About-Manning/IALS Innovation Grants



Manning/IALS Innovation Grants



The Manning/IALS Seed Grants are part of the Manning/IALS Innovation Program. These translational grants are designed to advance applied R&D efforts from UMass-based faculty research groups through the development of spin-out/startup companies and the out-licensing of UMass intellectual property.

Alumnus Paul Manning and his wife, Diane, committed $1 million through their family foundation to establish the Manning Innovation Program. The gift provides three years of support in advancing a robust and sustainable commercialization pipeline of applied and translational research projects from UMass Amherst.

2022 Award Winners

  • Hasentech – Barbara Osborne and Lisa Minter, veterinary and animal sciences, College of Natural Sciences, A Novel Cell-Based Therapy for Graft-versus-Host Disease
  • ISight – Murugappan Muthukumar, polymer science and engineering, College of Natural Sciences, Curing and Preventing Cataracts and Presbyopia Without Surgery
  • Latde – Sloan Siegrist, microbiology, College of Natural Sciences, Rapid, Low-cost Diagnostic for Bloodborne Bacterial Infections
  • Marieb-IV – Karen Giuliano and Juan Jimenez, Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, mechanical and industrial engineering, College of Engineering, A Novel IV Pole to Improve the Safety of IV Medication Administration During Acute Care Hospitalization
  • NaturaFloc – Chul Park, civil and environmental engineering, College of Engineering, Low Cost, Enhanced Auto-Clarification in Wastewater Treatment 
  • Optical Waters – Mariana Lopes, civil and environmental engineering, College of Engineering, Germicidal Optical Fibers to Prevent Disease-causing Biofilms in Endoscopes

2021 Award Winners

  • 3Daughters: Carlos Gradil, Veterinary & Animal Sciences. A Women’s Healthcare startup developing a new ergonomic, pain-free, magnetic intrauterine device (IUD).
  • E2-PATH: Karen Dunphy/Joe Jerry, Veterinary & Animal Sciences. A diagnostic personalized medicine screening platform for selecting optimized breast cancer treatments.
  • OPG Wastewater Treatment: Chul Park, Civil & Environmental Engineering. Developing technology that enables aeration-free and energy efficient wastewater treatment.
  • Optical Waters: Mariana Lopes, Civil & Environmental Engineering.  Germicidal Optical Fibers to Prevent Disease Causing Biofilms in Medical Devices
  • RNA4Therapeutics: Craig Martin, Chemistry. A novel manufacturing technology for the synthesis of high purity, low-cost, and large scale RNA manufacturing for therapeutic use.
  • Volvox Sciences: Ashish Kulkarni, Chemical Engineering.  Developing a novel supramolecular nano-therapeutic (CSF-SNT) that can efficiently remove cancer tumor cells.

2020 Award Winners

  • Barbara Osborne, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, “Developing Novel Therapeutics to Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease by a Bacterial Exopolysaccharides”.
  • David Julian McClements, Food Sciences, “Nutriply – a start-up developing probiotics in gummy form, making them easier to use”.  
  • Sloan Siegrist, Microbiology, for “Developing a diagnostic for detecting blood-borne pathogenic bacteria (sepsis)”
  • Neil Forbes, Chemical Engineering, to “Demonstrate efficacy of a novel bacterial therapeutic - EBT-302 - for treatment of liver cancer” for start-up Ernest Pharmaceuticals.  
  • Amir Arbabi, Electrical and Computer Engineering, to develop “Metasurface-enabled miniature LIDAR systems” for robotics, automatic guided vehicles, and integration into smartphones.
  • James Allan, Computer Sciences, to develop software tools aimed at “Explaining contradictory claims in the biomedical/healthcare domain”.

2019 Award Winners

  • Derek Lovley, microbiology, “Fabricating Protein Nanowires for Unique Sensing Capabilities”
  • Jeanne Hardy, chemistry, “Development of Potent Zika Virus Protease Inhibitors”
  • S. “Thai” Thayumanavan, chemistry, and Steve Faraci, “Pre-Clinical efficacy evaluation of liver-targeted, thyromimetic-encapsulated IntelliGels for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)”
  • Neil St. John Forbes, chemical engineering, “Bacterial delivery of therapeutic peptides to treat advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)"
  • Shelly Peyton, chemical engineering, “GelTech” to enable tissue-specific drug discovery and help eliminate potential false-positive hits from screening"
  • Madalina Fiterau Brostean, computer science, “4Thought: Unlocking Insights into Your Mental Health”


Significant funding for this opportunity comes from a gift by the Manning Family Foundation, the US NSF Accelerating Research Translation program, and Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) Seed Fund program.