WIF helps commercialization of research


By Communications Staff
Friday, June 4, 2010
Three Western researchers have been recognized with Western Innovation Fund (WIF) awards to help bringing their work out of the lab and closer to commercialization.
The awards, launched in 2004 and distributed annually by the Office of the Vice-President (Research & International Relations), provide incentive for researchers to explore commercial opportunities outside the lab.
With funding totaling $110,000 for the successful January 2010 competition applicants, the following projects are on their road to commercialization:  
• Jesse Zhu, Particle Technology Research Centre / Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
Co-applicant/Collaborator: George Nakhla, Chemical & Biochemical/Civil & Environmental Engineering
Award: $50,000
Title: Prototype Compact and Mobile Bioreactor for Wastewater Treatment  
This project is based on a synergistic collaboration and complementation of expertise in wastewater treatment, biochemical engineering and fluidized bed technology, and will lead to a very practical technique to treat wastewater in isolated or remote areas.
A novel CFBBR (Circulating Fluidized Bed Bioreactor) technology has been developed, offering numerous advantages in wastewater treatment. This new technology is 8-10 times more efficient than the conventional activated sludge wastewater treatment process and 3-5 times more efficient than those advanced technologies under development or just implemented for commercial use in recent years.
This new process also saves half of the capital cost and land use. This WIF award will allow set up and testing of a new version of this CFBBR, which should lead to rapid commercialization of this technology.  
Heinz-Bernhard Kraatz, Chemistry, Science
Award: $48,000
Title: Development of a test for HIV reverse transcriptase

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight off infection and diseases.
The current diagnosis of HIV infection involves the use of antibody tests that rely on the presence of viral antibodies present in blood, essentially making it impossible to detect very recent HIV infections by conventional antibody testing.
The proposed WIF project is building on our detection platform for the detection of proteins, and focuses on the development and optimization of a working prototype device for the detection of HIV enzymes. 
Susan Scollie, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health Sciences
Co-applicant/Collaborator: William Hodgetts, Speech Pathology and Audiology, Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
Award: $12,000
Title: Application of the DSL v.5.0a DLL to bone-anchored hearing aid prescription
This project proposes to adapt the DSL v. 5.0a DLL, a Western-developed technology, for use in bone-anchored hearing aid (Baha) prescription. The Desired Sensation Level (DSL) Method is a hearing aid prescription that calculates the required amplification of hearing aids.
This ensures amplified speech is audible, comfortable and safe for infants, children, and adults. The DSL v5.0 has been adopted by the majority of large hearing aid companies as part of their software for programming digital hearing aid technology.
In this project, Scollie will adapt the DSL v5.0 prescription for use in bone-anchored hearing aids. These surgically implanted devices transmit sound by direct conduction through bone to the inner ear, bypassing the external auditory canal and middle ear.

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