Wayne State University’s MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing awards $250,000

The MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing at Wayne State University awarded a combined $250,000 in funding to three high-tech projects.
The MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing at Wayne State University awarded a combined $250,000 in funding to three high-tech projects.

Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) program welcomes inaugural cohort of transformational innovation project teams

DETROIT – In its first year as a program, the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing at Wayne State University awarded a combined $250,000 in funding to three high-tech, early-stage research projects led by researchers at Wayne State University, Michigan State University and University of Michigan-Dearborn. These projects aim to address future or poorly met market needs in frontier computing technologies such as deep learning, augmented reality and robotic process automation.

“Michigan continues to lead the way in innovation and technology, and we are thrilled to support the cutting-edge research projects in the advanced computing technologies,” said Edward Kim, program director of the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing. “The teams of researchers are incredibly innovative and driven to bring their technologies to the market place. These MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing projects have set the bar high. We look forward to growing our program in the years to come.”

The MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing call for applications attracted highly competitive and innovative technology proposals from researchers around the state. Ten proposals were submitted by Wayne State researchers, which resulted in new invention disclosures that demonstrated robust research activities and tech commercialization opportunities at Wayne State University.

Eight finalists were selected to present their proposals to an oversight committee composed of experienced technologists, entrepreneurs, industry partners and venture capitalists with a track record of commercializing and investing in frontier technologies. The teams will receive mentorship support from the committee members and mentors-in-residence from Tech Transfer Talent Network as their projects progress toward commercialization.

The three projects funded by the hub focus on transformational innovations that have the potential to bring disruptive solutions to the market in their respective fields. Funded projects include:

  • Abhilash Pandya, Ph.D., (Wayne State University) is developing an integrated robotic and mixed-reality platform to provide surgeons the ability to see and predict potential bleed out during the intraoperative procedures.
  • Guowei Wei, Ph.D., (Michigan State University) whose MAID2 — Mathematical AI for Drug Discovery — technology significantly reduces the time and amount of capital required to bring new drugs to the market.
  • Marouane Kessentini, Ph.D., (University of Michigan-Dearborn) is commercializing software refactoring technology that automates the quality control of software development and proactively improves and optimizes the coding and debugging of applications using deep learning and continuous integration innovation.

“The MTRAC programs supported by the MEDC have proven to significantly catalyze the transition of early stage academic technologies to the marketplace,” said Joan Dunbar, Ph.D., associate vice president of technology commercialization at Wayne State University and the recipient of the MTRAC award to WSU. “The value of the program is not only the funding received by the investigators for the technology development, but also the insight and guidance provided the members of the oversight committee on the positioning and path to market for the technologies. With the growing emphasis of advanced computing, big data analytics and artificial intelligence in driving industry and economic growth, the MTRAC Advanced Computing Hub is an excellent vehicle for facilitating technology transfer between the Michigan academic research institutions and the regional entrepreneurial and industry community.”


About Wayne State University: Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit research.wayne.edu.

About Wayne State University’s Technology Commercialization OfficeWayne State’s Technology Commercialization Office was selected to manage and house the new statewide MTRAC Advanced Computing Technologies (MTRAC) Innovation Hub.  Through extensive ties to regional industry, entrepreneurial ecosystem and initiatives currently in place at WSU including Big Data Analytics applications in Mobility, Cyber Security, Edge Computing and Healthcare Data Analytics, Wayne State’s Technology Commercialization office is well-positioned to advance start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures in frontier computing technologies in the State of Michigan and beyond.

About the MTRAC ProgramMTRAC is a statewide network of innovation hubs that includes the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing at Wayne State University,  MTRAC Innovation Hub for Life Sciences at the University of Michigan, the MTRAC Innovation Hub for AgBio at Michigan State University, the MTRAC Advanced Applied Materials Innovation Hub at Michigan Technological University and the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation at the University of Michigan. Each hub is strategically located at a university with significant strengths in the sector, further increasing the quality and quantity of resources available.



Contact info

Julie O'Connor

Director, Research Communications
Phone: 313-577-8845
Email: julie.oconnor@wayne.edu