture/food processing applications. The company’s products deliver extremely rapid detection of more than 25 pathogens at previously unattainable levels of speed and sensitivity. Through the MIPS program, PathSensors collaborates with Dan Schulze, associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop a universal biosensor system that enables the company to rapidly add new pathogens to its detection platform.

PathSensors Inc. develops pathogen detection systems (pictured) for bio-security and agriculture/food processing applications. The company’s products deliver rapid detection of more than 25 pathogens at previously unattainable levels of speed and sensitivity. Through the MIPS program, PathSensors collaborates with Dan Schulze, associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop a universal biosensor system that enables the company to rapidly add new pathogens to its detection platform.

This round of funding connects faculty with 13 startups and two small companies. Six companies are based in the Baltimore area, three are from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, two are in College Park and one each is in southern Maryland (Hollywood), western Maryland (McHenry), Rockville and Columbia.

The approved projects, along with the combined total funding for each, include:

Autonomy Engine LLC, based in Marriottsville, develops software that predicts how listeners will perceive an individual’s speaking style. The company collaborates with Ellyn Sheffield, a research professor in the department of psychology at Towson University, to enhance the software. ($361,199)

CARE-2 LLC, based in Salisbury, develops an assessment tool to evaluate and recommend treatment for youth at risk for behaving violently. The company, through Eastern Shore Psychological Services LLC, works with Marvin Tossey, professor, social work department, Salisbury University, to analyze and improve the predictive validity of the CARE-2 assessment tool. ($250,271)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States, with 2.5 million TBI’s occurring in 2010 alone. Cellphire Inc. plans to deliver microRNA in blood platelets, which move quickly to the site of a brain injury, delivering therapeutic (healing) agents.

Cellphire Inc., based in Rockville, is developing cell stabilization technologies that also have application in the delivery of therapeutics and labeled reagents in the diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries. The company collaborates with Bogdan Stoica, assistant professor, department of anesthesiology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to refine and test the efficacy of the company’s technology for treating brain trauma. ($135,165)

Diagnostic anSERS Inc., based in College Park, develops low-cost sensors that detect trace chemicals using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). The company works with Ian White, associate professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, to create a field-optimized narcotics sensor for use in law enforcement. ($135,000)

Hollywood Oyster Company LLC, based in Hollywood, is one of the largest oyster farms in Maryland. The company works with Patrick Kangas, associate professor, department of environmental science and technology, University of Maryland, to develop methods for scaling up macroalgae (seaweed) aquaculture to be grown in conjunction with oysters, both as a commercial product and to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. ($157,880)

Pictured: Oysters ready to be processed for sale or re-planted in the Chesapeake Bay by the Hollywood Oyster Company.

Pictured: Oysters ready to be processed for sale or re-planted in the Chesapeake Bay by the Hollywood Oyster Company.

Hollywood’s oysters are grown in traps in the Bay (pictured). If macroalgae (seaweed) is grown on a commercial scale near oyster farms, it could serve as a biofilter to remove excess nutrients in the Bay, and can be harvested for marketable food products.

Hollywood’s oysters are grown in traps in the Bay (pictured). If macroalgae (seaweed) is grown on a commercial scale near oyster farms, it could serve as a biofilter to remove excess nutrients in the Bay, and can be harvested for marketable food products.

Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company LLC, based in Fishing Creek, produces high-quality half-shell oysters and the equipment needed to support aquaculture in Maryland. The company works with Yang Tao, professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, to develop a laser 3D machine vision system that sorts Chesapeake Bay-cultured oysters into quality grades. ($511,000)

Hyperion Technologies LLC, based in College Park, provides game-changing engineering services to civilian and defense clients, specializing in robotic control. The company works with S.K. Gupta, professor, department of mechanical engineering, University of Maryland, to develop an autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) control system for applications such as military surveillance, environmental monitoring, off-shore oil platform inspection and search and rescue. ($218,800)

Manta Biofuel LLC, based in Reisterstown, manufactures renewable, carbon neutral crude oil from algae at a cost that is competitive with fossil crude oil. The company collaborates with Russell Hill, professor and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to determine the quality of oil that will be produced from varying types of algae blooms. ($332,274)

Metompkin Seafood Inc., based in Crisfield, distributes a variety of seafood products in the Chesapeake Bay region. The company works with Donald Meritt, principal agent, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to develop a high-volume, spat-on-shell oyster production system based on remote setting technology. ($238,676)

PathSensors Inc., based in Baltimore, is a biotechnology and environmental testing company developing pathogen detection systems for bio-security and agriculture/food processing applications. PathSensors collaborates with Dan Schulze, associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop a universal biosensor system that enables the company to rapidly add new pathogens to its detection platform. ($136,469)

Plant Sensory Systems LLC, based in Baltimore, develops technologies that improve agricultural performance and reduce negative environmental impact. The company works with Allen Place, professor, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to produce a plant-based aquafeed with low-leaching taurine, a compound required for the development and growth of farmed fish and shellfish. ($135,950)

Silicon Travel LLC, based in McHenry, provides property management companies and their homeowners with quality Internet access and tech support. The company collaborates with George Rinard, professor and chair, department of computer science & information technologies, Frostburg State University, to enhance the company’s travel website with an itinerary tool and accompanying mobile application. ($162,970)

Soony Systems Inc., based in Baltimore, is an R&D start-up developing Gas-Tricity, a 1-2 kW combined heat-to-power home generator unit driven by natural gas. The company collaborates with Christopher Cadou, associate professor, department of aerospace engineering, University of Maryland, to develop an experimentally validated model of the Gas-Tricity engine cycle and design a working prototype. ($200,000)

TheraCord LLC, based in Baltimore, develops a novel cord blood collection device that could exponentially increase yield at a lower cost than existing solutions. The company works with Tami Kingsbury, assistant professor, department of physiology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to optimize its perfusion process, de-risk key regulatory concerns and propel the technology towards becoming the new gold standard for cord blood collection. ($140,160)

Vheda Health Corporation, based in Columbia, simplifies disease management operations by automating care plan adherence with a mobile intervention platform that reduces acute events for high-cost, chronic disease populations. The company collaborates with Gordon Gao, associate professor, department of decision, operations & information technologies and Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS), University of Maryland, College Park, to enhance the effectiveness of Vheda Health’s product and establish the value of Vheda Health in the management of chronic conditions such as diabetes. ($255,172)

Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

This is the 55th round of MIPS grants. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987.

MIPS-aided commercial products have generated more than $30.2 billion in revenue, added over 6,600 jobs to the state and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform.

For information about the historical economic impact of the MIPS program, an independent study titled “An Analysis of the Impacts of MIPS Program Spending and the Commercialization of MIPS Funded Projects on the State of Maryland,” by Richard Clinch, from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, is available online.

VisiSonics’ RealSpace 3D Audio Software Licensed by Oculus for Virtual Reality

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (www.flickr.com/photos/sergesegal/10187117474/in/photostream/)

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (www.flickr.com/photos/sergesegal/10187117474/in/photostream/)

Oculus announced the deal at Oculus Connect, the company’s first developer conference, in Los Angeles, Calif.

RealSpace™ 3D Audio enables the virtual placement of sound anywhere in a 3D space with pinpoint accuracy, creating the perception of real source direction, distance, depth, and movement relative to a listener when heard through standard stereo headphones. It re-creates the auditory ambience of an environment, creating a completely immersive audio experience.

“Audio is an essential ingredient for immersive virtual reality,” said Brendan Iribe, CEO at Oculus. “The technology that the VisiSonics team has developed is a great start towards developing a fully-featured VR audio solution, and we’re incredibly excited to be licensing their work to drive VR forward.”

Based on ten years of research at the University of Maryland, RealSpace™ 3D Audio models the transformations sound undergoes as it travels from a source to a listener’s ears in an environment, using a combination of head-related transfer functions, room models and head-tracking, as well as their interplay.

“We are excited to see our RealSpace engine technology as part of the future of Oculus’ virtual reality systems,” said VisiSonics Founder and President Ramani Duraiswami. “We believe we are at a threshold for physics-based personal audio rendering in virtual reality. Oculus’ innovative technology is poised to catalyze the industry, and we are incredibly happy to play a role in this.”

RealSpace™ 3D Audio technology demos are available today at realspace3daudio.com.

VisiSonics is an Mtech Technology Advancement Program incubator company, Maryland Industrial Partnerships grant winner, and a previous finalist for the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition.

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