On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 6, starting at 1 p.m. in the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship’s Morgenstern Pitch, Illinois Tech will be making an announcement regarding the two Nayar Prize competitions. More specifically, this event will see the announcement of whether the current finalist team for Nayar Prize I be receiving the final $500,000 award as well as the announcement of which of the two Nayar Prize II finalists will move on to the third phase.
For Nayar Prize I, the finalist team of Agent-Derive Early Photon Tomography (ADEPT) Cancer Imager consists of Kenneth Tichauer (biomedical engineering), Jovan Brankov (electrical and computer engineering), and Rajendra Mehta (biology and Illinois Tech Research Institute). This team has been working to develop the eponymous medical imaging technology that “can (1) accurately measure the stage of a patient’s cancer, in order to catch the most aggressive and dangerous cancers before it is too late to treat them, and (2) identify promising new drugs during the initial pre-clinical (animal research) phase of development, in order to get better drugs to patients more quickly,” according to the documentation on the Nayar Prize’s webpage. Whether or not this team has successfully met the benchmarks and other performance metrics set by the Nayar Prize Steering Committee to receive the $500,000 award will be announced at this event.
The Nayar Prize II announcement will see one of two teams receive a $200,000 award and continue its research for another year. These two teams are the Microfluidic Drug Microbiota Interaction Platform team, composed of Abhinav Bhushan (biomedical engineering), Genoveva Murillo (Illinois Tech Research Institute), and Rajendra Mehta (biology and Illinois Tech Research Institute); and the Data-Driven Crime Prevention team, consisting of Miles Wernick (electrical and computer engineering), Lori Andrews (Chicago-Kent), and Yongyi Yang (electrical and computer engineering).
The Microfluidic Drug Microbiota Interaction Platform team looks to build “a discovery platform to assess these interactions [between intestinal microbiota and the metabolism of drugs] using a more physiologically relevant model of the intestine.” The Data-Driven Crime Prevention Program looks to “design, implement, and deploy a flexible, new model for crime prevention that can be translated to a wide array of communities in the United States and beyond, thereby achieving far-reaching societal impact.”
The Nayar Prize is a $1 million-plus prize package open to Illinois Tech faculty, staff, and students for three year projects that “produce meaningful results with a societal impact.” The prize was established by Madhavan Nayar (master of science in industrial engineering, 1968), his wife Teresa Nayar, and the Nayar Family Foundation through a $2.1 million donation for the purpose of encouraging breakthrough research among the Illinois Tech population.
This announcement event is open to all Illinois Tech members and will being at 1 p.m. in Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship’s Morgenstern Pitch, with light refreshments available at a post-event reception.