Columbia, Md. (Aug.3, 2010) –The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), the Maryland Research and Applied Sciences Consortium (MRASC), and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) at Ft. Detrick, announced today the funding of six awards through the Applied Research Development Project (ARDP). The projects are taking place throughout Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions (HBCU/MSIs); BowieState University (BSU), CoppinState University (CSU), Morgan State University (MSU), Sojourner-Douglass College (S-DC), and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Through ARDP, more than$700,000 has been awarded to inter-disciplinary, inter-institutional research teams working in technology areas covered by the 2009 Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) of the Army. ARDP was established in 2007 through funding made possible by the Maryland Congressional Delegation lead by Senator Mikulski.
“TEDCO’s Applied Research Development Project underscores two of our nation’s proudest traditions: innovation and education,” Senator Mikulski said. “A stronger America begins at home, and I am so proud that Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities are leaders in developing the technology that will make America safer, stronger and smarter.”
“The Applied Research Development Project is a prime example of how Maryland’s commitment to biotechnology contributes to the safety and well being of our nation,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This program also allows Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities the opportunity to demonstrate the talent and intellect of their most promising research teams. I commend this collaborative effort and look forward to continuing my commitment to similar programs through the Bio 2020 initiative. ”
“TEDCO is pleased to support these research projects as they work to support the needs of the U.S. Army and,ultimately, the protection of the modern war fighter,” said John Wasilisin, acting president and executive director of TEDCO. “We have enjoyed working with MRASC and USAMRMC to cultivate the relationship between Maryland’s HBCU’s and Ft. Detrick and hope to continue the programs momentum with the support of federal and state leaders.”
A total of 15 applications were submitted for ARDP representing all five HBCU/MSIs in the state, three Maryland businesses and two U.S. Army establishments. The six projects awarded funding are:
- Voice Field Medical Card – Dr. Sharad Sharma and students from the Department of Computer Science at BSU are collaborating with the minority owned firm DSByte to prototype a software application seeking to leverage and expand an existing server-side speech recognition platform. This device can deliver intelligent algorithms that can be integrated and enhance speech recognition for the purpose of generating a Field Medical Card within a battlefield environment.
- Context-Aware Mobile Mixed Reality Assistive Device (CAMMRAD) Headset – Dr. Corey Dickens, assistant professor of electrical & computer engineering at MSU, in association with the minority owned firm Juxtopia,is leading an interdisciplinary team that includes BSU, S-DC and CSU. The project includes the development of an innovative augmented reality headset to provide U.S. Army combat medics with voice-on demand assistance for delivering quality medical care on the battlefield.
- GPS_Hybrid Circuit – Dr. Dickens at MSU & the minority firm Applied Wireless Local Area Network (AWLAN) are working with a unit from Fort Monmouth, that is to be moved to Maryland under the Base Realignment and Closure(BRAC), to develop a mobile device that can be located indoors utilizing AWLAN technology before switching to Global Positioning Systems tracking for outdoor terrain. Although there are numerous cellular and GPS tracking devices on the market today, the receiving devices typically do not work indoors due to sensitivity levels.
- Sleep Optimization – Soldiers in combat theaters must contend with chronic sleep deprivation due to stress. Because of this, Dr. Michael Koban, assistant professor of the Department of Biology, School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences at MSU and other MSU researchers,are investigating the chronic sleep cycles of subjects under stress by developing an animal stress model to mimic these conditions. By manipulating brain histamine of the test animals, the research team proposes that chronic sleep deprivation can be ameliorated.
- Identification and Characterization of a Glutathione Transferase in Leishmania tarentolae – UMESresearchers lead by Dr. JenniferHearne, assistant professor of biochemistryand Dr. JosephPitula, assistant professor of biologysciences,are investigating Leishmaniasis, the second-most deadly parasitic disease. Their aim is to identify and characterize agluthathione transferase in Leishmania tarentolae known to be involved in cellular detoxification processes in other eukaryotes. Redox Maintenance in Leishmania tarentolae–A second UMES research team, lead by Drs. Pitulaand Hearne,is investigating the recent emergence of Leishmania drug resistance.They are using an approach for rational drug design whereby metabolic systems of the parasite can be directly targeted.
These projects will assist the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in supporting the rapidly deployable and responsive U.S. Army of the 21stCentury,” said Jerome K. Maults by, Associate Director, Office of Small Business Programs, USAMRMC at Ft. Detrick. “We look forward to the results of ARDP and thank TEDCO and MRASC for their contributions in helping identify innovativemedical solutions to enhance, protect and treat our Warfighters.”
“ARDP has provided Maryland’s prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions with another opportunity to become engaged in technology transfer and commercialization,” said Mildred Huff Ofosu, Ph. D., assistant vice president for sponsored programs at Morgan State University on behalf of MRASC. “We look forward to making our mark in the technology transfer and commercialization arena with our talented engineering, bioscience and life sciences researchers.