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The University City Science Center in Philadelphia has selected a dementia testing tool proposed by a Harrisburg University of Science and Technology Professor as one of 12 promising technologies to compete for development funding.

As a finalist selected for the Science Center’s QED Program, which is designed to bridge the gap between academic research and product commercialization, Dr. Roozbeh Sadeghian could become one of three researchers to receive up to $200,000 to help develop and market their product in January.

Sadeghian, an Assistant Professor of Data Analytics, intends to develop a simple-to-use, non-invasive, inexpensive diagnostic test for dementia that can easily be applied in a clinician’s office, or even at home. He aims to develop a robust test using speech samples that are easy to collect and highly accurate. If the viability of this approach is established, the testing model could be further refined.

The clinical diagnosis of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), is extremely challenging, especially in its early stages. However, research shows that if AD is detected in its early stages, there could be drug therapies applied that currently are in clinical trials.

These therapies could slow the progression of the disease.

Other program finalists include:

  • Ahad Behboodi (University of Delaware) Device for improving foot and ankle movement
  • Jacob Brenner (University of Pennsylvania) Device to ameliorate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Lucas Lu (University of Delaware) Device for the capture of circulating tumor cells
  • Jonathan Maris (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) Gene therapy for brain cancer
  • Patricia McLaughlin (Penn State College of Medicine) Novel treatment for wound healing
  • Peter Nguyen (New Jersey Institute of Technology) Therapeutic for neovascular disease
  • Oscar Perez (Temple University) Tool for cell lines for drug discovery
  • Qinyin Qiu (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey) Tool for post-stroke rehabilitation
  • Servio Ramirez (Temple University) Diagnostic for traumatic brain injury
  • Roozbeh Sadeghian (Harrisburg University of Science & Technology) Diagnostic tool for dementia
  • Frederick Silver (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey) Novel imaging of skin lesions
  • Eric Wickstrom (Thomas Jefferson University) Therapeutic for breast cancer

Finalists were vetted by a selection team comprised of 22 industry experts and investors charged with identifying technologies with clear product potential in life science and healthcare markets. The finalists have been matched with QED Business Advisors, seasoned veterans of healthcare and life science industries, who work with the researchers to develop a comprehensive proof-of-concept plan.

In January 2019, three projects will receive up to $200,000 each to validate their proof-of-concept. Funding for each project is contributed equally by the Science Center and the researcher’s home institution. Each research institution retains ownership of all intellectual property.

Established in 2009, the QED program has partnered with 21 academic and research institutions to identify the most promising university research and build business plans around them to avoid leaving potentially life-changing research on the shelf.

Since the program’s inception, QED has screened over 600 proposals with 128 projects accepted into the program. QED has awarded over $6 million to 34 projects that have gone on to raise over $22 million in follow-on funding. Among these projects, 10 technologies have been licensed and eight companies have been launched, demonstrating the value of the research taking place in academic labs that are too often left without the resources to commercialize.

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