Advanced Computing Technology Projects Awarded $250,000 in Funding by MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing Technologies

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program welcomes inaugural cohort of early-stage research projects

DETROIT, Mich. — In its first year as a program, the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing recently 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 the 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 MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing. “These teams of researchers are incredibly innovative and driven to bring their technologies to the market place. The MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing is in its first year, and these projects have set the bar high. We look forward to growing our program in the years to come.”

Researchers presented 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 researchers will receive mentorship support from the committee members 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. Funding projects include:

  • Dr. Marouane Kessentini (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.
  • Dr. Guowei Wei’s (Michigan State University) MAID2 — Mathematical AI for Drug Discovery — technology significantly reduces the time and amount of capital required to bring new drugs to the market.
  • Dr. Abhilash Pandya (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.

“We are committed to fostering talent and technology commercialization within our state at the research level by creating collaboration opportunities that ultimately strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem and put Michigan at the forefront of the innovative technologies market,” said Denise Graves, university relations director at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). “While these research projects are still in their early stages, they show great promise. The funds and mentorship they receive from the MTRAC program are an important step to take projects from concept to commercialization.”

The MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing Technologies is run by the WSU Technology Commercialization Office. The hub is part of a network of statewide innovation hubs that includes the 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.

The MTRAC program itself is supported by funds from the Michigan Strategic Fund and administered by the MEDC, with additional funding coming from partner institutions. Since inception through September, MTRAC programs have received 658 proposals, funded 306 projects, developed 52 startup companies, licensed 34 technologies to industry partners and secured more than $209 million in follow-on funding.

MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more information on MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation, please visit

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