Five IU Bloomington professors win grants from new translational research program

  • June 1, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Five Indiana University Bloomington professors will receive $104,230 in total awards through the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology’s newly established Translational Research Pilot Grant Program.

Launched in February, the program funds the completion of proof-of-concept projects that support research with the potential to translate from the laboratory to commercial use. Such development occurs by collaborating with industry partners, establishing new companies or strengthening patent applications based on discoveries at IU Bloomington.

Projects in any discipline directly related to moving IU Bloomington research or scholarly activities closer to commercialization were eligible for consideration.

“We are pleased to be able to provide these pilot grants and assist IU Bloomington faculty in advancing their translational research projects,” said Keith R. Davis, director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology. “Going forward this program will be a major component of our efforts to boost innovation and entrepreneurship at IU Bloomington.”

Entries were required to be based on discoveries submitted to the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. through an invention disclosure form. A review committee assessed submissions for their scientific merit, potential to significantly enhance the commercial development of the new discovery and potential to create new intellectual property.

Individual project budgets up to $25,000 were considered. The recipients include:

  • Hannah J. Block, assistant professor, Department of Kinesiology, IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. Block is developing a tool for the accurate measurement of proprioception -- a person’s sense of how their body is positioned -- in a clinical setting.
  • Matthew L. Bochman, assistant professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, IU College of Arts and Sciences. Bochman’s project involves the bio-prospecting, selection and analysis of wild yeasts for use in ethanol fermentation.
  • Amit Hagar, associate professor, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, IU College of Arts and Sciences. Hagar’s project involves proof-of-concept for a patient-specific method for estimating breast cancer progression in patients.
  • Andrea Hohmann, professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, IU College of Arts and Sciences. Hohmann is working to identify novel drugs that can block pain signals in the brain for patients with chronic pain.
  • Cheng Kao, professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, IU College of Arts and Sciences. Kao is developing an antimicrobial peptide to decrease bacterial infection in medical devices.

The Johnson Center plans to accept applications for the next round of grants in February 2016, with a submission deadline of April 1 and recipients funded by June 1.

About the Johnson Center

The Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology works with faculty throughout the IU Bloomington campus to identify current and new research programs that hold commercial potential and to protect intellectual property. Based at Simon Hall, it also assists with grant applications, identifying industry partners, negotiating industry contracts, project management support and developing strategies to increase the use of core IU facilities by industry partners.


The Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. is a not-for-profit agency that helps IU faculty and researchers realize the commercial potential of their discoveries. Since 1997, IURTC’s university clients have accounted for more than 2,800 inventions, nearly 1,900 patent applications and 77 start-up companies.

About Innovate Indiana:

Indiana University is designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. This recognizes IU’s commitment across all its campuses to being a leading institution in fostering regional economic development. The university’s Innovate Indiana initiative engages strategic partners to leverage and advance the university’s intellectual resources and expertise, enhance Indiana’s economic growth and contribute to the overall quality of life for Hoosiers.

Media Contacts

Bill W. Hornaday

Innovate Indiana/IU Office of Engagement