BME PhD students awarded NSF commercialization grant

May 16, 2022 — The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program has awarded $50,000 to two Biomedical Engineering PhD students and collaborators so they can commercialize an MRI innovation.

BME PhD candidate Efraín Torres is the team's entrepreneurial lead, BME PhD student Parker Jenkins is the team's technical lead, and University of Minnesota MBA student Chuddy Emukah supports business strategy. The trio will be mentored by Berk Tas, CEO of SentiAR, and Torres and Jenkins are both advised by Prof. Michael Garwood.

The team is working to commercialize frequency-modulated Rabi-encoded echoes (FREE), a promising patent-pending approach that promotes B0-gradientless MRI. By removing B0 gradient coils, the approach can cut the cost of an MRI by approximately 30 percent as well as make it silent and smaller. 

Funds will be used to perform customer discovery. The NSF program trains scientists to promote the commercialization of their work through a five-week program, where the team interviews potential customers and receives training on entrepreneurship.

Efraín Torres and Parker Jenkins
Efraín Torres and Parker Jenkins.