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Pansare and Khoury Teams Take Top Two Prizes at Keller Center’s Innovation Forum

At the Ninth Annual Innovation Forum, held February 26, CBE teams took both the First and Second Prizes.  Vikram Pansare GS5, representing a team including his advisor, Professor Robert Prud’homme, as well as fellow CBE Ph.D. students Chuan Zhang GS5 and Chris Sosa GS3, and Professor Rodney Priestley, took First Prize (and $15,000 in flexible research funding) for a technology for mass production of “Janus particles,” tiny spheres with two distinct sides composed of typically incompatible materials such as plastics and metals, with potential applications in pharmaceuticals, electronic displays, environmental remediation and extracting crude oil from underground reservoirs.  George Khoury GS4, representing a team including his advisor, Professor Christodoulos Floudas, and fellow CBE Ph.D. student James Smadbeck GS5, took Second Prize (and $10,000 in flexible research funding) for a computational method for discovering potential new drugs made of short protein sequences called peptides. The method computes novel chemical sequences that are likely to produce highly specific interactions in the body, such as locking onto a particular virus, to design new therapeutics in the fight against diseases such as diabetes, HIV and cancer.  Sponsored by the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, the purpose of the Innovation Forum is to showcase Princeton research that offers the potential to be commercialized, with three-minute “elevator pitches” describing each technology and its potential.