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Faculty Entrepreneurship

Translating discoveries into marketable solutions

Our faculty members are leaders in translating discovery into marketable solutions—with 4 new startups, 23 issued patents and 12 new license agreements in fiscal 2019.

More about entrepreneurship at Duke Engineering »

Faculty Founders and Startups

Cameron BassCameron R. Bass

Associate Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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MVTrak LLC: Developing an in-ear device to monitor the severity of head impact, providing information that may be used to assess and prevent concussions.


David BradyDavid J. Brady

Michael J. Fitzpatrick Professor of Photonics

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Aqueti: Builds high-resolution cameras for broadcast and consumer markets and provides cloud services for high-resolution media. Brady is CEO. 

Centice: Co-founded by Brady—builds field laboratories for chemical analysis. Centice instruments are used by first responders in drug enforcement and security.

Applied Quantum Technologies: Provides order-of-magnitude improvements in cost, size, performance or power consumption for optical sensing systems. AQT merged with Blue Angel Optics, which Brady founded, in 2008.


Ashutosh ChilkotiAshutosh Chilkoti

Alan L. Kaganov Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals: Founded by Chilkoti, PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals has licensed an intellectual property portfolio related to the use of elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) for protein purification, capture, and drug delivery from Duke. To date, PhaseBio has raised ~ $65 million in venture capital funding. The company develops ELP fusions to improve the stability, bioavailability, activity and ease of administration of proteins and peptides, with the goal of achieving greater potency, fewer side effects and better patient compliance. PhaseBio has launched and completed multiple clinical trials of ELPs fused to peptide drugs for treatment of diabetes and heart disease. On October 18, 2018, PhaseBio announced the pricing for their initial public offering of 9,200,000 shares at five dollars per share, for total gross proceeds of approximately $46 million. 

Sentilus: Focuses on the use of a “non-fouling” polymer brush technology developed in the Chilkoti Group for detection of protein analytes that radically departs from conventional technology. This polymer coating eliminates the largest source of assay noise—non-specific binding—and thereby maximizes signal-to-noise (S/N) in heterogeneous immunoassays. Sentilus, co-founded by Chilkoti, was acquired after only two years by industry giant Immucor.

BioStealth: Born out of Sentilus technology. When Sentilus was acquired by Immucor, they returned all fields of use of the technology outside of human in vitro diagnostics. BioStealth, co-founded by Chilkoti, will develop and commercialize the non-fouling coating technology in other current areas of interest, including research diagnostics and tools, veterinary diagnostics, and biomaterials.

GatewayBio: Focused on the design of the next generation of polymer conjugates of protein and peptide drugs that improve their efficacy.

Isolere Bio: Developing IsoTag™ by fusing an antibody-binding domain to a stimulus-responsive biopolymer, to provide a fast and inexpensive alternative to the current “gold” standard, protein A chromatography.


Lawrence CarinLawrence Carin

James L. Meriam Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Signal Innovations Group (SIG): Founded by Carin, created technology to interpret data and enhance the effectiveness of national defense, public safety, and commercial surveillance systems. In 2014, SIG was acquired by BAE Systems.

Infinia ML: An artificial intelligence company founded by Carin, Infinia ML has built machine learning algorithms that help businesses and organizations make sense of big data.


Leslie CollinsLeslie Collins

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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New Folder Consulting: The company, co-founded by Collins, developed and distributed statistical signal processing tools for decision-making and pattern recognition.

Ai-RGUS: Ai-RGUS develops software that uses advanced computer vision algorithms to automatically inspect security camera video footage, ensuring that all cameras in the system are continuously producing clean, actionable, footage. The core technology was developed at Duke through a collaboration between the Pratt School of Engineering (Dr. Leslie Collins, Dr. Jordan Malof) and Duke's Office of Information Technology, led by Chief Information Officer Tracy Futhey.


Richard B. FairRichard B. Fair

Lord-Chandran Professor of Engineering

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ALL, Advanced Liquid Logic: Spun off from Fair's lab at Duke. He assisted in the founding of the company, which developed and manufactured digital microfluidics-based research and diagnostic products. Acquired by Illumina, Inc., which develops life science tools and integrated systems for analyzing genes, in 2013.


Ken GallKen Gall

Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

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Vertera Spine: Based on a novel process to create porous PEEK, a high-strength biopolymer that allows for better bone attachment and repair following spinal surgery. Acquired by NuVasive in 2017.

Deep Blue Medical Advances: Developing a novel hernia mesh with integrated suture-like extensions that eliminates the key point of failure for conventional mesh fixation and provides superior anchor strength to address the unacceptably high rate of hernia occurrence and recurrence.

Restor3D: Creator of 3D printed surgical implants with enhanced anatomical fit and integrative properties. 


Charles GersbachCharles Gersbach

Rooney Family Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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Locus Biosciences: Relies on the CRISPR-Cas system to target bacteria and destroy their DNA, enabling the design and development of powerful antimicrobials that avoid the pitfalls of antibiotic resistance and leaves non-target bacteria unharmed. 

Element Genomics: Developing a high-throughput platform for understanding gene regulatory elements in order to identify new drug targets for common diseases. Acquired by UCB in 2018 for $30 million.


Warren M. GrillWarren M. Grill

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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Deep Brain Innovations (DBI): DBI’s Temporally Optimized Patterned Stimulation (TOPS) technology is being developed to deliver highly efficient and effective brain stimulation to treat neurological disorders. Grill is the founder and chief scientific officer.

NDI Medical (Neuro Device Innovations): Grill is a co-founder of the hybrid venture capital and commercialization firm focusing exclusively on innovative neuro device technologies that are intended to restore lost neurological function, prevent damage and reduce the painful effects of disease and injury.


Joseph A. IzattJoseph A. Izatt

Michael J. Fitzpatrick Professor of Engineering

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Bioptigen Inc.: Provides leading-edge optical coherence tomography imaging technology for research and clinical diagnostic markets. Leica Microsystems acquired Bioptigen in June 2015.


Jungsang KimJungsang Kim

Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Applied Quantum Technologies, Inc: The company, co-founded by Kim, seeks applications of optical micro-electromechanical systems in various applications, as well as novel imaging and spectroscopy instrumentation in the visible and X-ray domains.

ionQ: Kim is a co-founder and chief strategy officer for the company, which is to create scalable quantum computers using ion traps.


Jeffrey L. Krolik

Jeffrey L. Krolik

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Strad Corp.: Develops signal processing technology for surveillance and sensing applications.


Michael D. LynchMichael D. Lynch

Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

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DMC Ltd.: Co-founded by Lynch, offers companies a simplified design space and tools for genetically designing microbes to efficiently produce high-value products from carbohydrate feedstocks.


David NeedhamDavid Needham

Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

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Lindy Biosciences: Founded by former graduate student Deborah Bitterfield, Lindy Biosciences was born from technology developed in the laboratory of Professor David Needham that dries and preserves proteins in a glassified form that retains the molecules' properties as workhorses of biology. The technology produces spherical, dense, stable particles of a therapeutic protein ideal for long-term storage, or for non-standard formulations such as high-concentration suspensions. These suspensions allow high-dose biologics that would normally have to be given by a lengthy IV infusion to instead be given in a single subcutaneous injection. Dr. Needham is a scientific advisor for the company.


Mark L. PalmeriMark L. Palmeri

Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

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MicroElastic Ultrasound: Founded in 2016 with support from the Duke-Coulter Translational Research Partnership and currently developing a handheld device that measures the elasticity of skin for use in evaluating elective dermatological treatments and for tracking skin manifestations of difficult to manage diseases such graft-versus-host disease. 


Nimmi RamanujamNimmi Ramanujam

Robert W. Carr, Jr., Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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Zenalux Biomedical: Has the goal of making optical spectroscopy easy for medical practitioners who are interested in real-time, non-destructive biological tissue diagnostics. Ramanujam developed the Zenalux technology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and moved to Duke to apply it in clinical settings.


Xiling ShenXiling Shen

Hawkins Family Associate Professor

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Xilis Inc.: Building a patient-derived screening platform to increase the precision of personalized cancer therapies to overcome drug resistance after standard chemotherapy fails, with the added goal of developing a drug response database for cancer drug discovery.


Daniel J. SorinDaniel J. Sorin

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Realtime Robotics: Developing computer processors design specifically for robotic motion planning. In the proof-of-concept microchip, the company was able to create motion plans for a robotic arm up to 10,000 times faster than existing approaches, while consuming a small fraction of the power. The technology is theoretically capable of motion planning in real-time, and could fundamentally change the way robots are programmed in manufacturing, and other industrial applications. In October 2017, the company secured $2 million in seed funding.


David R. SmithDavid R. Smith

James B. Duke Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Carillon Technologies: Carillon Technologies partners with both government and government contractors to accelerate the identification, adaption and deployment in advanced commercial technologies in key areas such as tactical communications, advanced autonomous systems, directed energy and space technology. Dr. smith is on the Technical Advisory Board.

Echodyne Corp.: By creating the world’s lightest, smallest, and lowest cost high-performance electronically scanning radar, Echodyne—co-founded by Smith—wants to reinvent the way the world uses radar, from security to drone navigation and autonomous cars.

Evolv TechnologyCo-founded by Dr. Smith and develops security devices for public spaces and events. The stylish, easily relocatable scanning devices may look a bit like traditional X-ray scanners, but use millimeter waves to detect threats without the need for clothing removal and can be tailored to focus on specific threat levels.

Kymeta: Founded by Smith's former graduate student Nathan Kundtz, the company leverages Metamaterials Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T) to create satellite user terminal products. Smith is an advisory board member.

Lumotive: Lumotive is developing solid-state lidar for the automotive industry based on a revolutionary metamaterial-based beam-steering technology to provide perception systems for the emerging self-driving car industry. Dr. Smith is on the Technical Advisory Board.

Metacept: Dr. Smith is the CEO of Metacept, a company that provides design and engineering services for complete electromagnetic systems, with extensive experience in transitioning metamaterials to real-world applications.

Pivotal Commware: Smith is a member of the Technology Advisory Board. The company is focused on using metamaterials for Holographic Beam Forming for terrestrial communication applications, well-suited to a wide range of mobile 4G and 5G applications, including those for ships, planes, trains, and connected cars.


Adam P. WaxAdam P. Wax

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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Lumedica, Inc.Founded in 2014 to commercialize low-cost biomedical imaging technologies developed in Wax’s laboratory.

Oncoscope: Founded to commercialize early cancer detection technologies in the field of optical imaging pioneered by Wax. Closed in 2015 after its technology was licensed by the publicly-traded company Spectrascience.

M2 Photonics Innovations: Founded in 2010 to commercialize technologies developed in Wax’s laboratory. Participated in a Phase I STTR project aimed at developing holographic imaging technology of red blood cells for point-of-care diagnosis of malaria using patented Duke technology (U.S. Patent No. 8,508,746).


Stefan ZauscherStefan Zauscher

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

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QATCH TechnologiesBased on research from the laboratory of Stefan Zauscher (scientific advisor) and founded by former postdoctoral associate Zehra Parlak, QATCH Technologies develops innovative devices for biomolecular sensing and flow measurements. For example, the company’s proprietary microfluidic shear wave resonator technology can determine, at a very early stage of development, if a biopharmaceutical drug formulation is injectable or if there will be viscosity related manufacturing problems.