LSU AgCenter Researchers Awarded Technology Transfer Grants

By  Olivia McClure LSU AgCenter  

(12/20/16) BATON ROUGE, La. – Two LSU AgCenter researchers were recently awarded more than $42,000 in grant funding that will help them promote their inventions to industry partners. 

The grants are from the LSU LIFT2 Fund, which began in 2014 to stimulate technology transfer between LSU and the marketplace. LIFT grants help researchers cover the costs of any additional work that is needed to demonstrate an invention is ready for the market. 

Frank Bastian, a professor in the AgCenter School of Animal Sciences, is working to develop a live test for chronic wasting disease, which can cause neurodegeneration, emaciation and, ultimately, death in animals such as deer and elk. Testing normally requires harvesting brain matter from a dead animal, and the infected material is contagious to other animals.  

Bastian plans to partner with MoonElisa, a biotechnology startup in Baton Rouge, to begin developing a test that may be able to determine an animal’s condition while it is still alive. This could help detect and prevent further spread of the disease. 

Changyoon Jeong, a water quality specialist at the AgCenter Red River Research Station, hopes to create an affordable system that can obtain a more complete picture of carbon dioxide emissions from agricultural environments.  

Machines called gas chromatographs can measure a variety of gasses that escape from soil, including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, but they are large and expensive. The machines also are stationary, making it difficult to thoroughly measure a large area’s impact on the environment.  

The LIFT grant will help Jeong begin building and connecting a network of inexpensive chromatographs that could be used to more accurately analyze entire fields of crops and expansive sections of forests.