BME PhD students’ start-up receives highly competitive NSF award

September 27, 2023 — A start-up created by Dr. Efraín Torres — a recent graduate of BME’s PhD program — and PhD student Parker Jenkins has received funding from America’s Seed Fund powered by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Torres and Jenkins serve as CEO and COO, respectively, of Adialante, a start-up that’s developing better, cheaper, and smaller MRI machines so more patients can benefit from the life-saving technology. 

Torres, Jenkins, and team will further develop their product with support from the America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF.

“We're one step closer to disrupting the industry and bringing about affordable and clinically valuable MRI technology,” says Torres, ​​who is the grant’s PI and was recently named Student Entrepreneur of the Year 2023. “We are grateful to the NSF and will work relentlessly to accomplish our goals.”

Formerly known as NSF Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program, the program awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $2 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. 

The award is the latest in a string of successes for Adialante. In the past two years, Torres and Jenkins’ technology has received funding from NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, a grant from CTSI’s Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT), and won the student division of Walleye Tank, a Minnesota pitch competition. In addition, Torres is the recipient of the inaugural “Spirit of Engineering Leadership” award.